The average-quality 600kg-plus bullock is now making €3/kg as the mart trade continues to shine.
While better-quality stock have been making well in excess of this figure over the last few weeks, it is the first time that the average weekly price in the MartBids analysis has hit this height.
Looking at the same time point last year, heavy bullocks were averaging €2.57/kg. This represents a 43c/kg or €300/head price lift in 12 months.
The number of stock coming forward for sale is ever so slightly above last year’s figures, as some farmers opt to offload stock in the mart where they would have typically dealt directly with the processor.
It means the average bullock over 600kg is selling for an equivalent beef price of over €5.50/kg, which would be around 10c/kg or €35/head to €40/head above a factory price.
For the top third of bullocks, prices averaged €3.26/kg, equal to a beef price of north of €5.80/kg carcase weight.
A rising tide lifts all boats and this is true for lighter cattle at the moment.
Those weighing from 500kg to 600kg are up a further 4c/kg or €20 to €24/head on last week to an average of €2.82/kg.
With settled weather some farmers with dry ground and plenty of grass have been active in securing grazing numbers early this year, while others are happy to bring them home and house them for a few weeks until grass is more plentiful.
It has seen 400kg to 500kg bullocks jump 6c/kg to €2.71/kg this week.
Similarly, for heifers at lighter weights, the demand for numbers is strong. Heifers from 400kg to 500kg averaged €2.80/kg, similar to the previous seven days.
At the heavier weights, the table reports price drops to the tune of 14c/kg, but, as outlined, last week’s sharp increase was due to a number of special breeding sales.
This week’s figure is a truer reflection of where the heavy beef heifer trade currently sits, with those weighing over 600kg averaging €2.95/kg.
The average dry cow price sits at €2.16/kg this week, similar to last week, while the top third of cows are averaging €2.60/kg.
Reports from mart managers this week see continued appetite for heavy, well-fleshed cows, with strong factory prices driving the demand.
Those with small numbers would be advised to sell in the mart currently to maximise returns.
Weaning numbers were similar to last week, but perhaps quality has dropped ever so slightly.
This is reflected in the prices, with the average weanling price back 3c/kg on the week. It is important that farmers only sell stock that have been prepared for sale.
While many are trying to make the most of the positive market, feeding for a few weeks and having stock ready for the sale ring will be rewarded in the sale price on the day.
The trade remains positive, with €3/kg freely available in most weight classes, while reports of lots hitting €4/kg are not uncommon for special animals.