We are now at the time of year when the weanling trade is in full swing.
The word coming back from the ringside is that good quality weanlings are €100-€150 back on last year, and the gap is even wider for plainer types.
Figures done by Teagasc show the average cost of keeping a cow with a calf up to weaning is €746. This ranged from €480 up to €900. Based on weanling prices at present, the calf will do well to cover the above costs.
As everybody knows, the beef trade is going through a difficult time at present, so now is a time to look at farm costs more than ever, and where savings can be made.
Options would be to reduce the meal bill to a minimum, have a very basic fertiliser programme, no reseeding, no new investment in machinery or livestock, cut maintenance costs to a minimum, examine all health costs critically.
The trade for heavier bull weanlings has been difficult this backend. Some bull weanlings will be kept over the winter months.
There are farmers looking at the option of castrating these and selling them as steers next spring.
Weather permitting, look to get these stock out early next spring where they would get six to eight weeks at grass before sale. This will help to save on meal, and the stock will be good condition.
Hopefully next year will see an improvement for the beef trade. In the current storm, it’s just a matter of battening down the hatches until we get through this difficult period.