The mart trade remains in a very positive position this week, with the MartBids analysis table dominated by green arrows - always a good sign of the trade.
The majority of red arrows this week are for heavy cattle and store cattle, which shows a little tempering of the trade over the last seven days.
The weanling export trade is probably the highlight of the trade at the moment, with real healthy competition around mart rings this week.
Weanling bulls are the highlight of the trade this week, with 200kg to 300kg light weanling bulls hitting €3.92/kg, one of the highest prices we have seen in the last few years.
This was up a massive 18c/kg on last week’s trading.
The top-quality bull weanlings in the 300kg to 400kg bracket also took a big lift, up 19c/kg to €3.81/kg.
Farmer buyers are becoming increasingly scarce at these prices, with exporters driving the trade.
The export outlook remains very positive, with a number of middle eastern customers visiting a number of exporters’ yards last week.
Average-quality bull weanlings also saw a big lift in price, with the 200kg to 300kg weanlings up at €3.30/kg, up 19c/kg on last week’s trading. Heavy bulls over 450kg were a little easier bought this week, seeing a decline of between 9c and 28c/kg depending on quality.
Light weanlings heifers, while not hitting the dizzy heights of the bulls, also had a good week in the ring.
Heifer weanlings in the popular 300kg to 400kg weight bracket sold for €3.65/kg for the best-quality category, a lift of 15c/kg on the previous week’s trading.
Lighter heifer weanlings in the average- and poorer-quality categories also saw improvements this week.
Lighter bullocks and heifers were also the highlight of the trade in the older cattle categories this week, with heavier cattle back a little on last week’s trading.
Store cattle around the 400kg mark - or “grass cattle” as some would refer to them as - saw the biggest lift, up between 3c and 18c/kg, with the biggest improvement coming in the 400kg to 500kg top-quality bullock category.
The best value of all at the moment is suckler cows with calves at foot.
I have heard of a number of cow-and-calf outfits being sold for €1,500 to €1,800 this week.
At current cull cow prices, the cow would likely make more in the dry cow ring without the calf.
Some astute buyers are purchasing the outfits with a view to an early wean come the end of the summer, fatten the cow off grass and keep the weanling.
Top-quality suckler outfits are still making great money, but plainer outfits are easier bought.
During the week ending 19 March, there were 15,861 cattle exported out of the country, taking total cattle exports for the year to date to 91,285 head.
This is an increase of almost 15,000 (+19%) from the corresponding period in 2022 and has been driven primarily by an uplift in the number of calves being traded with customers in mainland Europe.