Much of the southern half of the country was holding out for the rain we have experienced over the past couple of days.
Land was very dry for the end of April, with little or no grass growth in many places for the latter half of the month.
The rain we have received is very welcome, but the cold spell with it not so much.
While this would usually have a marked effect on cattle trade in marts, prices seem to be holding firm the past week, with only minimal change both positively and negatively.
Fed steers hitting 600kg-plus saw a minor increase on average settling at €2.28/kg. This is up 1c/kg on the week, with better-quality lots seeing a boost of 2c/kg on the week to settle at €2.49/kg.
Heifers of the same weight saw a decline of 5c/kg on the week on that better-quality lot, whereas a constant trade for the lesser-type animal helped to keep overall average at €2.27/kg.
This average is back 2c/kg on the week, but is a mere 1c/kg deferential on their steer comrades.
Short-keep stock of 500kg to 600kg in weight are also reducing in numbers
With factories still anxious for cattle, it’s likely these types of stock will remain in demand and possibly increase again throughout the coming weeks.
With most shed cattle now killed, these numbers could get even tighter in the weeks to come, so factory agents continue to be on the lookout for fed stock.
Short-keep stock of 500kg to 600kg in weight are also reducing in numbers, as marts have been paying sellers well over the last few months.
This demand has kept prices high, with a similar trade on previous weeks or slight increases.
Steers in this weight limit averaged €2.24/kg, with heifers up 4c/kg on this price. Better-quality lots of both bullocks and heifers saw no change on the week and continue to hover around that €2.50/kg mark.
Steers exceeding 400kg compared on par with last week’s data, with heifers rising by 1c to 2c/kg
Lesser-quality lots again hit the €2/kg mark for steers and €2.07/kg for heifers.
Perhaps the most affected by the grass growth is the store trade, but, again, looking over the figures, it’s only the lightest of these stock that’s affected.
Steers exceeding 400kg compared on par with last week’s data, with heifers rising by 1c to 2c/kg.
However, cattle under 400kg saw a 7c/kg drop for steers to average €2.17/kg. While this drop wasn’t as severe for the heifers, which dropped by 3c/kg, it’s still a move in the wrong direction.
Weanling numbers have been dropping consistently over the past number of weeks, as the last of the late-spring 2020 cattle get offered for sale.
Weanling bulls rose by a further 5c/kg on the week to settle at €2.68/kg
While a number of early autumn-born weanlings are still being offered for sale, numbers are expected to continue to drop.
Most noticeable in the numbers drop was the amount of heavier heifers forward. That said, with the reduction in numbers, prices are proving strong.
Unlike the stores, light weanlings continue to be in highest demand.
Weanling bulls rose by a further 5c/kg on the week to settle at €2.68/kg.
With heifers seeing a 3c rise on the week, it meant that average was on par with the males at €2.68. These averages again surpassed the €3/kg mark for the top third of lots for both weanling bulls and heifers.