Numbers continue to fall at the country’s marts this week, with some very small numbers of cattle appearing over the last seven days.
June and July are normally the quietest months in marts, but during any prolonged period of hot weather, numbers are especially hit, as farmers concentrate on silage making and other field work to avoid missing the good weather window.
Despite the small numbers, customers remain very active at the ringside, with grass buyers still in abundance.
Heavier slaughter-fit cattle continue to be the hardest hit in the trade, with factory buyers still only lukewarm for finished cattle.
Taking a look at this week’s MartBids analysis table, we see that heavy heifers over 600kg took a hit across all quality categories last week, with the top-end heifers back 15c/kg, reflecting the pressure on beef quotes in factories.
Lighter heifers in the 400kg to 500kg category saw improvements across the board, with all quality grades seeing small increases of 4c to 6c/kg last week.
In the bullock rings, it was a similar story, with heavier bullocks under the most pressure, although not to the same degree as heifers.
Top-end bullocks in the 600kg-plus bracket were up 5c/kg last week, while all grades of 500kg to 600kg bullocks were back a shade on last week.
The weanling trade remains very steady, with the top-quality weanling still in big demand and knocking on the door of €4/kg.
The top grade of 300kg to 400kg bull weanlings came in at €3.93/kg this week, while average bull weanlings around the same weight came in at €3.35/kg.
Weanling heifers took a big jump this week, with the top-end 300kg to 400kg heifers selling at €3.80/kg this week. Average heifers in the same weight bracket came in at €3.27/kg.
Calf numbers are also well back on where they were a few weeks ago.
Prices have remained firm, with calf exports to eastern Europe especially active over the last few weeks.
Farmer activity is also steady, with a number of lots of reared calves seeing good demand over the last two weeks.
Very young calves are now scarce on the ground, with almost all calves being traded in the three- to six-week-old category.
Taking a look at the national sales data over the last week, three- to six-week-old Aberdeen Angus bull calves sold for €188/head averaging at 65kg/head.
Aberdeen Angus heifer calves came in at €149/head at 62kg each. Hereford bull calves came in at 67kg, selling for €207/head.
Hereford heifer calves in the same age bracket came in at an average weight of 64kg selling for €163/head. Friesian bull calves came in at 61kg averaging €103/head.
Continental calf numbers remain small. The top of the trade continues to be for Belgian Blue bulls, with three- to six-week-old bulls at €316/head at an average weight of 86kg.