Trade for lighter stock con­tin­ues to im­prove

Irish Independent - Farming - - BEEF RINGSIDE -

THE main fea­ture of last week’s mart trade was the in­crease in num­bers of stock com­ing on stream.

The cur­rent dry spell is ef­fec­tively help­ing to shorten the win­ter and it is also help­ing keep farm­ers fo­cused more pos­i­tively on the fu­ture.

The last thing the trade needs is for the weather to break badly and those with stock to sell to be­gin to panic.

The gen­eral feel­ing among mart man­agers is that the trade last week re­mained steady for the bet­ter bul­lock or heifer, but that the lighter, longer-keep 300-400kg an­i­mal con­tin­ued to im­prove.

“I reckon that av­er­age prices for bul­locks are up €40-50/hd across the board” said Sean Ryan of Sixmile­bridge Mart.

Michael Harty of Ro­screa was more spe­cific: “Ev­ery­thing was up, but the big­gest lift was for the longer-keep lighter An­gus, Friesian and Here­ford type. They were up €100 on two weeks ago.”.

He picked a batch of eight 387kg An­gus crosses as be­ing typ­i­cal. “Two weeks ago they would have made €730-740/hd, yes­ter­day they got €855/hd.”

This story wasn’t repli­cated ev­ery­where, but even in those ar­eas in the south and east where num­bers of those lighter dairy types can still cause prob­lems, I had re­ports that more buy­ers were will­ing to take them on.

All of this pos­i­tiv­ity af­fected the Ringside av­er­ages for last week with im­prove­ments on the bul­lock ta­ble rang­ing from 1-20c/kg.

How­ever, the best of those in­creases were, as Sean Ryan and Michael Harty in­di­cated, in the lighter 300-400kg sec­tion.

The rest of the ta­ble from 400-600kg saw prices move in a band from -3c/kg to +3ckg, in other words the trade was largely steady at these weights. In the 600kg+ sec­tion things got a lit­tle more in­ter­est­ing with fac­tory buy­ers and feed­lot oper­a­tives help­ing to add 4c/kg to over­all av­er­age prices.

On the heifer side, last week’s ta­ble can be di­vided into two with over­all av­er­ages un­der 500kg ris­ing by be­tween 4-5c/ kg, while the lesser qual­ity heifer jumped by be­tween 7-10c/kg.

Above 500kg, over­all av­er­age prices came back by be­tween 4-7c/kg with the heavy 600kg+ heifer the worst af­fected.

The only rea­son I can think of as to why the 600kg+ bul­lock rose and the 600kg+ heifer fell is that fac­tory de­mand is stronger for bul­locks than heifers at present.

The IFA protested out­side the Beef Fo­rum last week about Min­is­ter Creed’s re­fusal to sanc­tion their de­mands for a €200/ hd suck­ler cow pre­mium.

There are some peo­ple in the trade who be­lieve it would made more sense to take any money the Gov­ern­ment might have avail­able and use it to en­cour­age a more ex­ten­sive ship­ping trade for the in­creas­ing num­bers of dairy calves com­ing through the sys­tem.

It’s not so much that by do­ing so you’d de­prive the fac­to­ries the op­tion of cheaper num­bers — it’s more a case that at­tempt­ing to fat­ten dairy cast-offs is a chronic waste of time, money and ef­fort.

There are some an­i­mals you just can’t put meat on with a trowel.

All I know for def­i­nite is that this week last year fac­tory quotes for bul­locks ran from €3.70-3.75/kg with heifers on €3.80-3.85/kg.

Ringside av­er­ages for bul­locks across all weight di­vi­sions were a bare €20-30/hd bet­ter than they were last week.

How­ever, prices for heifers this week last year were sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter in some di­vi­sions. The 350-399kg heifer was up to €60/hd bet­ter while those above 500kgs were €36-54/ hd bet­ter.

The 400-499kg heifer was bet­ter this time last year by be­tween €24-30/hd.

Last week’s surge in num­bers was mopped up very suc­cess­fully by those with cat­tle killed.

The ques­tion is will we see the price gap from last year, out­lined above, close as the year goes on?

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