A number of factory feedlots have increased buying activity over the last seven days, with one or two focusing on Hereford and Aberdeen Angus cattle.

This should help the trade, with big numbers expected to move into factory-aligned feedlots over the next couple of weeks.

They tend to work on tight budgets, but speaking to a few mart managers, it has definitely helped the trade of the 400kg dairy-cross beef bullock in early trading this week.

Some of the larger factory-owned feedlots had stepped out of the market over the last few weeks to allow some of their customers purchase their requirements.

The heifer trade has come under a little pressure this week, with slight movement downward across a lot of the weight and quality categories.

Biggest numbers continue to come out in the 400kg to 500kg weight category and the top third of heifers in this weight bracket came in at €2.68/kg this week, a drop of 8c/kg on last week’s trading.

Bullocks had a more positive week, with good feedlot activity coming through on the price tables.

Average-quality bullocks in the 400kg to 500kg category came in at €2.30/kg this week, which was unchanged on last week’s price.

In the weanling rings, the trade has remained steady, with little change in the last seven days.

Poorer-quality dairy-bred weanlings are under pressure, with all weights of these animals down in price this week.

Top-quality weanlings are still in demand, with the top third of bull weanlings in the 300kg to 400kg category hitting €2.78/kg this week.

Live exports

Live exports continue to perform strongly, with Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Libya the stand-out markets so far in 2022.

Live exporters continue to buy for the Turkish market, with a new player entering the market in the last two weeks.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that this western-based exporter will complete the quarantine period on the continent before moving to Turkey with weanlings.

Weanlings will travel to a lairage facility in eastern Europe before their onward journey to Turkey.

Good exporter activity has helped to keep a floor underneath plainer weanlings in the 300kg to 400kg category.

Breeding sales

The breeding heifer trade continues to defy all odds, with a number of very successful sales taking place over the last few weeks.

Tuam Mart had a big sale of in-calf heifers for Galway man Norman Connolly on Monday night.

The sale topped out at €4,500, which was hit twice by two Limousin heifers due to calve in the next few months.

The sale achieved a full clearance, with the average of the 68 heifers sold coming in at €3130, up over €600 on last year’s average of €2,500.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Tuam Mart’s Marion Devane said: “There was unbelievable interest on the night, with customers travelling from as far away as Donegal and Wexford.

“It’s a great boost for the suckler cow when you see good stock making good money.”