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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Weanlings: How are prices fairing out and should I sell in pairs?

That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane speaks to Keith Fahy (KF), B &T Drystock Advisor Teagasc Galway/Clare. In the second part of a comprehensive interview, we discuss gauging the market value of weanlings, beef prices, and selling in pairs.

TF: How can farmers gauge the market values of their weanlings?

KF: The market for weanlings is quite strong at the minute, with a good demand for good quality stock.

Higher beef prices may also drive prices as farmers finishing cattle receive more than they did this time last year.

The current base beef price is sitting around the €4.20/kg mark. However, if we look at the graph below from Bord Bia’s website, we can see over 50c/kg more being paid than the same week last year.

Bord Bia's outlook on beef prices in Ireland for remainder of 2021.

Looking at a 300kg carcass that equates to €150 more per animal. However, inputs have also increased with ration trading over €300/tonne and reports of certain types of chemical fertilisers trading at over €500/tonne.

What is your outlook for weanlings this back-end?

According to Bord Bia, the outlook looks quite good for beef for the remainder of the year.

The state agency is predicting the overall total kill to be back by 110,000 head on last year or 6.2% at a predicted 1.69 million cattle to be slaughtered this year.

With the increase in beef price and lower numbers of prime finished cattle, one would have to presume that the outlook for weanlings looks to be good for the next few months.

TF: Would you recommend selling weanlings in pairs?

KF: A question that sometimes comes up is: should I sell my cattle in pairs? It is a question that can be hard to answer.

Farmers, if pairing cattle correctly, can benefit where certain buyers want to buy comrade cattle from the same holding.

However, it is vital when pairing cattle that you do so correctly, i.e. cattle of similar weight, breed, and even colour.

From looking at some online sales in the last few weeks, you can notice that certain coloured animals are attracting better prices than others.

There seems to be a massive demand for roan-coloured females at the moment. In Gort Mart recently, a super quality roan yearling heifer sold for €4,800 at 430kg.

TF: How are weanling prices fairing out elsewhere so far?

KF: Weanling prices to date are up on last week, and according to MartBids’ database, weanling heifers are up 12c/kg on last week to €2.66/kg for those in the 300 to 400kg bracket.

Weanlings bulls of the same weight range are also up 9c/kg at €2.56/kg. In terms of mart prices, I recently attended a weanling sale at Headford Mart, which now operates on Friday evenings.

A few of the sample prices for weanling bulls were as follows 315kg – CHX – €860; 270kg –  LMX – €830; 305kg – CHX – €830.

Heifer prices were as follows: 356kg – LMX – €850; 250kg – LMX – €740.

Tuam Mart also reported on a recent sale where they saw heavier-type weanlings commanding a prime price.

They reported some of the following sample prices for bulls as follows: LMX – 405kg – €1070; CHX – 430kg – €1190.

Besides, a LMX heifer weighing 315kg sold for €910 and another LMX weighing 380kg sold for €1050.

Further reading:

In the first part of this interview, we discussed preparing weanlings for sale: vaccinating, meal feeding and stress-feeding weaning options. Read this article.

To share your story, photos and/or videos, email – [email protected]

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