Last week’s analysis of the MartBids Database reported almost across-the-board price rises for weanling bulls and heifers.
The good news this week is that weanling heifers have remained stable and even strengthened slightly over the past seven days.
However, the gains made last week for weanling bulls have diminished this week, especially for bulls in the lighter weight bands.
Throughput numbers continue to fall, with 7% fewer animals traded through marts this week compared with last.
Where this is very evident is in the weanling sales ring. With small numbers comes greater variation in average prices week to week.
Speaking to a number of mart managers this week and reflecting on the weanling trade this autumn, the overall story was positive, especially early on in the season, which seemed to coax out a lot of sellers slightly earlier than usual, as buyers were willing to pay that bit more as a result of a decent grass supply available on farms throughout September and into October.
However, almost all commented on the widening price differential between that top-quality animal and the second-grade weanling. This resulted in some weanling producers who had read mart reports but had not had time to spend ringside being disappointed on the day of sale, with some opting to take stock home for another day.
Even still, there is a price differential of between €130/head to €150/head between the top third and average weanling prices.
Store bullock prices are relatively stable this week, with the bottom third of cattle actually seeing some price increases over the past seven days, with an average increase of over 4c/kg. This usually happens when numbers begin to get tight.
The average price for a 500kg to 600kg bullock remained similar to last week at €2.21/kg, while heavier bullocks over 600kg remain at an average price of €2.26/kg.
Averages for the top third of bullocks remain strong around the €2.50/kg to €2.55kg mark across the board and with beef prices increasing by 5c/kg this week, confidence should remain high over the coming weeks.
Looking at the MartBids data, the average price for heifers has eased slightly this week, but within last week’s figures were a number of special breeding and in-calf heifer sales that would have boosted the overall averages.
Good demand remains for top-quality cattle. However, there still remains some value in the market for buyers of plainer-type cattle.
Cull cow prices are up ever so slightly on the week. Marts in dairy country are reporting larger numbers of cows coming forward for sale.
Decent-quality Friesian cows carrying some flesh are moving from €1.50/kg to €1.70/kg at the top end, while the general run was between €1.15/kg and €1.30/kg.
Older, thinner types or Jersey crossbreds were trading from €0.65/kg to €0.80/kg for the most part.
Decent conformation and well-fleshed suckler-bred cull cows continue to make in and around the €2/kg mark and more in some instances.