An abundance of confidence ringside

Over the past number of weeks, the mart trade has performed very well, with strong prices achieved right across the board.

In the fit for slaughter category, factory agents are driving the trade as they try and secure suitable lots to satisfy factory demand.

As of late, marts have experienced a influx of stock – many of which are being presented for sale in the west and north of the country as a result of deteriorating ground conditions brought on by wet weather.

Gerry Connellan of Elphin Mart told me that they have never witnessed such numbers at the start of August as they have this year, noting that weather is a major factor.

While extreme confidence has been witnessed ringside for the past couple of weeks, the larger numbers earlier than expected could be attributed to farmer concern in relation to a second wave of the coronavirus.

This could also be the case for the buyer, as they stock up before the unwanted event of mart trade disruption.

Many will argue that larger offerings of animals is simply down to the higher prices available and farmers don’t want to miss the chance to cash-in if prices were to fall somewhat.

Higher numbers normally contribute to downward price pressure; however, quite the opposite is happening. Mart managers have noted that steer and heifer prices are plus 30c/kg higher than the comparable period in 2019.

The cow trade is and has been performing well also. This has been underpinned by a strong demand from Northern Irish buyers, with Gerry Connellan noting that they have been present in the west sourcing cows and weanlings.

David Quinn from Carnew Mart shared the same experience highlighting that buyers from north of the border had been present last weekend in search of stores and beef lots.

It might be just a little early for the weanling autumn trade, but where sales have commenced, prices are said to be strong – as would be expected with smaller numbers on offer.

As we move into the autumn, we will be able to gauge how the trade will perform – a trade for weanling bulls like in the autumn of 2019 will be welcomed.

This 370kg, March-2019 born, Charolais bull sold for €1,070 or €2.89/kg in Gort Mart last September

I recall standing around the weanling bull ring in Gort Mart late last September, where the trade – for the quality lots on offer – could only be described as on fire – driven by a strong export demand, which saw these buyers claim 30% of the bulls on offer that night.

In the case of calves, numbers presented for sale have dwindled as expected. George Candler of Kilkenny Mart said that 40 calves passed through the ring at Cillín Hill this week, with a good trade despite rather low entries.