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Age and movement rules hit cattle trade






Martin Coughlan

The negative effect that age profiling and the four movements rule are having on trade is plain to be seen at marts this week.

Despite
the fact that farmers, mart managers and factory agents, agree that
both the four-movement rule, and the restricting of quality
payments to under 30-month cattle, are ludicrous rules, everyone
appears powerless to affect change.

Both of these rules fly in the
face of traditions of cattle rearing in this country. I estimate it
has cost farmers, be it primary producer or fattener, tens of
millions of euros.

This week’s mini mart report contains references
to the suppression of mart prices by these artificially created
barriers. In general last week’s trade showed that activity in the
mid weight divisions, 400-499kgs and 500-599kgs, in both the
bullock and heifer sections, is buttressed by opposite movements in
the lower and higher weight divisions.

In short, while those mid
weight bullocks were losing from 1-2c/kg or €4-8/hd the lighter
300-399kg animal rose 2c/kg while the heavier 600kg+ animal remains
exactly as he was last week on an average of €1.87/kg or a minimum
of €1,112/hd.

However the top quarter rose 2c/kg to sit on an
average of €2.12/kg or €1,272/hd. Recently, it was surprising to
see heavier bullock effectively treading water at a time when beef
prices are tending upwards, they have over the last three weeks
risen anything from 10-20c/ kg.However, ringside figures for last
week show no movement in the averages.

Effects of ringside price
cuts for the heavier bullock with issues in relation to movement or
age is preventing his overall average from moving upwards. Mart
managers shared this view when pointing out that in spec 600kg+ is
in demand, but there just aren’t enough of them around to tip the
balance.

The fall off in numbers and the resultant fall off in
quality is also having an impact. Meanwhile, the heavy heifer was
also down last week by 3c/kg or a minimum of €18/hd which means her
two week combined decline has been 4c/ kg or €24/kg.

Last week’s
weanling trade reflects the reality of removing the shipping
equation from the bull weanling ring.

The lack of shipping in the
100-299kg section resulted in an average fall of 20c/kg or from
€20-60/ hd, while uncertainty for the beef business going into 2017
sees the heavier 400- 600kg bull fall by 18c/kg or from €72 84/hd
as winter finishers pulled in their horns.

Indo Farming



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