Cattle price pressure is 'opportunistic'
Factories are trying to apply even more pressure on prices, a move that is being criticised as opportunistic by the IFA.

Beef quotes on Friday show factories trying to implement further reductions on steer and heifer base prices.

Some factories are trying to reduce the base price for steers to €3.95/kg and for heifers to €4.05/kg, for cattle changing hands next week. This follows a 5c/kg reduction earlier in the week, with steers reducing from €4.05/kg to €4.00/kg, and heifers from €4.15/kg to €4.10/kg.

The price pressure has been criticised by IFA livestock chair Angus Woods, who described the move by factories as “opportunistic”.

“Feeders should strongly resist any price pressure from the factories,” he advised. “There is no beef in store and market demand remains strong.”

Woods is calling for Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to react.

“There is no market basis or justification for any reduction in cattle prices,” he added. “

In the last week, Bord Bia has highlighted the very strong beef market returns for factories in 2017 and the extremely strong returns on offal and hide values.

“Minister Creed needs to call an immediate beef forum and make it abundantly clear to the factories that they must return a fair and viable price to farmers.”

He also pointed to steady prices in our main export markets as providing an opportunity for higher prices to be returned to Irish farmers.

“Over the autumn, UK beef prices have remained very strong and EU prices have strengthen significantly, up 30c to 40c/kg on previous year levels,” Woods said.

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In pictures: heifers a stronger trade at Balla Mart
Despite larger numbers on offer, more farmer buyer demand lead to an improved heifer trade at Balla Mart.

There was a very large entry of stock on offer on Saturday at Balla Mart, with worsening and wet weather forcing more sellers out to the ringside. While numbers are up, so too was demand, with stronger farmer buyer activity at the ringside.

The heifer ring saw a lively trade, with prices of good-quality heifers noticeably stronger. There was more buyer activity for heifers with breeding potential also.

Those with breeding potential were a strong trade, with many better-quality lots over 450kg making around €2.50/kg to €2.60/kg and a little more at times.

This Charolais cross heifer, born May 2016 and weighing 620kg, sold for €1,420 (€2.29/kg).

Heavy heifers over 600kg were a little more common than previous weeks and these were a flying trade. They sold mainly from €1,300 to over €1,450/head. Store R+ and U grade heifers from 500kg to 600kg were a strong trade also and sold mainly from €1,150 to €1,250 with a little more buyer activity this week.

Lighter stores from 400kg to 500kg were a little stronger also, with more farmers actively buying. These sold mainly from €900 to €1,100 depending on quality. Where lighter weanling heifers were on offer, prices of €700 to €850 were common.

The bullock trade overall was strong, but some were a little easier than previous weeks with increased numbers on offer. At the top of the trade, top quality in-spec bullocks over 600kg sold mainly from €800 to €900 along with the weight for better quality types.

This Charolais cross bullock, born October 2016 and weighing 610kg, sold for €1,200 (€1.97/kg).

The majority of good R+ and U grade heavy bullocks sold from €750 to €850 along with the weight, maybe a little easier than previous weeks. Lighter forward store bullocks from 500kg to 600kg were a similar trade to last week with good feeder and farmer demand for them. They sold mainly from €1,000 to €1,250/head for average quality types.

Lighter stores from 400kg to 500kg were a steady trade on last week driven by firm farmer and agent demand. They are selling mainly from €700 to €800 along with the weight. However, quality is key to getting the higher prices on offer. Over age bullocks continue to be met with mixed demand, while some plainer quality stores are still slower to sell.

This Charolais cross heifer, born June 2016 and weighing 590kg, sold for €1,340 (€2.27/kg).

This Angus cross heifer, born May 2016 and weighing 525kg, sold for €1,140 (€2.17/kg).

This Saler cross fove star heifer, born January 2017 and weighing 480kg, sold for €1,260 (€2.63/kg).

This Limousin cross heifer, born April 2017 and weighing 425kg, sold for €1,250 (€2.94/kg).

This Limousin cross heifer, born October 2016 and weighing 520kg, sold for €1,150 (€2.21/kg).

This Charolais cross bullock, born October 2016 and weighing 475kg, sold for €840 (€1.77/kg).

This Limousin cross bullock, born August 2017 and weighing 415kg, sold for €790 (€1.90/kg).

This Charolais cross bull, born April 2017 and weighing 360kg, sold for €750 (€2.08/kg).

This Charolais cross bullock, born April 2017 and weighing 495kg, sold for €1,265 (€2.56/kg).

Belgian Blue bulls sells for €3,400 in Carnew mart suckler sale
The clearance sale of Colin Tyner’s 100-cow suckler herd saw a brisk trade for good-quality cows.

Carnew mart in Co Wicklow held a special suckler sale on Wednesday last. The sale included the clearance of local farmer Colin Tyner’s top-quality 100-cow suckler herd.

The cows on offer were a mixture of Limousin cross, Parthenaise cross, Angus cross and Hereford cross, with the majority calving from February to the first half of April to a super Belgian Blue stock bull.

The foundation of the herd is Limousin cross cows sourced from the same dairy herd with Angus cross heifers sourced in recent years.

A high percentage of these cows were rated as four or five star on the replacement index. The Parthenaise and Hereford cross cows in the herd have been bred from the Limousin cross cows, with many of these rated as one-to-three star cows.

This Parthenaise cross second calver weighing 540kg, born March 2016 and due to calve 11 March 2019 sold for €1,260.

The herd generated strong demand with the best competition for young cows with good conformation.

Prices ranged for these cows from €1,200 to €1,450, with a couple of cows breaking the €1,500 mark. Older cows with good confirmation and younger Angus cross cows sold from €1,000 to €1,200 with a small number of lighter and aged cows from €800 to €1,000.

There was also an entry of 10 Angus cross heifers calving next spring at two years of age to an easy-calving Hereford stock bull. These heifers weighed from 450kg to 480kg on average and sold from €780 to €880.

This Belgian Blue cross cow weighing 690kg, born April 2011 and due to calve on 24 April, sold for €1,200.

The Belgian Blue stock bull also generated high levels of interest weighing 1,000kg and selling for €3,400. The 2012-born bull has super terminal figures possessing a terminal index €uro-Star value of €229. This is driven by a massive carcase weight figure of 62kg and a conformation score of 3.45.

For these figures, the bull is relatively good on his calving difficulty score with a predicted calving difficulty of 9.3%. The December 2014-born Hereford stock bull weighed 1,069kg and sold for €1,600.

The sale also coincided with the launch of Martbids at Carnew Mart, a new App brought to you by the Irish Farmers Journal and livestock marts which can be downloaded for free on Google Play and the App store.

It allows users to access a range of details on animals including breed, age, movement, QA and ICBF status, etc, before they enter the sales ring and also allows monitoring of prices while present in the mart.

This Hereford cross cow weighing 642kg, born January 2015 and due to calve 11 March 2019, sold fro €1,160.

This light Angus cross cow weighing 468kg, born February 2016 and possessing a replacement index of €108, sold for €800.

This red Parthenaise cross cow born March 2010, weighing 718kg and due to calve 18 March 2019, sold for €1,240.

This Hereford cross cow with a replacement index of €82, born March 2015 and due to calve 11 March 2019, sold for €1,240.

This Limousin cross cow born March 2012, weighing 750kg and due to calve 17 February 2019, sold for €1,360.

This young January 2016-born Hereford cross cow, weighing 704kg and due to calve 11 March 2019, sold for €1,400.

This Limouisn cross cow with a high replacement index of €192, weighing 678kg, born March 2011 and due to calve 17 February 2019, sold for €1,180.

This 660kg Parthenaise cross cow, born February 2008 and due to calve 11 March 2019, sold for €1,120.

This large-framed 778kg Parthenaise cross cow, born February 2009 and due to calve 10 February 2019, sold for €1,280.

This March 2015-born Parthenasie cross cow, weighing 704kg, sold for €1,500.

This February-2007 born Limousin cross cow weighing 700kg, possessing a replacement index of €121 and due to calve 11 March 2019, sold for €1,080.

This 662kg Angus cross cow born March 2015, possessing a replacement index of €138 and due to calve 1 March 2019, sold for €1,100.

This March-2014 born Parthenaise cross cow, weighing 632kg and due to calve 11 April 2019, sold for €1,340.

This July-2004 born Limousin cross cow, weighing 678kg and due to calve March 2019, sold for €1,100.

This Hereford cross cow born March 2015, weighing 644kg and due to calve 12 February 2019, sold for €1,360.

This 450kg Angus cross heifer born 450kg, born April 2017, possessing a replacement index of €120 and due to calve 11 March, sold for €820.

This Angus cross heifer weighing 478kg, born March 2017, possessing a replacement index of €138 and due to calve 11 March 2019, sold for €840.

In pictures: brisk weanling trade in Skibbereen
Lighter weanling bulls were to the fore of this week's sale, with up to €2.80/kg available for continentals.

Weanling numbers have seen a big lift in Skibbereen Mart, coming on the back of last week’s show and sale, with over 600 weanlings on offer.

Lighter weanlings under 350kg dominated numbers in this week’s sale. Trade was brisk for continentals, with up to €2.80/kg available.

Current trade

Speaking on the current weanling trade in Skibbereen, mart manager Tom McCarthy said: “I’m very impressed with the quality of stock farmers in the area are bringing out. Weanlings are weighing better than a lot of people thought they would.

"A lot of what was on offer at the show and sale were weighing 380kg to 400kg and they sold very well. Most sold for €2.40/kg to €2.90/kg. Demand is as strong as it was last year. There was a lot of Charolais on sale last week and it was good to see and they sold well. “

Angus and Hereford weanling bulls were making from €1.95/kg to €2.20/kg, while weanling heifers sold for up to €2.70/kg.

Bullocks

There was a good turnout of forward store bullocks with weight for age dictating a lot of the pricing, with those over 450kg especially sought after.

January 2017-born bullocks, weighing 451kg, made €940 (€2.08/kg).

Farmer buyers were very active for continental bullocks with prices for these going up to €2.40/kg.

For the more traditional beef breeds, feedlot buyers were to the fore. The majority of these sold from €1.75/kg to €1.90/kg with a few falling either side of this price range.

2017 born bullock sample prices

  • One Limousin, 495kg - €1,170, €2.36/kg.
  • Four Charolais, 450kg - €1,050, €2.33/kg.
  • Two Limousin, 442kg - €1,020, €2.31/kg.
  • Five Hereford, 518kg - €990, €1.91/kg.
  • Two Angus, 520kg - €975, €1.88/kg.
  • Cows

    There was exceptional demand for well-fleshed suckler cull cows, with prices up to €600 with their weight available. Feeder beef cows were selling for under €1.30/kg.

    A 2008-born cow weighing 825kg sold for €1,170 (€1.42/kg).

    Dairy cull cows were in short supply and that can be put down to current good grazing conditions and a strong west Cork milk price. Dairy cull cows have been slower to appear than other years but the fact there was stronger culling during the drought period saw farmers sell these earlier too.

    Dry cow sample prices

  • One Limousin, 725kg - €1,200, €1.66/kg.
  • One Charolais, 825kg - €1,170, €1.42/kg.
  • One Limousin, 875kg - €1,475, €1.69/kg.
  • One Friesian, 800kg - €1,140, €1.43/kg.
  • An October 2017-born bull, weighing 515kg, made €1,100 (€2.14/kg).

    February 2017-born bullocks, weighing 508kg, made €900 (€1.77/kg).

    A 2003-born cow, weighing 600kg, sold for €800 (€1.33/kg).

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