Trade has turned a corner in majority of divisions
THE mart trade has turned a corner as the vast majority of weight divisions from bullocks through to weanling heifers show positive movement and some of it is fairly significant.
Above 400kgs on the bullock table, the biggest movers were the top quarter animals. This confirmed the observations of mart managers from Carrick on Suir to Manorhamilton that the better bullock was the most significant price driver last week.
In the 500-599kg section, the better bullock rose 11c/kg or €55-66/hd as overall averages in the division rose by 10c/k.
In the 600kg+ section, the better animal was up 4c/kg or €24/hd while the overall average was up 3c/kg.
Down in the 400-499kg division, the better bullock put on 6c/kg or from €24-30/hd which happens to be exactly the same figure by which this section’s overall average increased.
The bottom quarter animals, while not achieving the same sort of improvement as better conformation stock, also moved forward last week. They were up by 7c/kg or from €35-42/hd in the 500-599kg section, while in the 600kg+ section it was 3c/ kg or €18/hd.
In the 300-499kgs, prices were up by 1c/kg.
That 1c/kg increase in the bottom quarter of the 300399kg section was the only positive news on the table for those lighter stores as the better animal here fell by 4c/kg or from €12-16/hd leading the overall average price of the 300-399kg section to decline by 2c/kg.
The reason behind the price drop in this section is probably as much to do with extra numbers as potential buyers had a bigger selection of shorter keep stock to chose from as anything else.
There is an issue coming into play this autumn that has been off the radar for the last few years and may yet hurt the whole system — the expense of a long winter.
Ivan Moffitt of Manorhamilton mart explains: “Some cattle are in off of the land since August because of the weather. I know men who have decided to buy in the spring and not winter any cattle because they are scarce on fodder. Spring grazing here starts in April, that’s over five months away”.
Facing the real prospect of another five months of keeping stock indoors, Mr Moffitt said that the sums don’t add up for some in the cattle game in his part of the world. “Cattle may be dear in the spring but these men reckon it’ ll still be a cheaper option than having to buy fodder for the winter”.
Not everywhere has been as badly hit by the weather as the west and north, but there is no getting away from the fact that storms Brian and Ophelia finally finished the grazing season for a lot of cattle men last week no matter where you were.
Winter has arrived early — it’s time to count those round bales again.