The mart trade is under some pressure this week, with the bullock and heifer trade taking a slight turn.

Factories moved at the end of last week to cut beef quotes by 5c/kg to 10c/kg across most categories of stock and this has affected the mart trade, with feeders a little more cautious than in previous weeks when buying animals for finish.

Lower grass growth than normal is also taking its toll on the trade, with some southern-based finishers taking the decision to house cattle in the last week in a bid to speed up the finishing process and take the pressure off grass supplies.

Others have gone in with silage to try to slow things up.

All the upset has taken its toll on the trade, with lighter store cattle bearing the brunt of the current easing.

The one highlight in the trade is the weanling trade, with exporters underpinning demand for weanlings in all marts this week.

Iveragh Mart in Kerry had a big show for the first big weanling sale of 2024 on Tuesday last. There was a lot of heavy weanlings for sale and a number of the country’s leading exporters drove the trade all day, with some exceptional prices being paid for the top weanlings in the sale.

After a few weeks of flying high, cull cows also saw a dip in price this week. The highs of €3/kg that were seen in previous weeks are a little less evident this week and while appetite is still very strong for finished cows, mart prices have come back in line with what cows are making in the factory.

Good-quality finished cows remain in short supply, with more milking cows coming out in the last seven to 10 days.

Dairy farmers in the south in particular are offloading any passengers due to grass growth and nitrates issues.

Poorer-quality parlour cows around the 500kg mark were struggling into €1/kg to €1.20/kg this week.

Heavier Friesian cows with a little more flesh were up at €1.60/kg to €1.80/kg while cows nearer finish with good flesh were crossing the €2/kg mark.

Top-end suckler cows with good flesh and weighing 700kg to 800kg were making between €2.60/kg and €2.80/kg this week, with good wholesaler and factory demand for these.

Martbids data

Taking a look at this week’s Martbids analysis table, we see that the bullock and heifer trade is back across almost all weight and quality categories.

Top-quality bullocks in the 400kg to 500kg bracket came in at just under €3/kg this week at €2.98/kg, back 21c/kg on the previous week’s trading.

Lighter bullocks were also back, with those in the 350kg to 400kg weight bracket back 13c/kg this week to €2.38/kg.

Poorer-quality Friesian and Aberdeen Angus bullocks were back at €1.93/kg in the same weight bracket.

Heavy bullocks over 600kg are a good trade, with top-quality bullocks weighing over 600kg coming in at €2.98/kg.

The 300kg to 400kg weanling was the highlight of the trade, with top-quality bulls up 8c/kg to €3.71/kg. Average bulls in the same weight bracket came in at €3.22/kg.

Heifers weanlings also met a good trade, with top-quality heifers in the 300kg to 400kg weight bracket coming in at €3.35/kg this week, up 4c/kg.