The past week has seen much smaller sales across the country. Mart managers have commented on the unusually low throughput.
Demand has been quite strong for forward bullocks and heifers and for all better quality store cattle. However, dairy-bred cattle are being met with continued weak demand and a variable trade with noticeably less buyer demand in the past few weeks. These prices are artificially low on account of the drought. Cull cows have taken a big hit in the past few weeks. Mart managers have said that demand for store Friesian cows is now noticeably less, and prices are ranging mainly from €0.80/kg to €1.10/kg for feeding cows straight from the parlour. Those carrying flesh are selling mainly from €1.30/kg to €1.50/kg. Lesser-quality continental cows have been met with weaker demand and lower prices also, with price of €1.50/kg to €1.70/kg now more common for feeding cows. Where light dairy cross runner calves are coming to the fore they have been met with some price pressure also.
Heavy bullocks over 600kg are a strong trade and are selling from €2.00/kg to €2.20/kg for R grade continentals. Prices have eased slightly in recent weeks, but the main reduction has been for aged bullocks that would not be slaughtered under 30 months. Lighter steers from 500kg to 600kg have seen average prices drop but this is mainly where plainer cattle have been offloaded. Where R grade continentals have been on offer, prices of €2.10/kg to €2.20/kg have been common. U grades are selling mainly from €2.30/kg to €2.40/kg.
Heifer prices are running about 5c/kg to 10c/kg above the equivalent bullock price as a result of less dairy influence. Again though, like with bullocks, quality is king in terms of prices. Better-quality forward heifers from 500kg to 600kg are selling mainly from €2.10/kg to €2.30/kg, while U grades are making over €2.50/kg. In contrast, where plainer heifers are on offer, prices of €1.80/kg to €2.00/kg are more common. Stores from 400kg to 500kg are selling mainly from €2.10/kg to €2.30/kg for better quality continentals.
Where better-quality weanlings have been on offer, prices have been strong. Special sales have seen very strong demand for top quality export type bulls and good quality R+ and U grade bulls suitable for feeding.
Farmers are active for good quality bulls also, while steady export demand for light bulls is placing a firm floor under prices with the majority of these from 240kg to 280kg selling from €700 to €750. Weanling heifers from 300kg to 400kg are selling mainly from €700 to €800/head.
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Demand for good-quality stores improved
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Good-quality store cattle holding value at Armoy Mart
Beef prices ease as trade remains under pressure