Cashel Mart’s Robert de Vere Hunt summed up the options for those who still have inventory on weed now that the weather is closed: “The ring, the shed, or the factory.”
Hose remnants that had planned to sell through the mart system over the next few weeks were forced to move earlier, and mart additions rose across the country last week as wet field conditions dictated farming decisions.
The general consensus among market managers is that the numbers will now gradually ease.
Among those already seeing a drop in entries was Lisa Keenan of Kingscourt, where the drop was at the front and heavy end.
Mr De Vere Hunt also noted that there were fewer cattle in the run but that the number of 450-550kg camps increased at Cashel last week.
Overall, prices were remarkably resilient last week given these higher numbers.
The only area that took a lot of hits at our ring table was the bullock forward, with an average of over 500kg, lagging by €50-60/hr: the average to better continental player was earning €2.50-2.90 /kg, with still 3 €/kg very achievable for first-class quality.
The average to better Hereford and Angus steer over 500 kg was generally sold between €2.20 and €2.40/kg, while the corresponding Friesian fetched between €1.90 and €2.15/kg.
Compared to this time last year these averages are 35ct/kg better for Continentals and 20-23ct/kg better for Hereford, Angus and Friesians.
Johnny Dolan of Edenderry, David Quinn of Carnew and Mr de Vere Hunt all drew a distinction between ‘warm supplies’ – cattle that were being fed so don’t show the effects of the weather as much – and those that had to fend for themselves outside. Was the feeding worth it?
“When you see 500-550kg steers selling at €1,200-1,500/hour and 550kg heifers selling at €1,350-1,600/hour – absolutely,” said Mr. Dolan.
An increasing proportion of the stocks presented are looking worse due to the weather and these are discounted, particularly at the lighter end, with Friesians and milk cruisers Herefords and Angus being the hardest hit. However, the steers from 300 to 500 kg still achieved 1.31 to 1.51 €/kg.
Another animal appearing in larger numbers at markets is the cullet cow straight from the milking parlour. George Candler in Kilkenny said it was clear many had been exposed to the wet weather for long periods of time, so their price had suffered.
David Quinn at Carnew said many Jersey culls were only earning 70-80c/kg, with some 450-500kg Friesians down there as well.
I’ve had reports from truck drivers of collecting culled cows from dairy farms that were “sacks full of bones that could barely walk.”
I do not like that. Most dairy farmers, like all farmers, respect their stock, but some seem so obsessed with milk that they forget that when the time comes, with a little extra feeding, not just a cull cow will be better off in itself , but also in it shall also die better.
In the Know – all about the markets
The numbers here fell back to 450 last week after a strong series of big selling. Manager Lisa Keenan said the decline was at the front and severe end, with store numbers held up.
Forward and meat animals sell for €2.50-2.70/kg, with the top call, an 845kg Charolais X steer fetching €2,240.
400-600kg stores generally fetched €2.60-2.80/kg, with strong demand pushing peaks to €3.00/kg.
Angus stores sold for €2.10-2.20/kg, while those with meat fetched €2.30-2.35/kg.
The numbers here were higher than in previous weeks, with a brisk trade in discarded cows, camp steers and weaned heifers.
Sample prices among the steers in the shop included two 452.5kg Belgian Blues at €2.59/kg, a 485kg saloon at €2.52/kg and a 495kg saloon at 2.55 €/kg.
In the heifers, a 460 kg sedan fetched €2.61/kg, a 510 kg sedan €2.49/kg and a 660 kg Saler X €1,550 and €2.35/kg respectively.
On the weaning side, the best heifer achieved 2.30-2.86 €/kg. Trading bulls was a bit easier as peak prices traded between €2.80 and €3.00/kg but mid-range stocks traded around the €2.50/kg mark.
There was general agreement that the bad weather and feed costs are hurting trade.
While good 350-450kg bulls were earning around €3.00/kg, resulting in an overall average of €2.78/kg, these better types were declining in numbers.
Bulls over 450 kg cost an average of €2.61/kg. The 200-350 kg section cost an average of €2.89/kg.
Heifers from 200 to 350 kg cost an average of €2.76/kg and those from 350 to 450 kg cost an average of €2.70/kg. The top call among the heifers was a 355 kg Charolais with €1,150 or €3.24/kg.
Johnny Dolan noted that while there were fewer numbers, it became easier to identify animals being fed.
“They are inherently warm and don’t show the weather as much as those who don’t have it,” he said.
In the lighter class, 400 kg steers sold between €1,050 and €1,200/hour, the second row achieved €900-1,050/hour.
A good influx of weaners resulted in a very good trade with 260-270 kg heifers selling for €790-800/h.
A very big sale but David Quinn said trade was firm except for the 300-350kg Friesian steer at €1.00-1.30/kg and the plain 280-300kg Hereford at €1.40- €1.60/kg.
500 kg continental steers are generally sold for €2.50-2.70/kg, with the exceptional steers earning €3.00/kg.
500 kg of Angus with meat cost €2.25-2.40/kg, while the not so warm Angus fetched €2.10-2.20/kg.
Heavy beef was in short supply, resulting in meaty 700kg steers selling between 42.60 and 2.70/kg.
200 cows were offered for culling, with the better presented Friesians selling for €1.30-1.50/kg, while 500-550 stall jerseys or Friesians fetched 80ct/kg to €1/kg.
Again, the numbers were stronger over the weekend, with Robert de Vere Hunt noting a significant increase in steers, particularly from 450 to 550 kg.
He described the trade as “remarkably good considering the weather and the fallen water sea”.
In this 450-550 kg class, Friesians were sold for €1.80-1.90/kg, continental varieties for €2.30-2.50/kg, while Angus shops sold €1.90-2.20/ kg achieved.
There was a decent show of weaners with the better 280-300kg continental bull fetching €2.90-3.30/kg while 250-280kg Friesian bulls sold for €1.60-2.00/kg.
A very large sale with nearly 1300 on offer resulted in strong demand across all classes.
Beef bulls were selling between €1,100 and €1,390/hr in excess of €1,080/kg with continental stores taking up to €1,080/hr with their weight.
Strong, quality-assured, heavier Hereford and Angus steers made up €/kg up to €900/h, with heavy Friesian steers between €550 and €810/h over the weight and lighter Friesians around €200-550/h be sold above the weight.
Heifers of beef were selling €970-1160/h over €/kg, with continental stores selling €370-900/h over €/kg, while quality assured Hereford and Angus stores were selling €280-680/h over €/kg.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/beef/cattle-mart-trade/mart-prices-hold-up-despite-surge-in-numbers-as-weather-turns-42126221.html Market prices are holding up despite rising numbers as the weather changes