Mart trade: Silage and haymaking duties take priority

With the recent spell of good weather, farmers have been busy harvesting silage and hay. This has led to a lower attendance at marts across the country resulting in a slight ease in the prices achieved by some cattle.

The market for plainer stock has eased, but quality lots are holding their own. With the weakening beef price, demand for forward store cattle has slowed – especially in the case of steers and heifers.

Continental cattle are in the driving seat when it comes to the best prices, with poorer-quality cattle taking a hit at the ringside.

However, the prices achieved by cows in the marts have held well, again with continental lots coming out on top. Beef cows are popular, but like the case for steers and heifers, forward store cow prices are easier.

Moving to weanlings, there is little difference in the prices achieved by bulls and heifers – with quality being the main driver of prices.

Balla Mart

Three rings were in operation at Balla Mart on Saturday last, June 29, and the trade was reported to be holding well despite the external factors.

A number of good-quality Charolais bullocks were reported to be in demand, according to the mart’s manager Michael Murphy.

Store bullocks (300-400kg) sold for an average price of €2.04/kg and made up to €650 over. The heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at €2.17/kg on average. Michael added that beef bullocks (upwards of 500kg) averaged €2.06/kg on the day.

Sample steer prices:
  • Charolais: 390kg – €1,040 or €2.67/kg;
  • Limousin: 450kg – €1,350 or €3.00/kg;
  • Charolais: 740kg – €1,585 or €2.14/kg.

A good turnout of heifers was reported, with the trade similar to the previous week’s sale.

Lots weighing up to 400kg sold for an average price of €2.29/kg; the heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at €2.18/kg on average, while heifers (upwards of 500kg) made an average price of €2.01/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 355kg – €1,000 or €2.82/kg;
  • Limousin: 425kg – €1,140 or €2.68/kg;
  • Charolais: 850kg – €1,700 or €2.00/kg.

In addition, some 80 cows went under the hammer last week and the best of these was a February-2014 born, Limousin cow; she sold for €1,690/head.

Raphoe Mart

A smaller entry of cattle was recorded in Raphoe Mart on Thursday last, June 27 – mainly due to the good weather conditions keeping farmers busy at silage and haymaking duties.

However, the trade was reported to be strong, with all types of cattle in demand by farmers, agents and feedlot buyers, according to the mart’s manager Anne Harkin.

Bullocks and bulls were reported to sell up to €905 along with the weight and heifers made a top call of €845 over.

On the day, bulls – weighing in excess of 600kg – sold for €655-905 along with the weight. Looking at the bullock trade, beef lots made €600-780 over, while store bullocks made €400-615 along with their weight.

Moving to the heifer trade, beef types made €500-845 over and store heifers traded at €350-745 with the weight.

A number of dry cows were also on offer and these lots made between €615/head and €1,445/head.

Ennis Mart

Lower numbers of heifers were reported at Ennis Mart on Thursday last, June 27, mainly due to farmers cutting silage and getting field work completed, with the trade slightly easier.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 451kg – €1,190 or €2.63/kg;
  • Charolais: 5500kg – €1,410 or €2.56/kg;
  • Limousin: 675kg – €1,570 or €2.33/kg;
  • Hereford: 700kg – €1,255 or €1.79/kg.

Quality stores were reported to be a good trade and there were also some good-quality beef cows on offer; aged bulls were reported to sell for €1.73/kg on average.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 440kg – €1,030 or €2.34/kg;
  • Charolais: 440kg – €1,000 or €2.27/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 690kg – €1,320 or €1.91/kg;
  • Hereford: 575kg – €1,090 or €1.89/kg.

There was also a large entry of heavier and aged cattle.

Sample cull cow prices:
  • Limousin: 715kg – €1,470 or €2.05/kg;
  • Charolais: 590kg – €1,180 or €2.00/kg;
  • Limousin: 790kg – €1,530 or €1.94/kg;
  • Friesian: 655kg – €870 or €1.33/kg.

Ballinrobe Mart

There was little change in the numbers entered into Ballinrobe Mart on Wednesday last, June 26.

Sample prices for heifers include: a 660kg Limousin heifer made €1,635/head or €2.47/kg; and two Limousin heifers – weighing 345kg – sold for €950/head or €2.45/kg.

Bullock prices include: a Limousin bullock – weighing 410kg – made €1,090/head or €2.66/kg; a Charolais bullock weighing 330kg sold for €730/head or €2.21/kg.

The top price in the weanling bulls category went to a 365kg Limousin bull; he made €930/head or €2.55/kg. In addition, the top-priced dry cow was an 810kg Charolais cow; she made €1,430/head or €1.76/kg.

A Hereford cow with a Hereford calf at foot made €1,310.