It was a somewhat divided week in marts over the last seven days, with the weanling trade gathering some pace while the bullock and heifer trade saw some reductions in prices compared with previous weeks.

Heavy bullocks and heifers held firm and came in at a similar trade to the previous week, but lighter bullocks and heifers saw a drop in the trade this week.

Speaking to mart managers, they are reporting slightly less appetite for lighter stores, especially the lower-quality store cattle.

A lot of grass buyers have their buying completed for now and this has meant there isn’t as many customers around the ring for lighter stores in the last seven to 10 days.

Some southern managers are also reporting grass isn’t as plentiful as they would like on some farms and this is curtailing some grass buyers into buying any more numbers until grass supply gets back to normal.

The weanling trade, on the other hand, continues to build momentum and kicked on again this week.

Heifer calves saw the biggest increase this week, with a number of exporters now competing for good-quality heifer calves for export contracts.

Taking a look at this week’s Irish Farmers Journal Martbids analysis table, we see that heifers saw slightly less demand this week, with lighter heifers back the most.

Heifers in the 350kg to 400kg weight category were back between 2c and 18c/kg, depending on quality.

Average-quality heifers in the 500kg to 600kg weight category came in at €2.82/kg this week, some 7c/kg back on last week’s prices.

Factories kept the heavy heifer trade steadier, with just slight reductions taking place in the 600kg-plus weight category.

Top-quality heavy heifers over 600kg came in at €3.13/kg, back 5c/kg on the previous week.

Mart managers are reporting a big ramp up in activity from factory agents in recent weeks, with factories now actively looking for finished cattle in marts, with the reduction of finished cattle coming from farms taking place.

It was a similar story with lighter bullocks under pressure and heavier bullocks holding pretty firm.

Average-quality bullocks in the 400kg to 500kg weight bracket were back by 15c/kg this week to €2.64/kg, while heavier bullocks over 600kg in the same quality category were back by 6c/kg to €2.78/kg.

The best-quality bullocks across all weight categories crossed the €3/kg barrier this week.

Weanling bulls had another very solid week, with top-quality weanling bulls in the 300kg to 400kg weight bracket coming in at €4.03/kg this week, up 27c/kg on the previous week on the back of big exporter demand.

Heavier bull weanlings weren’t as hot, with top-quality bulls in the 400-405kg weight bracket coming in at €3.62/kg this week, back 6c/kg on the previous week’s trading.

Weanling heifers saw a big price increase last week, with top-quality heifers in the 300kg to 400kg weight bracket coming in at €3.65/kg, up 27c/kg on the previous week.