Prices at marts for heifers and bullocks continue to move upwards across the country. As factory prices move up to €4/kg for heifers, prices are moving at a similar pace in marts.
In the last week, prices for heifers weighing 600kg-plus saw the average price hit €2.32/kg. This price is up 11c/kg on the week. Better-quality heifers saw a 5c/kg rise on the week to settle at €2.52/kg.
As numbers of cattle fit for slaughter are getting tight, the lesser-quality animals are seeing the biggest increases, with the bottom third of 600kg-plus heifers rising by 17c/kg on the week to settle at an impressive €2.10/kg.
With Northern Ireland and British factory trade a lot stronger, southern buyers are having to bid higher in marts to be able to compete.
Prices for heifers weighing 600kg-plus saw the average price hit €2.32/kg
With better-quality fed heifers averaging over €2.50/kg, sellers would need to be achieving €4.50 at the factory to break even. This means the mart remains the best place to go for those with lower numbers and bargaining power to achieve their true value.
While the increases for fed steers wasn’t as much, prices are still well up. Steers of 600kg-plus sold for an average price of €2.23/kg. This price increased to €2.41/kg for better-quality lots. Again, working off a 55% kill-out, those with better-quality steers fit for slaughter would need to achieve nearly €4.40/kg at the factory to remain on par with mart trade.
Short-keep lots saw slight increases, with the average resting around the €2.25/kg mark and edging closer to €2.50/kg for better-quality lots.
Steers and heifers suitable for grass feeding throughout the summer also saw marginal increases, with higher numbers heading for the marts. Stock under 500kg saw the average hover around the €2.25/kg to €2.30/kg mark, with a premium of up to 30c/kg for quality.
While the increases for fed steers wasn’t as much, prices are still well up
Lighter stock remains in high demand, with heifers demanding a premium of 15c/kg on steers. Overall, good-quality steers and heifers sold from €2.55/kg to €2.65/kg. First-cross Angus and Hereford stock sub-400kg for grass feeding are in hot demand, selling close to €2.50/kg for select lots.
Dry cow numbers have eased, but the demand from factory agents and northern buyers is keeping prices high.
Well-made continental-type cows with adequate flesh is the northern buyer’s choice, but southern agents are driving this type of animal over the €2/kg mark, with up to €2.20/kg available for younger animals.
Dairy-bred stock are still generally over the €1.50/kg mark, with over €1.60/kg and more available for those carrying more flesh.
Weanling bulls and heifers had a tougher week than other categories, but are still working off a very high base.
Animals sub-300kg are hitting an average price of €2.65/kg, with better-quality lots surpassing €3/kg. As the weights move up, the price moves down, but better-quality lots between 300kg and 400kg are still hitting impressive averages of over €2.80/kg.
Weanling heifers in excess of 400kg saw a rise of 4c/kg on the week to settle at €2.45/kg. Their male comrades of the same weight saw average price drop by 5c/kg on the week to level at €2.37/kg.