Stag­na­tion once again as heavy stock prove hard to shift

Irish Independent - Farming - - BEEF RINGSIDE -

IT was a case of stag­na­tion once again on beef prices at the mart last week.

The Ringside av­er­ages on the bul­lock ta­ble show that pos­i­tive move­ment stopped once you went above 600kgs. Be­low this, any im­prove­ments were small.

The great­est av­er­age in­crease in price was just 3c/kg and was recorded among the lighter 300-399kg di­vi­sion as buy­ers con­tinue to reap­praise the cost of keep­ing these lighter an­i­mals given that the win­ter is al­ready six to eight weeks later ar­riv­ing in some ar­eas than it was in 2017.

Eric Driver of Tul­low Mart in Car­low com­mented on the trade for those lighter cat­tle say­ing that they “are get­ting bet­ter” partly, he be­lieves, be­cause “men are now less stressed be­cause they got the (70pc) Sin­gle Farm Pay­ment” — plus, he says, “the good weather has helped”.

There were also a few other fac­tors that mart managers reckon are ef­fect­ing the trade. The first is to do with num­bers.

“Many farm­ers have now al­most filled their quota for buy­ing cat­tle this year so if num­bers re­main big, prices may start com­ing un­der pres­sure,” says Ge­orge Can­dler of Kilkenny Mart.

The sec­ond also takes a trained eye and ex­pe­ri­ence to spot. “Lads are ac­cept­ing the trade,” says John O’Han­lon of Bal­lyma­hon Mart in Long­ford. He ex­plained that once the bid­ding stops those sell­ing are in­clined to ac­cept that the mark their cat­tle have achieved is where the mar­ket is at and leave the sale go through.

All of this helps ex­plain why move­ment on the bul­lock ta­ble, be­low the 600kg mark, was con­fined to the min­i­mum 1c/kg in­crease in over­all av­er­age prices in both the 400-499kg and 500-599kg sec­tions, with the 300-399kg sec­tion as al­ready men­tioned ris­ing by just 3c/kg or €9-12/ hd.

Above the 600kg mark, the con­tin­u­ing un­cer­tainty over when fin­ish­ers can hope to

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