Continental breeds prove popular at marts across country

In response to factory demand, cattle prices have witnessed a marginal uplift in marts in recent days.

In some cases, beef cattle prices have climbed as factory agents make their presence felt at the ringside.

Factory prices remain steady at 370-375c/kg for steers and 380-385c/kg for heifers – as farmers ‘dig in their heels’ and hold out for the better prices.

This is likely to have a positive impact at the ringside as the week progresses.

Also Read: Beef factories anxious for cattle as Christmas market begins

Overall, continentals have met an improved trade, with quality being the main determinant in price. Buoyed by exporter demand, these lots sold for in excessive of €3/kg in some venues across the country.

However, trade for Hereford and Angus types has slowed in recent days.

Kilfenora Mart

The annual Shorthorn sale – held in conjunction with the general sale in Kilfenora Mart – on Saturday, October 28, proved a great success, according to the mart’s manager, Martin McNamara.

“There was a very good entry of continental heifers and these were a very good trade. The quality Shorthorn heifers made good money, with both sellers and buyers [present from] nationwide,” he explained.

Quality lots of Shorthorn heifers made €1,170/head, while weanling heifers fetched €750-910/head. Top quality bulls in the Shorthorn section made between €1,450/head and €1,530/head.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Three Limousin: 357kg – €970 or €2.72/kg;
  • One Limousin: 435kg – €1,040 or €2.39/kg;
  • One Limousin: 350kg – €825 or €2.36/kg;
  • Three Aberdeen Angus: 295kg – €600 or €2.03/kg.

On the day, dry cows traded between €910/head and €1,230/head.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 295kg – €875 or €2.97/kg;
  • Limousin: 365kg – €990 or €2.71/kg;
  • Charolais: 285kg – €850 or €2.98/kg;
  • Charolais: 420kg – €1,050 or €2.50/kg.

A weanling sale also took place at the Clare-based venue on Monday (October 30). According to McNamara, the sale was a “great sucess” with over 400 lots going through the ring.

Trade was supported by farmers and shippers, especially in the heifer section – while farmers were the main customers in the bull section.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Three Blonde D’Aquitaine bulls: 395kg – €1,080 or €2.73/kg;
  • One Charolais bull: 275kg – €1,040 or €3.78/kg;
  • Three Limousin bulls: 295kg – €990 or €3.36/kg;
  • One Charolais heifer: 280kg – €1,005 or €3.54/kg;
  • One Charolais heifer: 340kg – €915 or €2.69/kg;
  • One Limousin heifer: 345kg – €905 or €2.62/kg.

Kilkenny Mart

A large cattle sale – consisting of 1,320 animals – was held in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill on Thursday (October 26), according to the mart’s auctioneer, George Candler.

“Continental bullocks traded well – while plainer types especially Angus, Hereford and Friesian breeds were difficult to sell,” he explained.

In addition, he said, Angus and Hereford heifers with a Friesian influence met a tougher trade. However, continental cull cows traded well – these lots fetched €1.25-2.08/kg.

Heavier lots of beef bullocks (500-600kg) made €1.60-2.55/kg, €1.40-2.70/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.40-2.75/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • One Limousin: 640kg – €1,470 or €2.30/kg;
  • One Limousin: 585kg – €1,370 or €2.34/kg;
  • Two Limousin: 465kg – €1,110 or €2.39/kg;
  • Two Limousin: 405kg – €1,010 or €2.49/kg;
  • One Blonde D’Aquitaine: 375kg – €1,010 or €2.69/kg;
  • Five Hereford: 350kg – €620 or €1.77/kg.

Castlerea Mart

Thursday’s (October 26) sale in Castlerea Mart featured an entry of 850 cattle. According to the mart’s manager, Brendan Egan, the trade held steady for most of the classes of stock on offer.

Egan said: “There was increased farmer activity resulting in a better trade overall. Demand was strongest for the quality continental lots.

The weanling trade was also better this week, with better export demand.

Cows with calves at foot traded at €980-1,710/head, in-calf cows made €870-1,510/head and dry cows sold for an average price of €1.97/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Simmental: 380kg – €1,150 or €3.02/kg;
  • Limousin: 390kg – €1,020 or €2.61/kg;
  • Charolais: 410kg – €1,020 or €2.48/kg;
  • Charolais: 540kg – €1,340 or €2.48/kg.

On the day, top quality lots of runners made up to €750.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Limousin bull: 275kg – €855 or €3.10/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 380kg – €1,200 or €3.15/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 270kg – €830 or €3.07/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 320kg – €920 or €2.87/kg. 

Raphoe Mart

Thursday’s (October 26) sale in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal featured another large entry of cattle, according to the mart’s manager, Anne Harkin.

She added that quality cattle were still a “great trade”, while plainer types remained difficult to sell. “Buyers were anxious to secure the quality lots on offer,” she explained.

Top-class bulls weighing over 600kg sold at €600-830 over or €2.00-2.80/kg, the mart manager said. Beef bullocks made €600-1,075 over and lighter stores made €1.90-2.70/kg.

Beef heifers made €500-855 over and store heifers traded at €300-700 over or €2.10-2.80/kg. On the day, fat cows fetched between €490/head and €1,455/head.

Ennis Mart

There was a strong trade in Ennis Mart on Tuesday (October 31), according to the mart’s spokesperson, Ann Keane.

“However, quality is becoming very variable,” she added.

There is both farmer and shipper activity in the heifer and bull weanling rings at the moment. Again it’s the lighter lots that are attracting the higher price per kilo.

There was plenty of interest in all types of cattle, she said, with farmers and agents being the main drivers of price.

Generally speaking, runner heifers made €445-915/head and runner bulls sold for €500-850/head. In-calf suckler cows sold for €1,000-1,810/head. In addition, cows with calves at foot averaged €1,675/head.

Sample weanling prices:
  • One Limousin bull: 285kg – €910 or €3.19/kg;
  • Two Charolais bulls: 275kg – €850 or €3.09/kg;
  • One Charolais bull : 315kg – €985 or €3.13/kg;
  • Two Limousin heifers: 297kg – €910 or €3.06/kg;
  • One Belgian Blue heifer: 260kg – €830 or €3.19/kg;
  • One Charolais heifer: 295kg – €895 or €3.03/kg.