It’s unbelievable how fast things can change. Two weeks ago, we were staring into wet day after wet day and the prospects of turning cattle out to grass were further away.

A few good days over the weekend and into the early days of this week has brought a whole new outlook to farmers and their livestock.

Ground has dried really well in the last week and that has meant cattle have been turned out in many places.

There was never really a shortage of grass, it was just a mater of getting the right weather conditions to dry the ground and graze it.

Summer grazing buyers who would have usually been appearing at the end of March had been taking a very cautious approach to buying, but the shackles are off now and a lot of orders have come in for grass stock in the last week.

This has injected some energy into the mart trade, with light weanlings in the 200kg to 350kg weight category benefiting most this week.

Speaking to Elphin Mart manager Ciaran Lynch, he said: “Good-quality weanlings are pretty scarce on the ground at the moment.

“Exporters are still very active looking for good weanlings and the grass buyers are also in the market now for weanlings, so I could see the weanling price creep up more over the coming months until we see more numbers coming out towards the end of the summer months.”

The dry cow trade remains very solid, with good manufacturing beef sales driving factory agents to big prices around mart rings. Good-quality, young well-fleshed suckler cows have hit over €3.30/kg this week in marts.

Feeder cows are also in demand, with a number of feedlots buying cows for a June or July finish. Good-quality store suckler cows in the 600kg to 700kg bracket are making from €2.20/kg to €2.80/kg depending on weight and quality.

Taking a look at this week’s Martbids analysis table, we see that the weanling sections have the most green arrows again.

Lighter bullocks and heifers in the 350kg to 400kg weight bracket also saw an improvement in price this week.

Top-quality bull weanlings in the 200kg to 300kg weight bracket were up 20c/kg or €50/head this week on the back of increased demand at the ringside, averaging €3.91/kg.

Average-quality weanlings in the same weight bracket came in at €3.33/kg this week, up 8c/kg on last week.

It was a similar story in the weanling heifer rings, with grass buyers dominating business for the first time over the last week.

Light weanling heifers in the 200kg to 300kg weight bracket were also up in price this week. Top-quality heifers came in at €3.69/kg, up 14c/kg on the previous week.

The bullock trade had a pretty steady week, with lighter bullocks again the highlight of the trade. Top-quality bullocks in the 350kg to 400kg weight bracket came in at €3.45/kg this week, up 4c/kg.

Lighter heifers were also up, with poorer-quality dairy-cross heifers seeing the biggest gains of 9c/kg to €2.44/kg over the last seven days.

Heavy heifers were the only negative in this week’s trade with those in the 600kg-plus weight category at €2.85/kg.