Numbers of weanlings going through marts continue to increase as we head deeper into October.

With the numbers gone through the marts across the country since late July, some mart managers are expecting a quieter than normal November.

These strong numbers are being met with good prices. Across the sections, they are generally staying stable or increasing on the week.

Bull weanlings

The most common group of bull weanlings continue to be 300kg to 400kg and while prices did see a drop across all quality types for this weight this week, they remain well up on previous years.

The top third of bull weanling lots sold between 300kg and 400kg this week stood at €2.90/kg, which is 25c higher than the same week of 2020. This would be the equivalent of up to €100 a head higher than last year.

Trends are still showing a strong demand for that heavier bull weanling. Some marts have reported that professional finishers are looking to young bulls as a quick turnaround to have throughput ready for factories in early spring.

Small numbers

This will give beef finishers some reassurance of what lays in store, as many of these professional finishers would have contracts in hand and quotas to fill.

This demand resulted in average for bull weanlings weighing 450kg-plus rising by 23c/kg on the week to settle at €2.33/kg. As it stands, this average is a massive 40c/kg higher then this time last year, but it needs to be remembered this is for small numbers.

On the other end of the spectrum, bull weanlings sub-300kg also saw a boost this week. While this section would include lighter high-muscled young weanlings, a large portion of these cattle would also be dairy beef-sired calves from the spring, or runners as they are also called.

While the real high-end quality lots saw the average price increase by 5c/kg, so too did the bottom third of lots.

These figures are in line with mart manager reports stating strong demand for that Angus and Hereford runner. These runner lots would need the full next summer on grass, so confidence remains very high in the sector.

Heifer weanlings

Heifer weanlings are running similar to their bull comrades across the weight divisions.

However, as highlighted last week, the most common weight category for heifers continues to be that 200kg to 300kg animal.

Here, prices took a hit of 12c/kg on the week, but with that, remain only 2c/kg behind that of their bull comrades. In comparison to last year’s sales, this average is 18c/kg higher.

Prices across the other weights remained unchanged or saw an increase, but numbers of heifers past 400kg remain quite small now.

The trade for older store heifers saw a slight drop across the weight categories. However, this was still coming off a high week, meaning average remains on par with heavier bullocks.

Better-quality heifer lots saw a noticeable change, with some lots weighing 500kg-plus dropping by as much as 20c/kg.

This means that across store weights, bullocks are generally about 10c/kg higher than heifers. As weights surpass 600kg, heifers and bullocks begin to even up on price again.