Increased activity from all buyers as trade improves ringside

This week, mart managers have reported an improved trade at various venues across the country. Farmers, factory agents and exporters have been busy sourcing cattle.

However, it must be noted that plainer types are proving more difficult to sell. This has resulted in a significant gap in the price between good-quality stock and poorer-quality animals.

This week, factory agents are currently offering a base of 380c/kg for steers, while heifers are trading at 390c/kg in most cases.

However, some farmers, especially those with large numbers of in-spec stock to market, have been receiving prices of 5c/kg above base quotes. At the upper end of the scale, this brings some heifers to 395c/kg.

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As has been the case in recent weeks, factory agents are busy sourcing cattle for the lucrative Christmas market. This demand has filtered down to mart level, as procurement managers are making their presence felt ringside.

Carnew Mart

Some 760 cattle went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last – an increase of 30 on the previous week.

David Quinn, the mart manager, said that there was a very good entry of beef and forward cattle – particularly heifers and cows.

He said: “Good quality stores met an exceptional demand.

There was an improved trade all round with factory agents making their presence felt ringside.

Store bullocks made €660-980 over, while Friesian steers sold for €215-560 along with their weight. Heifers were reported to trade well; stores made €570-865 over.

Beef cows fetched €440-842 over, while store cows made €50-485 over. Quinn said: “60 calves were also on offer and these lots traded between €80 and €445/head.”

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €225-445;
  • Continental heifers: €135-385;
  • Friesian bulls: €80-225.

Scariff Mart

“Good” numbers of both stores and weanlings were on offer in Scariff Mart on Saturday last. Farmers were active and were the main drivers of price. According to the mart’s Danny Moran, there was some really nice, quality stock on offer.

Moran said: “Light weanling bulls averaged €2.82/kg, while bulls weighing 417kg sold for €2.06/kg. Bulls weighing over 310kg fetched €2.77/kg.”

In the heifer ring, light heifers sold for €2.86/kg and heifers weighing 300-400kg sold at €2.54/kg.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 320kg – €840 or €2.62/kg;
  • Hereford heifer: 217kg – €620 or €2.86/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 355kg – €900 or €2.54/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 265kg – €870 or €3.78/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus bull: 417kg – €860 or €2.06/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 445kg – €1,120 or €2.52/kg.

Tullow Mart

A smaller sale took place at Tullow Mart on Saturday last. According to the mart’s spokesperson, lighter weanlings proved popular with farmers.

Plain Limousin and Charolais bull weanlings (over 400kg) sold for between €840 and €850/head, while good R-grade and U-grade types traded for €1,040-€1,050/head. Bulls weighing 420-430kg sold for €2.25-2.50/kg.

Farmers continued to drive the heifer trade in the Carlow-based venue. Those weighing over 400kg traded for €840-1,050/head. In addition, calves traded for €2.25-3.00/kg.

Hereford and Aberdeen Angus stores traded at €2.50/kg, while continentals sold for up to €2.30/kg. Heifers weighing 400kg were very popular, with prices of €950-1,000/head achieved on the day.

Balla Mart

Approximately 900 cattle were on offer at Saturday’s (November 18) sale in Balla Mart. The trade was “exceptional” for heifers weighing 450-550kg suitable for export. According to Micheal Murphy, the mart’s manager, there was a “good trade all round”.

Store bullocks (up to 400kg) sold for an average price of €2.17/kg; the heavier lots (500kg) traded at €2.19/kg, while bullocks weighing over 600kg averaged €2.17/kg. Murphy added that 360 heifers were on offer and the lighter types made €2.21/kg.

There were some northern buyers in attendance and breeding heifers suitable for northern export achieved excellent prices.

In addition, some 250 cows went under the hammer last week and Murphy said there were some nice in-calf cows up for grabs.

The best of these, he said, was a May-2015 born Charolais cow. She was in calf to ZAG and due to calve in January. The hammer fell at €2,310.

Ennis Mart

A slightly smaller sale took place in Ennis Mart on Thursday last. However, there was a hike in the number of aged bulls going under the hammer.

Danny Moran said: “Numbers were back slightly, especially in the heifer ring. Some 250 cull cows were on offer and a very high percentage of these were coloured cows.

Forward cattle in all rings were a very strong trade and quality stores were much sought after.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 440kg – €1,245 or €2.83/kg;
  • Limousin: 415kg – €1,160 or €2.80/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 755kg – €1,930 or €2.56/kg;
  • Hereford: 485kg – €980 or €2.02/kg.

He added: “Friesian cows were generally making €1.00-1.40/kg.”

The number of aged bulls passing through the ring on Thursday was up on previous weeks. The best of these made a top price of €1,740.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 385kg – €1,090 or €2.83/kg;
  • Limousin: 705kg – €1,660 or €2.35/kg;
  • Charolais: 480kg – €1,230 or €2.56/kg;
  • Hereford: 467kg – €900 or €1.93/kg.