Cattle marts: Factory buyers turn to the marts to secure stock

Beef cattle prices have come under pressure in factories in recent days and, as a result, more and more farmers have opted to market their cattle through the marts.

The recent spell of inclement weather has also intensified the number of cattle being marketed through the ring. However, cattle prices have remained relatively stable in recent days.

This comes as factory agents, butchers and exporters have made their presence felt at the ringside. Exporters filling contracts for Turkey have also had an impact on the trade. However, some uncertainty remains in relation to this market going forward.

Balla Mart

A large number of heavy cattle were entered in last Saturday’s sale in Balla Mart, Co. Mayo and, according to the mart’s Anthony Murphy, these animals achieved exceptional prices on the day.

Store steers (up to 400kg) sold for an average price of €2.70/kg, steers weighing 400-500kg made €2.34/kg and an average price of €2.12/kg was achieved for the 500+kg lots.

Sample steer prices:

  • Charolais: 260kg  – €830 or €3.19/kg;
  • Limousin: 395kg – €1,310 or €3.32/kg;
  • Charolais: 495kg – €1,355 or €2.74/kg;
  • Charolais: 690kg – €1,635 or €2.37/kg;
  • Charolais: 775kg – €1,795 or €2.32/kg.

Some 350 lots of heifers also passed through the ring in Balla Mart on Saturday. Heifers weighing up to 400kg traded at €2.31/kg, heifers weighing 400-500kg sold for an average price of €2.22/kg and 500+kg lots sold for €2.16/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 275kg – €700 or €2.55/kg;
  • Charolais: 380kg – €1,080 or €2.84/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 400kg – €1,400 or €3.50/kg;
  • Charolais: 705kg – €1,800 or €2.55/kg.

Saturday’s sale also featured an entry of 100 cows. The best of the in-calf cows was a March 2013 born Charolais cow. The four-year-old cow is due to calve next month and she fetched €1,565 on the day.

Tullow Mart

Last Friday’s sale in Tullow Mart, Co. Carlow saw a large number of cattle pass through the ring. Once again, the trade remained lively for store cattle, while the heavier cattle on offer met with a steady trade.

Beef steers sold for €750 over for the Frieisian types and upwards of €960 over was achieved for the continental animals on offer.

According to the mart manager Eric Driver, there was plenty of farmer custom for the store steers on offer. Hereford and Angus stores sold for €2/kg, the continental lots fetched €2.15-2.40/kg and some of the exceptional lots traded for €2.65-2.70/kg.


Beef and forward heifers met a very lively trade and were in demand from butchers. These lots generally sold at €780-920 over.

Driver added that store heifers met an equally lively trade due to the presence of farmer customers. This demand results in Hereford and Angus heifers trading at €2.20/kg, while prices of €2.40-2.70/kg were recorded for continental types.

Weanling prices

Along with the lively store trade, weanling bulls also met a very noticeable demand – especially for the lots weighing 380-440kg. These animals traded at €2.40-2.65/kg and the heavier lots on offer sold for €2.20-2.45/kg. Furthermore, weanlings heifers traded at €2.20-2.45/kg.

Castlerea Mart

Some 680 cattle were on offer at last Thursday’s sale in Castlerea Mart and, despite the inclement weather and poor ground conditions, prices continued to hold firm.

There was also an increase in the number of weanlings on offer and a top price of €4.35/kg was achieved for one weanling bull on the day.

Sample bull and heifer weanling prices:
  • Charolais bull: 250kg – €985 or €3.94/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 240kg – €920 or €3.83/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 275kg – €870 or €3.16/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 345kg – €1,020 or €2.96/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 300kg – €905 or €3.02/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 330kg – €900 or €2.73/kg.

The heifer and weanling heifer rings also reported good clearances, while the dry cow trade was similar to the previous week’s sale.

The best of the forward heifers (500+kg) traded at €2.50-2.60/kg, dry cow prices stood at €1,340-1,720 and cows with calves at foot sold for €1,050-1,360.