Mart trade: Increased buyer activity generates higher returns

Mart managers have noted increased activity at the ringside in recent days. However, poor grass growth is still having a negative impact on the trade.

Some farmers are aiming to source stock before the peak grass buying period kicks into gear, while sellers are holding cattle in order to match selling time with peak demand.

Last week, competition among buyers for quality stock drove the cattle trade and, as a result, mart managers have reported good clearance rates right across the board. Prices were reported to have increased by €25/head in some cases.

Raphoe Mart

Last Thursday’s sale in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, featured an “excellent” entry of cattle, according to the mart’s Anne Harkin.

She said: “There was a brisk trade for almost all cattle on offer, but plainer types were more difficult to sell.”

Top-class bulls, weighing over 600kg, sold at €555-885 over, the mart manager stated. Beef bullocks made €615-845 over and lighter stores steers made €2.10-3.05/kg.

Beef heifers made €545-1,010 over and store heifers traded for €350-805 over or €2.10-2.90/kg. Fat, well-fleshed cows traded for €600-1,335/head.

Carnew Mart

Some 1,142 cattle went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last. David Quinn, the mart manager, said that prices remained similar to the previous week’s sale, with a good demand for all cattle.

Continental bullocks made €560-930 over, while Friesian steers sold for €180-660 along with their weight. Heifers were reported to trade well; stores made €310-785 over and butcher lots fetched €680-1,020 over.

In addition, continental beef cows fetched €380-830 over and store cows made €100-550 over.

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €235-440/head;
  • Continental heifers: €180-405/head;
  • Friesian bulls: €60-190/head;
  • Hereford/Angus bulls: €160-310/head;
  • Hereford/Angus heifers: €110-280/head.

Ennis Mart

A large sale took place in Ennis Mart on Thursday last (April 12); both grass buyers and feeders were active around the ring.

According to the mart’s Danny Moran, the bullock and heifer trade has remained steady and prices increased by €25/head on the previous week.

“Hereford and Angus cattle seem to be in good demand at the moment with lots selling quite well,” he said.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 345kg – €1,155 or €3.34/kg;
  • Limousin: 578kg – €1,525 or €2.63/kg;
  • Friesian: 740kg – €1,390 or €1.87/kg;
  • Hereford: 765kg – €1,480 or €1.93/kg.

The number of aged bulls passing through the ring on Thursday was similar to the previous week. The best of these, a Charolais bull, made a top price of €2,360. He weighed 1,220kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 586kg – €1,140 or €2.45/kg;
  • Charolais: 455kg – €1,300 or €2.62/kg;
  • Hereford: 610kg – €1,240 or €2.03/kg;
  • Charolais: 420kg – €1,230 or €2.92/kg.

On the day, cows were reported to meet a very strong demand; forward and store lots proved popular.

Sample cull cow prices:
  • Limousin: 740kg – €1,670 or €2.25/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 815kg – €1,400 or €1.71/kg;
  • Charolais: 580kg – €1,275 or €2.19/kg;
  • Friesian: 495kg – €840 or €1.69/kg.

Kilkenny Mart

A smaller cattle sale was witnessed in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Thursday last, according to the mart’s auctioneer George Candler.

“Trade was not as buoyant as previous weeks and there was less quality animals on offer – especially continental types,” he explained.

He continued: “This year, it is possible that numbers will increase in the coming weeks, as a lot of potential sellers have waited in the hope that more buyers will become active when grass growth takes off.”

In addition, he said, cull cows peaked at €2.10/kg.

Quality heifers also met a good trade, with lighter lots peaking at €3.20/kg. In general, the heavier lots made €2.00-2.50/kg, €1.80-2.50/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.60-3.20/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 630kg – €1,560 or €2.48/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 495kg – €1,070 or €2.16/kg;
  • Limousin: 485kg – €1,210 or €2.49/kg;
  • Charolais: 380kg – €1,050 or €2.76/kg.

In the steer ring, Candler said quality beef and forward store lots sold well and the majority traded at €1.70-2.60/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Hereford: 770kg – €1,450 or €1.88/kg;
  • Limousin: 575kg – €1,450 or €2.52/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 485kg – €1,000 or €2.06/kg;
  • Charolais: 380kg – €1,125 or €2.96/kg.

Tullow Mart

Some 700 cattle were on offer at Tullow Mart on Friday, April 13. According to the mart’s Eric Driver, the trade was “holding steady”.

Friesian beef and forward bullocks sold for €1.80/kg, while Hereford and Angus types traded for €2.10/kg – depending on quality.

In general, Friesian store bullocks sold for €1.75-2.20/kg. Continental bullocks traded for €2.40-3.00/kg.

In the heifer ring, beef and forward types traded for €2.00-2.40/kg. Hereford and Angus store lots sold for €2.00-2.20/kg and up, while continental types made €2.20-2.85/kg.

In the cull cow ring, Friesian feeder type lots traded for €150 over and continental cows sold for €300-500 over.

A full clearance was achieved in the calf ring. Friesian bulls – suitable for export – sold for €60-110/head. Angus and Hereford calves traded for €150-380/head, while continental types sold to a top-price of €460/head.