Cattle numbers in marts remain high across the country as we head into the last week of July.
Many mart managers have reported it as one of the busiest Julys they have seen.
The steadily increasing beef price at factories is giving even greater seller confidence on an already strong market trade.
Prices for cull cows in particular saw another significant increase on the week
As reported over the last number of weeks, it’s the fed cattle who are seeing the biggest benefit of this.
Marts are seeing much higher fed cattle numbers heading through the scales compared with other years, as animals weighing 700kg-plus are regularly heading to prices of €1,600-plus.
Prices for cull cows in particular saw another significant increase on the week.
On average, Martbids data shows that cull cow prices rose by 9c/kg on the week. The national average now rests at €1.87/kg.
On a 700kg cull cow, this is the equivalent of a €60 price increase, with average cull value at over €1,300/head.
If we look at the top third of lots sold, the average price rises to a massive €2.21/kg. This price was even higher for some lots.
Fed steers and heifers are also seeing the benefit of this, but not at the same scale
As featured below in the Elphin report, a Charolais cow weighing over a 1,000kg came into €2,600, while, in another mart, a Blue cow weighing 826kg sold for €2,200 (€2.66/kg).
These prices are being driven by factory agents and northern buyers who are having to compete for any remaining fit cattle lots.
Fed steers and heifers are also seeing the benefit of this, but not at the same scale.
That said, the base price they are working off is one of the strongest seen in quite some time.
Steer prices rose by 1c/kg on average this past week to settle at a national average price of €2.29/kg.
Better-quality lots in this weight category saw an average price 22c/kg higher than the national average, with real top-end lots further in front again at around €2.60/kg.
Heifers are after surpassing the bullocks once again, with the average price for animals 600kg-plus settling at €2.37/kg. This is a rise of 6c/kg on the week.
The highlight lots of the week proved to be fat heifers of better quality which recorded an average sale price of over €2.60/kg.
This means a better-quality heifer weighing 700kg is, on average, making €1,827 in marts.
At a kill-out of 55%, the same heifer would need to make €4.75/kg as a base in factories to just break even with the marts.
We are also seeing a small amount of farmers offload cattle in fear of drought
Although seeing a slight drop on the week, lighter stock continue to hold well.
However, with prices continuing to hold, there are many choosing to offload cattle now instead of holding them to the end of the grazing season.
We are also seeing a small amount of farmers offload cattle in fear of drought.
This measure is particular evident for some dairy farmers wanting to keep any remaining grass for the milking herd if the dry spell was to continue.
These increased numbers may start to show a bit of a drop in price of lighter cattle in time to come, but, at the moment, the confidence in the sector and factory price continuing to increase means cattle are holding well.