The mood around rings remains buoyant this week, as evident from the clearance rates at sales, with the MartBids database recording a 94.3% clearance rate across all mart sales over the past seven days.
Boosting this is the increased presence once again of factory buyers, who are hoovering up whatever factory-fit stock they can.
This is most noticeable for heavier heifers and bullocks at the top end of the trade, with those weighing over 600kg up on the week by 2c/kg to 5c/kg or by €12/head to €15/head.
Feedlot buyers are also more active in recent days, especially for Angus-type stock and good-quality short-keep continental types.
Lighter grazing-type heifers from 400kg to 500kg are that bit easier bought this week, probably somewhat affected by grass growth issues in the south and southeast.
It sees the average price for cattle in this category making €2.45/kg, while the top third averaged €2.83/kg.
Heifers weighing between 500kg and 600kg are similar or up slightly on the last week, but it is at heavier weights where the biggest demand remains.
Speaking to Elphin Mart manager Kevin Caslin on Wednesday after its bullock and heifer sale, he said that factory agents were active on the day and that it seemed to be that “the heavier, the better” for these buyers.
With a number of special breeding heifer sales in the coming weeks, such as in Elphin next Wednesday 31 August, it is likely to boost the weekly average heifer prices in these weight categories over the next number of weeks.
Big numbers of bullocks from 400kg to 500kg are appearing in sales at the moment, but demand remains firm at an average price of €2.34/kg, up slightly on last week.
Heavier bullocks are making more per kilo than grazing types, with the average price of a 500kg to 600kg steer sitting at €2.50/kg this week.
The top third of stock are still motoring along nicely at €2.87/kg, which is the same price being achieved by the top third of bullocks over 600kg this week as well.
Weanling numbers are starting to build, but overall numbers are relatively small. Encouragingly, the trade seems to be lifting as numbers increase.
Weanling bulls had another positive week of trading, with prices up almost across the board by 12c/kg to 20c/kg on average.
The only blot on the copybook this week is for the bottom third of bull weanlings weighing between 200kg and 300kg and for the 450kg-plus bull weanling, back 7c/kg this week, but, coming off the back of a near-30c/kg rise last week, trade remains positive.
Cows are up slightly again this week by about 2c/kg to 4c/kg on most cow types.
Top-quality suckler cows are still making €2.60/kg to €2.80/kg, while decent-quality suckler cows carrying flesh are making €2.50/kg. On the dairy side, the top of the cow trade is seeing prices of €2.30/kg, while feeding cows are ranging from €1.30/kg to €1.80/kg.