Drought is beginning to take hold in some parts of the country, particularly in the South, East and Midlands, where grass shortages have forced some to shed their stands.
This has resulted in an above average number of markets for this time of year. Kilkenny’s George Candler said that with 1,120 on offer in his market “the lack of weed is having a negative impact on the trade in common and some light shop animals”.
Robert de Vere Hunt from Cashel also reported that grass is very scarce, particularly on dairy farms, and reports round bales fetch over €45 in his part of the country.
He sees the current cattle numbers as an indication that the traditional autumn surge has started.
“The lack of weed is already crowding out the numbers in this area,” he said. “Even if it rained for a week, the year is too far away to make a big impact. I’m telling you we’ll be looking at very small sales in mid-October.”
Sixmilebridge’s Joe Clune had a very good turnout in heavy and forward types at his show and heavy cattle sale on Saturday, but the number of ‘fully finished beef’ was limited. He attributed this to reduced grass supplies and farmers feeding less than other years due to the expense.
What did that do to the market prices last week? On the bullock side, these additional figures allowed buyers to bid their time and push prices down 8-12 cents/kg from 400-599kg.
Easier types of 400-599 kg were behind by €20-60/h, but the biggest hit was with the better animal at these weights: 15 cents/kg in the 400-499 kg range (or €60-75/h). €2.71/kg in total and return 10c/kg in the 500-599 kg section to €2.85/kg.
In the lighter class, the better steer fell by 13c/kg to an average of €2.54/kg, while his cousin with the worse conformation was even slightly higher at €1.52/kg.
The fact that the overall average in this section has only slipped 4c/kg to €2.04/kg shows that the worse types continue to dominate numerically.
At the other end, the steer weighing over 600 kg also increased slightly to a total of €2.53/kg, while the better animal rose by 4 cents/kg to €2.90/kg.
The market on the heifer side was more predictable, with the inferior conformation animal suffering from the bigger price drops. From 350 to 599 kg the poorer types were 6 to 12 cents/kg lower, while the better heifer at the same weights stood at €2.77/kg at the 400 to 499 kg, while at the 350 to 350 to 350 kg increased by 3 ct/kg. 399 kg range and 7c/kg to €2.92/kg in the 500-599 kg class.
Is Robert de Vere Hunt right – will the market numbers be tight through mid-October? If rain does come, will there be enough grass to reduce that number as the days get shorter? Or will the sellers keep selling in a still strong market for the right species?
In the Know – all about the markets
A steady trade in continental bullocks, selling between €470 and €1,180/h over €1.18/kg. Top calls included two 445kg Charolais for €1,360/hour and a 680kg Charolais for €1,870, while at the lighter end four 367kg sedans averaged €990/hour.
Hereford and Angus steers were selling for €365-755/hr over €/kg, with five Angus steers weighing 435 kg costing an average of €970/hr, followed by a single 555 kg steer fetching €1,310 .
Three 430 kg Herefords were sold for €940/hour.
Butchered cows ranged from €50 under €/kg to €1,235 over weight. Weaned bulls were sold for €240-900/h over €/kg.
Robert de Vere Hunt reported a large sale with 430 animals on offer, the vast majority of which fell into the business category.
Prices held up well, with Angus cattle fetching €2.20/kg on average and €2.30/kg at the top.
In the Continentals, both steers and heifers generally fetched €2.30-2.70/kg, with top steers selling for €2.80/kg.
On the Friesian side, 400 kg steers generally earned €300-320/h with the €/kg, but a maximum of €500/h over weight was recorded for a 440 kg black and white steer running for €940 was sold.
David Faulken reported 200 cattle on offer, with the smaller animal costing €20-30/hour while demand for the better type drove prices up by €20-30/hour.
Sales were dominated by a large entry of heifers, with the better one selling from €2.85 to €3.05/kg while the more medium range fetching €2.50 to €2.60/kg.
On the beef side, Angus heifers over 650 kg sold for €2.77-2.84/kg and steers for €2.60-2.70/kg, with the top fetching €3.00/kg.
Although grass growth in the west was less affected by the drought than further east, Brendan Egan also reported an increase in the number with 700 offerings.
400-500 kg continental steers and heifers generally fetched €2.60-2.90/kg, with peak steers rising to €3.50/kg.
Samples on the ox side included 570kg Angus at €1,660, 510kg Charolais at €1,500 and 375kg Limousins at €1,440/hd.
In the heavier class, a 700kg Angus fetched €2,050, a 640kg sedan €1,870 and a 760kg sedan €2,040.
Six Mile Bridge
With 600 offers, there was an excellent turnout here, encouraged by the beef show and the sales element.
With northern buyers being very active, continental animals mostly fetched €2.85-2.95/kg, with the tops fetching €3.30/kg, while Hereford and Angus sell for €2.50-2.65/kg became.
On the shop side, the general run of steers and heifers ranged from €2.70 to €3.00/kg, with the top scoring €3.30/kg.
There was considerable interest from shippers in mid-priced weaners, mostly at €2.70-2.80/kg, with the better offer selling at a maximum of €3.30/kg.
Again, online buying from outside kept trade strong, particularly in the heavy top-of-the-line models.
Heavier steers included 730-740 kg Herefords for €1,670-1,980/hour, those from 655-710 kg for €1,530-1,680/hour.
Among the shops, the best sedans from 470 to 475 kg were sold for 1,370 to 1,420 €/hd.
On the heifer side, top calls included a 650kg Hereford for €1,540, a 560kg Limousin for €1,510 and a 580kg Hereford for €1,320.
Sorted cows are sold for €1,100-1,420/hd.
Another great entry, with trading overall remaining firm. Striker and beef varieties again took center stage when it came to price, with steers and bulls selling for €2.40-3.40/kg, while heifers fetched €2.50-3.40/kg.
Equally strong demand for quality stores meant that continental products fetched €2.70-3.30/kg. Among the traditional breeds, Angus types are sold for €2.20-2.80/kg, with Friesian bulls €1.80-2.20/kg.
Heavy culling cows peaked at €2,370/h while parlor types started at €600/h.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/beef/cattle-mart-trade/plainer-types-hit-hardest-as-drought-drives-numbers-up-and-prices-down-41945323.html Simple guys are hit hardest as the drought pushes numbers up and prices down