Cattle throughput at marts for the closing days of July has remained strong. Mart managers are saying, in general, cattle numbers for the entire month are up around 50% on the year.
Some people opted to head to the mart earlier than usual, as the fear of drought with the exceptional spell of weather lay in their mind.
That said, the thunder showers experienced in most parts early this week will reduce any further grass growth stress and push off that idea for another few weeks.
These extra numbers didn’t seem to be affecting trade, with only minor changes on store cattle over the past four weeks.
Heifers sub-500kg rose by 3c/kg on the week, with average staying consistently around the €2.30/kg mark. This is around 20c/kg up on the same week last year, or €70 to €100/head.
It is a similar story with steers, as prices are up slightly on the week, but generally about 5c/kg back on their heifer comrades.
While back on their heifer comrades, the average of around €2.25/kg is up 25c/kg on the year, meaning the difference per head is even higher at €75 to €125.
In general, despite the big increase in throughput at marts, the overall average for heifers and bullocks sold this year is the same as the average for the top third of lots sold last year was.
The top third of lots this year are in the region of 25c to 30c higher than this average.
The increase per head on fed cattle is much greater given the added weight difference.
Looking back at the same week in 2020, we see that bullocks of 600kg-plus averaged €2.01/kg, while heifers of the same weight averaged €2.12/kg.
In comparison, bullocks this year averaged €2.27/kg and heifers €2.34/kg.
For bullocks, this stands as a 26c differential on the year, or a massive €156 per head for a 600kg animal or €182 per head on a 700kg animal.
Similarly, for heifers, this is an increase of 23c on the year or €138 to €161 price difference per head.
The difference for fed cull cows isn’t as high, but prices for the top third of lots sold increased by 18c or the equivalent of nearly €120 per head on an average 650kg cow.
While it was predicted to see a big surge in weanling numbers at marts in July due to the strong prices, this didn’t come into fruition too much, with only a slight increase early in the month. That said, anything that did sell, sold well.
Weanling bulls in the most common bracket from 300kg to 400kg are up 18c/kg on the year.
This difference is even higher when compared with 2019 levels, with a 32c/kg difference.
This is a price increase of €96 to €128 per head in the last two years.
Heifer numbers were smaller, but still supplied significant data.
Here, we see prices rose by 19c/kg on the year and 31c/kg on 2019 figures.
This would lead to a similar price increase per head as their bull comrades.
Early heavier weanling bulls saw the biggest increase, with 23c/kg the difference between this year and last year, increasing to 41c/kg on two years ago.