Mart numbers stay high as more cattle come out early

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Joe Clune of Sixmilebrige mart notes that more cattle are coming out earlier than expected and keeping supplies ahead of what would be normal for this time of year.

his, Joe said, is more noticeable among those with three-quarter-finished stock.

“Men know mart prices are good and they are turning cattle to cash quicker,” he said.

He said it was the numbers of those with “ones and twos” that had gone up as their owners cashed in with a view to paying at least some of their silage or feed costs early.

Michael Harty of Central Auctions reckons bigger summer sales may be the future as he saw 750 cattle presented at Roscrea last week, with the number of well-finished heavy cull cows “unheard of in June”.

Prices were good, with factory agents happy to shell out big money.

Some sales have got smaller, but there is a significant trend towards unseasonally larger numbers in many places.

And several mart managers said these extra numbers are doing little to dampen demand or prices, at least on the bullock side.

That said, with the Goodman and Dawn groups easing back their buying, heavy bullocks were occasionally easier by €20-30/hd.

Below 600kg, overall bullock prices were pretty stable, with the better animal from 400-599kg actually stronger by 5c/kg at €3.04-3.14c/kg.

That was not the case for heifers, though, with drops of 6-11c/kg across all weight divisions. This fall-off may be partly due to the reduced numbers and quality of heifers presented.

It is noticeable that the biggest drop came in the bottom quarter, which fell by 7-18c/kg for those under 600kg, while the better heifer below that mark only slipped by 2-10c/kg.

That said, we are still a very long way ahead of where we were last year — or any other year for that matter.

This time last year the overall average price of 300-399kg bullocks was €2.12/kg ,while 600kg+bullocks averaged €2.28/kg. Last week the equivalent overall figures were €2.45 and €2.85/kg, a difference of 33 and 57c/kg respectively.

It’s the same story on the heifer side with last week’s overall average price from the lightest to heaviest coming in at €2.63/€2.91/kg respectively, an improvement in 12 months of 33-57c/kg.

I have commented before that prior to Covid the strongest price-per-kilo at marts ran counter to how they operate now: the dearest animal these days is the beef animal and the cheapest/kg is the lightest, whereas pre-pandemic the price/kg fell as you went up the weights.

Makes you wonder how the finisher ever survived… of course, a lot of them didn’t.

In the Know – around the marts

Sixmilebridge

At 300, it was yet another big sale for the day of the year, with “a lot of forward types” on offer at €2.80-3.10/kg.

In the lighter divisions, better 400-500kg Angus and Hereford bullocks made €2.90-3.30/kg, with plainer types selling for €2.60-2.90/kg.

Good Hereford and Angus heifers held well at €2.70-3.00/kg.

Although Joe Clune’s returns included a 910kg Charolais cull cow at €2,700 or €2.97/kg, he reckoned that with more grass culls on offer, their prices were back 5-8c/kg.

Kilrush

Numbers were not overly big at just over 100, but and strong local demand saw strong prices maintained throughout.

Among the standout offerings were two 320kg Charolais bullocks that averaged €3.21, with a 400kg Charolais making €3.15/kg, while a 350kg Limousin sold for €3.28/kg.

In the more forward section, two 485kg Belgian Blues sold for €2.80/kg, while two 557kg Friesians made €2.61/kg.

Among the heifers top call saw a 600kg Hereford get the hammer at €1,680 or 2.80/kg, while a 515kg Limousin made 1,220 or €3.25/kg.

Among the cull cows, better 665-730kg continentals sold from €2.40-2.90/kg, with a 720kg Friesian making €2.22/kg.

Mohill

The story here was also of reduced numbers, with 120 on offer. Darragh Barden reported a strong trade, with 280-300kg weanling heifers selling to €920/hd while bulls from 280-350kg made €1,000-1,130/hd.

Older heifers from 400-450kg sold from €1,200-1,350/hd.

Top call on the bullock side saw an 815kg Charolais make €2,740 or €3.36/kg, while an 800kg continental cull cow sold for €2,500 or €3.12/kg.

Roscrea

“We had 750 in the yard, including 135 culls,” said Michael Harty. “A huge percentage of those culls were 700-900kg, factory fit. That’s unheard of in June.”

Prices for continental culls peaked at €3.06/kg, with Friesians operating from a base of €2.10-2.35/kg.

With the Goodman and Dawn groups less active, heavy stock were easier by €20-30/hd — 500-600kg bullocks settled at €2.80/kg.

Michael also pointed to other factors affecting the trade.

“Most men are full and so far June’s weather hasn’t helped grass,” he said.

New Ross

‘Price pull, what price pull?’ was the thought in the room as Jim Bushe dropped the hammer on a 990kg Charolais cow at €3,140.

Numbers were unseasonally large, with 856 on offer.

Beef bullocks sold from €1,250-1,840/hd over the €/kg, with beef heifers making €960-1,810/hd over the weight.

Continental store bullocks sold from €680-1,200/hd over the €/kg, with Hereford and Angus types selling from €520-1,020/hd over the weight.

Among the Friesian bullocks, heavier types sold from €850-1,190/hd over the €/kg, with lighter lots €200-525/hd over the weight.

Continental store heifers sold for €540-1,020/hd over the €/kg, with Hereford and Angus types €480-900/hd over their weight.

Ballinakill

Here too it was a story of bigger-than-expected numbers.

Heavy bullocks sold for €2.05-3.30/kg with forward types making €2.20-3.40/kg, while lighter bullocks were €2.20-3.50/kg.

Among the heifers, beef made €2.20-3.50/kg with stores €2.25-3.65/kg.

Weanling bulls sold for €2.10-4.00/kg with weanling heifers making €2.25-3.85/kg. Cull cows made €1.70-3.10/kg.

Raphoe

Trade here was on a par with the previous week. As has been the story all year strong and forward cattle were highly sought after, with many of the heavier continental animals selling for €2.80-3.50/kg.

500-600kg animals made €2.70-3.80/kg, while lighter continentals sold for €2.80-3.80/kg. Friesian bullocks made €1.80-2.60/kg, with Aberdeen Angus types €2.40-3.20/kg.

Cull cows started around €620/hd for poorer types with heavier factory fit culls topping out at €2,280/hd.

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Calf prices at Carrigallen



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