Marts remain the place to go for farmers who don’t have the numbers for bargaining. As highlighted last week, prices are up close to €100/head on the year for factory-fit steers and heifers.
On the fit heifer front, prices jumped another 7c/kg on the week.
This means heifers weighing 600kg plus sold through the mart averaged at €2.28/kg. This is the equivalent to a €4.15/kg factory base price, 30c/kg higher than the current base price being paid.
Better-quality heifers of 600kg plus increased by a massive 16c/kg on the week as numbers of these forward dropped significantly. This resulted in an average price of €2.57/kg for the top third of lots sold. At a 55% kill-out, that would be the same as a factory price of €4.67/kg.
The average price for steers of 600kg plus at marts this week settled at €2.17/kg
While steers are more plentiful than heifers, supplies are still tightening. The bullock prce at marts generally rose by 1c/kg across the quality types, but this is off an incredibly strong base.
The average price for steers of 600kg plus at marts this week settled at €2.17/kg, with the average for the top third of lots resting at €2.38/kg. Again, working off an average kill-out of 55%, mart prices for average steers is the equivalent of €3.95/kg at the factory, moving up to €4.33/kg for better-quality lots.
Heifers under 400kg defied this trend, with prices rising by a further 11c/kg on the week
Prices for lighter store stock eased back on the week as numbers of grass cattle are becoming more plentiful. That said, averages are still hitting close to and above a €2.20/kg average, which continues to be €40 to €60 up on the same period last year.
Heifers under 400kg defied this trend, with prices rising by a further 11c/kg on the week. The upper end of these lots increased by a massive 18c/kg on the week, resulting in stock being up a further €60 on the year.
Dry cow numbers are starting to drop drastically in marts and prices are starting to edge up. The main buyers continue to be factory agents and specialised finishers who are having to buy high to secure lots. This week, average cull cow prices are at a massive €1.62/kg, up 5c/kg on the week.
With agents unable to get desired numbers, base prices at factories moved up by 5c/kg on the week also
Where last autumn trade for the bottom third of lots sold was hitting around the €1/kg mark, now we are seeing this average at an impressive €1.34/kg.
This tightening of supply at marts is playing its part on factory prices too.
With agents unable to get desired numbers, base prices at factories moved up by 5c/kg on the week also. This means that P grading cows in some factories are now achieving €3.15/kg.
Much of this tightening in supplies is down to main factory players in the market being very active in marts around the country over the past few weeks. Securing lots and sending for direct slaughter the following day.
Weanling heifers are continuing to show upward movement. Last week weanlings showed an increase of €10 per 100kg liveweight on the same period last week. In some cases, for heifers this doubled over the past week. The lighter animal again proved in highest demand, with heifers under 300kg rising by 14c/kg to settle at €2.72.
The better-quality lots in this range rose by 12c/kg to rest at a staggering €3.15/kg average.
Bull weanlings were a bit more variable but the better-quality lots still demanded premium prices, with high-quality lots under 400kg rising by 4c/kg on the week.