After a number of weeks of increases, last week’s mart trade eased a little on the back of a little less demand.

Another weather forecast of rain and unsettled conditions had put a dampener on grass buyers, with many holding off until ground conditions improve.

Some grass buyers had been very active in the last few weeks filling sheds in anticipation of an upturn in the weather in early April facilitating the turnout of stock.

This upturn now looks likely to be moving out to mid-April at best, so, with sheds full, tanks full and silage pits coming close to empty, some of these operators have opted out of the market until the pressure comes off.

While farmer buyers and grass buyers are a little cautious, the opposite could be said for the live export trade, with mini wars breaking out in rings all across the country for 300kg to 400kg weanling bulls, a much sought-after commodity at the moment for the live export trade.

It’s really this live export trade that is holding the trade for weanlings where it is at the moment.

All eyes are on the weather at the moment and what effect grass buyers will have on the trade when the weather does improve. For now, most buyers are adopting the wait and see approach.

Heavy heifers were one of the few stock categories that saw an improvement in prices this week. Heavy heifers over 600kg in the top-quality category came in at €3.25/kg this week, an improvement of 8c/kg on the previous week.

Heavy bullocks came in at a similar price to last week, with bullocks over 600kg in the top-quality category coming in at €3.20/kg, a reduction of 2c/kg on the previous week.

Taking a look back at the cattle trade for the same week in 2023, the trade isn’t that different.

Weanling bulls across all categories are a remarkably similar trade to last year.

Top-quality weanling bulls in the 300kg to 400kg weight category came in at €3.80/kg for the last week of March in 2023 and this week are trading at €3.80/kg.

Average-quality bulls are also the same, coming in at €3.32/kg last year and €3.31/kg this year.

The weanling heifer trade has improved to the tune of 10c to 20c/kg when compared with the same week in 2023.

In the bullock and heifer rings, things are at a similar standing to where they were at this stage in 2023.

Martbids data

Taking a look at this week’s Martbids analysis table, it’s the weanling heifer rings that were this week’s highlight.

Weanling heifer prices were up right across the board, with top-quality weanling heifers in the 300kg to 400kg weight category coming in at €3.68/kg this week.

Even lower-quality weanling heifers saw a lift in price this week, with dairy-crosses coming in at €2.77/kg in the 300kg to 400kg weight category.

The weanling bull trade came in pretty solid, with most categories on a similar trade to last week. Top-quality heavy bulls over 450kg came in at €3.59/kg this week or €1,615/head for a 450kg bull weanling.