Ringside buying at mart could boost trade for lighter store cattle – Brian Hogan

Over 350 cattle on offer last Tuesday, (November 24) in Athenry Mart weekly sales – as dry cows along with  bullocks and heifers were brought forward for sale.

AgriLand got in touch with the mart’s manager, Brian Hogan, earlier this week to get his thoughts on the trade and how farmers are coping with online trading. He stated:

“Overall the trade was good this week. Cattle are getting scarce for the factories at the minute and we are seeing factory agents actively seeking those short-keep forward cattle.

“With the demand that is out there I suppose some farmers are wondering why prices in factories [haven’t] lifted up by 20c/kg this week, but that just doesn’t happen unfortunately.

“This week we are seeing farmers actively seeking to get back around the ring to buy cattle. This might see an improved trade for the lighter store cattle weighing around 450kg – with more numbers coming out from some farmers who simply don’t believe in the online trading.

“If farmers are let back around the ring, we could see a big rise in stock numbers at the mart for the last few weeks of sales.”

Out-of-spec cattle

Brian went on to highlight how some cattle that would be out-of-spec in the factories have been trading particularly well in recent times in the Athenry. He explained:

Look there are great positives to the online trading too because we are seeing farmers with out-of-spec and overage cattle getting well paid for them in recent weeks.

“I saw five Aberdeen Angus bullocks going through the ring last week and they were weight 823kg and selling for €1,640 or €1.99/kg. There was another pen of bullocks that were born in the mid-summer of 2017, weighing 670kg, and sold for €1,630 or €2.43/kg.

“In a normal sale farmers or agents would be discounting them because they are overweight or overage and might not achieve higher than an O-grade.

“The northern buyer is another major boost to the trade for heavy cattle at the minute, we are lucky to have a good relationship built up with northern customers,” Brian added.

Cattle Trade

Dry cows sold well last Tuesday according to Brian, as heavy cows weighing over 600kg sold from €2.10/kg and back to €1.00/kg. While lighter cows weighing between 400kg to 500kg ranged from €1.85/kg to €0.79/kg.

Sample cow prices:

  • Charolais: 585kg – €1,200 or €2.05/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 580kg – €1,110 or €1.91/kg;
  • Limousin: 565kg – €1,180 or €2.08/kg;
  • Angus: 520kg – €900 or €1.73/kg;
  • Friesian: 500kg – €650 or €1.30/kg.

The store bullocks weighing in at 400-500kg, sold to an average of €2.15/kg. With more forward bullocks weighing over 500kg selling from €1.57/kg up to €2.32/kg.

Sample bullock prices:

  • Charolais: 640kg – €1,350 or €2.10/kg;
  • Limousin: 620kg – €1,290 or €2.08/kg;
  • Simmental: 615kg – €1,210 or €1.96/kg;
  • Limousin: 580kg – €1,190 or €2.05/kg;
  • Hereford: 470kg – €910 or €1.93/kg;
  • Charolais: 410kg – €980 or €2.39/kg;
  • Angus: 440kg – €840 or €1.90/kg.

Heifers weighing from 500-600kg sold for an average of €2.07/kg. While the lighter store heifers traded from €1.78/kg up to €2.37/kg.

Sample heifer prices:

  • Angus: 655kg – €1,220 or €1.86/kg;
  • Charolais: 645kg – €1,440 or €2.23/kg;
  • Friesian: 605kg – €1,050 or €1.73/kg;
  • Limousin: 550kg – €1,260 or €2.29/kg;
  • Angus: 540kg – €1,080 or €2.00/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 525kg – €1,140 or €2.17/kg;
  • Limousin: 460kg – €1,040 or €2.26/kg.