All the talk over the past six months or more has been on the short-keep, heavier-type animal, where finishers have been concentrating their efforts on animals within 100 days of slaughter.

However, in recent days, the lighter animal destined for grass has started to see demand and, as a result, prices have increased quite significantly.

It must be remembered that farmers operating a system purchasing in spring and finishing off grass in autumn have enjoyed two if not three very good years.

Even last spring when it was thought that grazing cattle were going to be too dear to leave a margin, the beef price by autumn had risen sufficiently to leave a decent return for most grazing systems.

Therefore, it is no surprise that morale is quite high among this cohort of farmers and they are responding with swift demand for suitable stock.

The poor weather this week did little to deter the trade, with lighter heifers from 350kg to 400kg up 10c/kg.

It sees them settle at an average price of €2.78/kg, similar to the average price of heifers from 400kg to 500kg.

At the top of the trade, the best third of stock are making €3.10/kg to €3.20/kg, with reports of top-quality continental stock breaking the €4/kg barrier on occasion.

Light bullocks have seen a similar price increase, up 8c/kg for stock weighing from 350kg up to 500kg.

This adds up to €40/head to the sale price compared with last week.

At the top of the trade, this price lift is greater, up 10c/kg at the higher end of these weight brackets.

Heavy stores

Compared with recent weeks, the number of heavy cattle through mart rings was down this week, which may be due to inclement weather in some parts of the country. Whatever the case, numbers remain tight.

Despite this, having been up significantly last week, prices for heavy stores have eased slightly over the last seven days, but, in many cases, this price drop accounts for less than half of last week’s increase.

The trade remains in good territory, with heavy heifers over 600kg making €2.96/kg on average, with the top third of stock averaging €3.22/kg.

Those from 500kg to 600kg averaged €2.76/kg this week, back 6c/kg on the previous week’s trade, with the top third making €3.15/kg on average.


Weanling numbers have also started to tail off again compared with recent weeks.

The majority of bull weanlings coming out are weighing between 300kg and 400kg. This week, they averaged €3.22/kg, up 7c/kg on the previous seven days’ trade.

Heavier bulls are very scarce, but where available they are making €3.16/kg on average, with the top third making €3.50/kg.

Weanling heifers are similar, with numbers retracting quite significantly compared with last week. Those from 200kg to 300kg averaged €3.10/kg, up 13c/kg on the week, while those from 300kg to 400kg also averaged €3.10/kg, up 8c/kg on the week as some grass buyers opt for lighter heifers this year.