Prices are falling as farm buyers pause to consider their options

There is a strong sense in commerce that shoppers pause to consider their options. Dowra’s Patsy Smith described the period as “the time frame for the March trade – too late to hay and too early to shed”.

As a result, the price of most bulls and heifers fell last week. Quality bulls below 400-499kg were most affected, down 13c/kg or €52-65/hd, but most other steer category bulls were down only 2-5c/kg.

The 500-599kg bull gained 5c/kg overall, but its heavier mate in the 600kg+ category was down 5c/kg or €30/hd in response to attempts by the factory to push base prices below €4.80/kg .

Several market managers said heavy beef cows going through their rings were €100/hd lower than the previous week, with factories instructing their agents to “lay back” where cows and heavy bulls are concerned.

This was no doubt due to the fact that factory receipts numbers passed the 36,000 mark for the week ending September 4th.

For those selling those heavy cows, this drop was not a major obstacle, I was told. The sentiment seemed to be: “Why bring home a dog cow that made €2,000 (and often many times more) when it could have been €100 better last week?”

Overall, according to Edenderry Mart’s Johnny Dolan, although trading was “easier at points”, last week’s increased numbers across the country did not affect trading too much.

That’s partly because recent rains have started to bring in grass in key fattening areas of the east and midlands, so buyers won’t have to worry too much about whether they’ll have enough funds to feed their new purchases.

Meanwhile, March traders are concerned that the Department’s move to introduce a six-month trial will adversely affect their businesses.

Although it was initially proposed to cover only breeding cattle for 36 months, the plan to extend it to all cattle in a second phase could seriously affect the number of beef-type animals that are currently doing very well in the March cycle.

But what about the additional cost? After generations of paying for testing, we still haven’t cracked it because the farming community is expected to pick up the tab again?

Or should the party continue after the farmer pays?

In knowing – around Marches

Edenderry

Numbers were up to 330, but Johnny Dolan noted that bulls were trading back to €40-50/hd “at points”.

Better 400kg Continental bulls sold at €2.50-2.90/kg and 400kg Angus at €2.20-2.30/kg.

There were few Friesians, 600 kg at €2.16/kg.

The trade in heifers was good, but the light ones were scarce. Those from 380-400kg made €920-1000/hd and better types made €1000-1100/hd. A heifer weighing 700 kg sold for €2.57/kg, and a heifer weighing 570 kg sold for €2.70-2.80/kg.

Slaughter cows weighing around 550kg sold at €600-700/hd and heavy beef up to €2.55/kg.

Balla

More than 500 people entered the annual show and sale of bulls, with prices up by an average of €141/hd on the same sale last year.

Quick buy shop bulls averaged €2.80/kg and the top beef price was €2,420 or €3.12/kg for a 775kg Charolais.

On the heifer side, those under 400kg averaged €2.69/kg and those over 500kg averaged €2.78/kg.

Top calls included the 490kg Limousine at €3.41/kg, followed by the 655kg Limousine at €3.05/kg.

There were 130 dry cows on offer, tops selling at €2.40-€3.02/kg – to suit heavy bulls.

Dora

Here, the number reached 600, including 120 cows.

Patsy Smith reckoned trade would be around €100/hd for heavy beef and cull cows, with 500-550kg store bulls down €50/hd in places.

Average prices for these 500-550kg bulls ranged from €2.45-€2.65 overall, with tops at €3.10/kg.

Heavier heifers made €2.60-2.70/kg, lighter ones €2.50-2.60/kg.

Increased interest from farmer feeders drove 450-500kg bull calves to €1,440-1,500/hd.

Heavy losses were still €2,000-€2,500 in some places at €100/hd, with a 990kg Charolais selling for €2,800.

Dingle

Nelius McAuliffe reported that 570kg heifers averaged €2.70/kg and 350kg heifers sold for €2.10-2.25/kg.

On the bull side, better Angus sold at €2.40-2.45/kg, with lesser types at €2.25-2.30/kg.

On the bulk cow side, the 860kg continental in the best call sold to €2,000/hd or €2.32/hd, but straight from the parlor and lean Friesian cows made €1.30-€1.60/hd.

Macroom

Trade for forward and beef remained strong,

Examples included 570kg and 670kg Friesian bulls selling at €2.07/kg and €2.22/kg respectively, two 500kg Belgian Blues at €2.50/kg and two 590kg Aubracs averaging €2.54 /kg was

With 400kg Hereford and Angus selling at €2.10-2.15/kg and Friesians at €1.70-1.90/kg, there was not as strong an appetite for dairy-based lighter stores.

Strong farmer interest in weanling bulls saw five 350kg Charolais average €2.71/kg, two 300kg Limousines €2.83/kg and four 408kg Limousines averaging €2.79/kg.

Headford

Friday night’s weaning sale focused on Limousins, Simmentals and Belgian Blues, with heavier bulls averaging €2.91/kg.

Examples include a 405kg Limousine at €3.21/kg, a 550kg Belgian Blue at €2.73/kg and a 450kg Limousine at €1,500 or €3.33/kg.

Light bulls included Charolais 300kg at €3.66/kg, Limousin at €3.57 at 305kg, and Limousin at €3.33/kg at 300kg and at €3.17/kg. There is also a 353 kg limousine.

On the heifer side, quality was also in strong demand and the 330kg Limousine made €3.12/kg, with two other Limousines – 370kg and 375kg – making €2.70/kg and €2.93/kg respectively.

Roscommon

Last week’s show and sale of spring-born weanlings had good numbers on offer.

Weaned heifers averaged €2.87/kg; The top price was a 355kg Charolais which was €4.84/kg.

Other top prices included Belgian Blue at 365kg at €4.30/kg, Simmental at 310kg at €3.87/kg and Limousin at 425kg at €3.81/kg.

However, the 455kg Charolais X at €3.29/kg and the 350kg Limousine at €3.17/kg were closer to average.

Bulls averaged €2.91/kg, with the highest call per kg for 265kg Charolais at €4.26/kg.

Two limousines weighing 425kg and 395kg were among the top earners, both clicking €1,600/hd or €3.76kg and €4.05/kg.

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