Factories continue to have a big presence ringside and online at many of the country’s marts over the last seven days.

A continued shortage in the supply of prime retail spec cattle has forced a lot of agents at marts to hoover up any cattle that are slaughter fit or near fit for slaughter.

Taking a look at this week’s Martbids analysis table, heavy bullocks were the highlight of this week’s trade, with all quality categories seeing a lift in price this week.

Top-end bullocks over 600kg came in at €3/kg this week, a lift of 12c/kg on the previous week’s trading.

Lighter bullocks in the 400kg to 500kg weight bracket came in at €2.46/kg this week, with more money being paid for Aberdeen Angus bullocks this week.

Heavy heifers weren’t as solid as the bullocks, with heifers over 600kg back a touch on the previous weeks.

Lighter heifers in the 400kg to 500kg average-quality bracket came in at €2.57/kg this week. Poorer-quality dairy-cross heifers ranged in price from €2.07/kg for lighter heifers to €2.25/kg for heavier heifers in the 500kg to 600kg weight bracket.

Speaking to mart managers this week, it’s the exporters who continue to keep a floor under the weanling bull trade, with farmer buyers getting a little more scarce at ringsides.

This week’s Martbids analysis table paints a steady picture for the weanling trade over the last seven days.

Top-quality 300kg to 400kg weanling bulls came in at €3.36/kg this week, a similar trade to last week.

Average-quality weanlings came in at €2.90/kg. Heavier bull weanlings were a little easier, but still a solid trade.

Top-quality bulls over 450kg came in at €3.08/kg this week. Lighter bulls in the 200kg to 300kg weight bracket were also a similar trade to last week.

In the weanling heifer rings, it was also a positive week, with top-end weanling heifers in the 300kg to 400kg weight bracket up 9c/kg on last week’s prices to €3.25/kg.

Average-quality heifers in the same weight bracket came in at €2.78/kg.

Mart managers in the south are reporting large numbers of dairy culls coming out in the last few weeks.

Pressure from a nitrates point of view has meant that a lot of dairy farmers are choosing to offload now rather than have these cows on the books for the start of 2024.

Parlour cows

Parlour cows remain a difficult trade, with a huge difference in prices being paid for well-fleshed cows compared with thin lighter cows.

These thin lighter cows are being bought at as low as 60c/kg in some marts this week and probably represent decent value for feeders with space in terms of turning these around in a few months.

Heavier dairy cows with more flesh have been trading for as high ass €2/kg.

Continental suckler cows are still a very solid trade, with heavy well fleshed cows hitting €2.80/kg in some marts this week.

The trade for these heavy suckers is being driven by NI-based wholesalers who were very active around mart rings this week. The general run of these suckler culls was from €2.30/kg to €2.60/kg this week.