Thursday's mart in Kilkenny attracted 1,000 head of cattle

Bull calves peaked at €310

Thursday's mart in Kilkenny attracted  1,000 head of cattle

If you’ve sheep to sell at the moment your in luck because numbers are scarce and demand is good.
So on Monday those with quality hoggets were securing up to €152 with cull ewes also in demand with a peak price of €159.
Spring lambs ranged from €120 to €135 per head and once again numbers were in short supply.
Due to the poor weather and continuing rain, thrive for lambs will be slow so it is possible that prices will remain firm until late May or early June.
On the cattle front last Thursday’s sale attracted over 1,000 head with trade a bit tougher especially for light, plainer store types.
As usual in the last few weeks, Continentals are in demand and due to the demise of the suckler herd numbers coming forward are scarce.
These better types are ranging from €2.30 to €2.80 per kilo with exceptional lots breaking the €3.00 per kilo.
Plainer types especially Friesians, AA and Hereford are more difficult to sell with poor ground conditions and grass scarcity been the main reason for the lack of enthusiasm been shown by potential buyers.
The best sellers are the forward store types due to the short keep on these animals.
Cull cows are still meeting a good demand with over 130 on offer last Thursday with a 100% clearance.
It demonstrates the power of your local mart over the factories.
A lot of the news feeds this week are reporting on the approval of beef exports to China a potential huge market.
We already have an excellent dairy trade with this country so the opening of markets for beef is to be welcomed.
Perhaps I am being over cautious but as yet I would not start counting chickens and presuming that this approval of beef will lift prices for the primary producer.
If shipping to China, products would take about six weeks to complete the journey and only limited product can go by air.
When the American market opened up to Irish beef it was welcomed with a fanfare and suggestions that farmers would benefit, unfortunately this did not happen.
Hopefully on this occasion we may see some benefit as new markets are badly needed due to the uncertainty of Brexit and what negative effect that may have for the cattle producer.
Our calf numbers are remaining in the 350 to 400 region with the trade been helped by the presents of 4 exporters and farmer buyers.
It was noticeable last Tuesday that shipping type calves increased by €10 to €20 per head on the previous week’s trading. Continental bulls peaked at €430 with heifers to €320 per head.
Traditional breeds saw bulls peak at €310 with heifers to atop of €280 per head.
In the Friesian sector the bulk of bulls ranged from €80 to €150 per head with the exceptional lot to €200.
Remember if you are selling cattle entries close at 4pm on the previous Wednesday with calf entries been taken up to 4pm on Mondays.
In next week’s column I will give a run down of prices achieved at Kilkenny Agricultural Society’s April bull sale which takes place this Wednesday.
We may be competitors but hopefully Carrick on Suir Mart will be able to recover from the fire that damaged a lot of their premises last Monday night .
Until next week do be careful on the farm as things get busier. Until next week, good buying, good selling and good luck.

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