Market numbers continue to fall, causing prices for 300-600kg steers to continue to slide higher, while heifers have reversed the declines recorded three weeks ago.
Underpinning this rise is the rise in factory prices, but there are other factors: Many farmers have had a good year and have the most cash on hand in a long time, so they are buying stocks to reduce their tax burden.
However, if you take a closer look at last week’s returns at ringside, there is one anomaly: the continental steer’s performance.
While the overall average price of Continentals rose 32 cents/kg to €2.56/kg in the 400-599 kg range and 26 cents/kg more sharply to €2.64 in the 500-599 kg range, the 300-399 kg slipped -Market down slightly to €2.53/kg. kg, while those over 600 kg fell by 4 cents/kg to €2.55/kg.
Was this due to a loss of quality? The poorer quality continental animal over 600 kg remained unchanged at €2.26/kg, while the better animal of this weight fell by 17 cents/kg to €2.96/kg.
Yields for Angus and Hereford steers did not suffer, with the overall average increasing by 7-13 cents/kg. The driver of these increases was the lower quality animal: 300-399 kg increased by 18 cents/kg to €1.89/kg, while your better quality at this weight only increased by 6 cents/kg to €2.50/kg .
It’s essentially the same story as you increase the weights: lower quality improved by more: at 400-499 kg the top Angus went up 11 cents/kg to €2.55/kg, the lowers went up 14 cents /kg to €2.08.
At 500-599 kg, the tops increased by 7 cents/kg to €2.56/kg and the smaller by 17 cents/kg to €2.19/kg. In the over 600kg range, the better Hereford or Angus improved by 9 cents/kg to €2.63/kg, while the animals in the bottom quarter gained 13 cents/kg to €2.15/kg.
On the Frisian side, the improvements were more evenly distributed, with the better 300-399 kg black and white registering an increase of 20 cents/kg to an average of €2.01/kg, while the smaller ones were up 14 cents at €1.38/kg /kg were stronger.
In the class from 400 to 499 kg, the better Friesians increased by 10 cents/kg to €2.07/kg, the poorer types by 8 cents/kg to €1.63/kg. In the 500 to 599 kg range, the better variety rose by 10 cents/kg to an average of €2.23/kg, but the lower variety rose by 16 cents/kg to €1.83/kg.
In the over 600 kg range too, demand from factories put pressure on prices.
Maurice Brosnan from Gortatlea told me that a batch of 680kg Friesians that would have been making €1,300-1,350/h three weeks ago would have sold for €1,600/h. Nelius McAuliffe in Dingle noted that online shoppers were buying all of his Angus over 480kg.
In Kilkenny George Candler’s figure fell to 860, with a quarter of that number slaughtering cows, but farmer demand for shops saw peaks under 500kg accounting for up to €3.20/kg.
In the Know – all about the markets
On Thursday there was a smaller sale of 860 animals, a quarter of which were cull cows. Excellent trading saw near-total clearances in some sectors.
Bull cattle over 600 kg cost €2.10-2.85/kg, 500-600 kg €1.90-3.16/kg and 400-500 kg €170-3.23/kg. Lighter oxen achieved 1.60-2.85 €/kg.
On the heifer side, over 600 kg of beef is sold for €2.10-2.80/kg, with forward and light lagers €1.80-2.81/kg being achieved.
Continental slaughter cows sell for €1.50-2.60/kg, better Friesians €1.30-2.20/kg and poorer types €0.60-1.20/kg.
A turnout of 1,100, including 480 cows culled. Maurice Brosnan said demand had increased simple culling by €100-200/h in three weeks, with better cows by 20-30c/kg.
It was a similar story for steers, with better 400-700kg Angus, including overaged ones, going up to €2.30-2.60/kg, while continental stores were getting €2.60-3.00/kg.
The better factory cattle were sold for €2.80-3.00/kg; A batch of 680 kg of Friesians that “would have earned €1,300-1,350 three weeks ago” was sold for €1,600/hd.
With 500 offered cattle, it was similar here. Prices rose sharply as an element of panic seemed to grip trade, particularly among farmers looking for sources.
Heavy bullocks are sold for €2.20-3.06/kg, forwarding stock for €2.20-3.05/kg and lighter stock for €2.25-3.15/kg.
On the heifer side, beef is sold between €2.35 and €2.90/kg, in retail between €2.20 and €3.20/kg.
Weaned bulls are sold for €2.20-2.35/kg, heifers €2.25-3.15/kg and dry cows €1.40-2.85/kg.
Nelius McAuliffe also reported serious trading for all types of cattle on Saturday.
On the heifer side, Angus achieved €2.30-2.40/kg, Herefords €2.25-2.40/kg.
Among the ox farmers, 430kg was sold to Herefords for €1,000/h while over 550kg Angus ranged from €2.35 to €2.40/kg.
Friesian numbers were low, with a batch of 660 kg fetching €1,320/h without quality assurance, showing the magnitude of factory demand.
It was similar for the culling of cows, 650kg Friesians lacking meat, being pushed at €1,100/hr by factory buyers looking for cattle for slaughter.
With many steers and heifers gone, Thomas Potterton was not surprised that his sales fell last week.
Oxen under 450 kg cost an average of €2.15/kg, the top €2.90/kg. 500-550kg steers cost an average of €2.48/kg, with the top price being €1,490 or €2.98/kg for a 500kg Charolais.
At the heavy end, steers of 600-650 kg cost an average of €2.55/kg, while steers of 650 kg and over cost an average of €2.61/kg.
There was a good heifer run of 300-400 kg averaging €2.20/kg up to €2.68/kg at the top. 400-500 kg cost an average of €2.32/kg, with the category over 500 kg costing an average of €2.52/kg up to €2.89/kg.
Six Mile Bridge
Joe Clune reported a turnout of 350 last Saturday, which would be usual for the day of the year, but “demand was unreal. We could have sold three times as many.”
500kg Continental stores quickly sold at an average of €3.00/kg, while 500kg Angus steers averaged €2.60/kg and Angus heifers averaged €2.40-2.50/kg.
Looking ahead, Joe can see that factories will have to pay more.
However, he believes feed prices need to be carefully monitored, saying: “If the fatteners in the factories get an extra 40-50 cents/kg, will the feed traders then decide, ‘We have some of that as a thank you’? You have to watch that.”
A little more than 500 oxen were on offer here, with average prices 75/h higher.
The greatest demand was for Forward and Beef types, with top continental steers over 650kg selling from €2.80/kg to just under €3.00/kg, while an 810kg sedan hit the hammer at 2,370 € saw.
On the Angus side, two at 595kg cost an average of €2.82/kg, while a single at 655kg fetched €2.85/kg.
Among the lighter classes, four 530kg sedans fetched an average of €3.11/kg, while a 530kg Friesian was sold to
€2.30/kg followed by two 590kg Herefords at €2.56/kg.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/beef/cattle-mart-trade/falling-numbers-at-marts-prompt-price-rises-especially-for-lesser-stock-42162603.html Declining numbers in the markets lead to price increases – especially for smaller stocks