Factory agents and northern buyers continue to drive fed steers and heifers, with demand equally as strong for forward cull cows.
This, coupled with strong demand from grass farmers for store cattle, means that cattle prices for all sections are up.
These incredibly strong prices mean that farmers’ confidence in marts, in a time when stock throughput is normally quite low, is at an all-time high.
This confidence is leading to many with autumn and early spring weanlings hitting marts four to six weeks earlier than other years.
These weanlings are being met with a super trade, with lighter weanlings hitting over €1,000 with ease and some heavy lots at special sales hitting close to €1,500 per head.
On analysis of Irish Farmers Journal Martbids data, we can see that stock numbers at marts are up close to 50% on the same week of 2020.
Despite increased numbers week on week, we are seeing constant increases on an already high base
This message is being loudly echoed by mart managers who are reporting record throughput for the month of July.
Some bigger marts have been quoted in saying throughput is over 1,000 per week, near double of what is usually seen for this time of year.
Despite increased numbers week on week, we are seeing constant increases on an already high base.
Dry cows across the country are proving exceptionally strong still, with over €2,000 achieved again this week at many marts.
This is largely driven by factory agents and northern buying having bidding wars for younger, muscular continental cows suitable for direct killing.
Looking at heifers weighing 600kg-plus, prices rose by 22c/kg to settle at €2.31/kg
The top third of dry cow lots sold this week averaged at €2.14/kg, with all dry cows averaging at €1.78/kg.
Similarly, prices for fed bullocks and heifers saw a stark increase on the week.
Looking at heifers weighing 600kg-plus, prices rose by 22c/kg to settle at €2.31/kg.
Better-quality lots achieving this weight saw a slight decrease on the week, but still had an average of just shy of €2.60/kg.
Bullocks of the same weight rose by 17c/kg to settle at €2.28/kg. Better-quality lots in this weight category, similar to the heifers, saw a drop on the week. This drop was significant enough at 8c/kg, but the average remains at a massive €2.53/kg.
Heifers didn’t see as substantial an increase on some categories, but the majority of lots saw a price rise
Prices are up a massive 35c/kg on the week, meaning good-quality fed steers and heifers are up from €210 to €250 a head on 12 months previous.
All store types of bullocks saw prices rise by 1c to 6c per kilo on the week.
Heifers didn’t see as substantial an increase on some categories, but the majority of lots saw a price rise.
Numbers of early autumn weanlings have really started to take off and with this demand in thriving.
Bulls in particular have performed very well, seeing significant rising on the week.
In the most heavily populated category, bulls weighing 300kg to 400kg, average prices rose by 7c/kg on the week to settle at €2.62/kg.
This rose to just shy of €3/kg for better-quality males in the same weight, a rise of 10c on the week.
Heifer weanling trade is seeing high prices, but not as regularly as the males.
However, numbers of forward heifer weanlings are in short supply.