20 May 2022

First taste of winter on Kilkenny farms


File pic

On Tuesday morning we experienced the first taste of winter with a covering of frost which no doubt will restrict the great grass growth farmers have been experiencing up to now.

The wet weather of the past 10 days has also meant that animals had to be removed from heavy ground to stop poaching. I did a bit of driving last week and it was noticeable how green the fields were considering it was late October. I know you might be fed up with me mentioning weather often in these articles but the fact is to all farmers it a very important factor which dictates feeding regime in the months ahead.

Sheep Sale
The sheep trade on Monday was on fire with 39 kilo making €118 with 54 kilo to €159. It has been a terrific year for sheep producers with those who have stuck to sheep farming being well rewarded.
Compared to last year, butcher lambs are €28 to €35 ahead of last year’s returns with factory types experiencing the same good fortune.

Perhaps it is in the store sector we see the most noticeable increase with 39 kilo last year ranging from €84 to €90 with the similar type lamb this year peaking at €119 back to €104. Nobody begrudges the good returns that sheep farmers are now experiencing as it is a tough job with a lot of hard work for those involved in this sector of farming. Even allowing for the increase in returns there are not many farmers queuing up to return to sheep farming.
Remember, our sheep sale takes place every Monday at 10.15am.

Cattle Sale
Thursday’s cattle sale continues to attract good numbers with over 1100 on offer. Trade remains strong for the quality lots especially those sourced from the suckler herd.
The bulk of the top notch bullocks and heifers are ranging from €2.35 to €2.70 per kilo with the €3 per kilo being breached on a number of occasions.

Lesser bullocks and heifers were more difficult to get away with many showing effects of the wet weather. The price of cull cows has also seen a reduction in quotes by factories which is being observed ringside, especially for the thin cow just out of the parlour.
Remember, all cattle should be entered before 3.30pm on the Wednesday before.

Our weanling sales are still taking place every Tuesday at 11am in Ring 2. Quality heifers are selling very well, in fact it’s been the top sector price wise for weanlings with the bulk ranging from €2.20 to €2.70 per kilo with the odd top quality lot exceeding €3 per kilo.

The bull and bullock weanlings are also selling well with prices similar to their heifer counterparts.
Next Tuesday we will be holding a special suckler sale in conjunction with our weanling sale with a 1pm suggest start. This is an entire herd well worth looking at if you are a potential customer.

Climate change
Next week I will explore further the future of farming in this small country of ours especially, with all the happenings re climate change and this weeks COP 26 meeting in Glasgow. A factor we should not forget is that the world population is expanding and they will all need food too , so perhaps we here in Ireland can produce it in a much greener fashion than anywhere in the world.
Until next week do be careful on the farm and good buying, good selling and good luck.

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