Ophelia sees more than 20 marts abandon Monday trading

Ireland is braced for, what has been described as, the worst storm in 50 years. Earlier this morning, the beginnings of ex-hurricane Ophelia reached landfall along the Co. Kerry coast.

As it stands, a status red warning remains in place across the country today (October 16). This comes as strong, violent and damaging gusts of 120-150km/h are expected to grasp the country.

Ophelia is expected to move towards south-Leinster and Co. Galway around midday. The counties of Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Westmeath, Meath and Louth are expected to bear the brunt between 1:00pm and 3:00pm.

Given the shear scale of the storm, many marts have opted to cancel trading today. Marts have decided to remain closed, due to health and safety concerns for staff, farmers and livestock.

Over 20 marts have closed their gates for trading today. Eight marts have abandoned trading in the Ulster and Connacht region. 

A further five marts in Leinster, namely: Granard; Kilkenny; Tullamore; Kilcullen and New Ross, have all opted to cancel today’s scheduled sales. However, Monday’s sale in Carnaross Mart continues as usual.

The Munster region has been worst affected by mart closures. In total, nine venues have decided against trading today. These include marts operated by the Cork and Clare mart umbrella groups.

Weekend trading

Despite the cancellation of a number of mart sales today, trading continued as usual over the weekend. Like last week, good-quality cattle continued to meet a steady trade, but plainer animals were a little harder to market.

Balla Mart

Approximately 900 cattle passed through the ring of Balla Mart, Co. Mayo on Saturday last. The mart’s Anthony Murphy said good-quality cattle made “big money”, while the prices achieved for the plainer lots were down on last week.

Store bullocks, weighing up to 400kg, sold for an average price of €2.24/kg; slightly heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at €2.28/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Charolais: 395kg – €1,050 or €2.57/kg;
  • Limousin: 420kg – €1,310 or €3.12/kg;
  • Charolais: 560kg – €1,500 or €2.68/kg;
  • Charolais: 640kg – €1,580 or €2.47/kg;
  • Limousin: 715kg – €1,610 or €2.25/kg.

Moving on to the heifers, Murphy said there was a big sale of these lots and they met a strong trade. Heifers weighing up to 400kg sold for an average price of €2.20/kg; the heavier lots (500+kg) on offer made €2.04/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 290kg – €750 or €2.59/kg;
  • Limousin: 385kg – €940 or €2.44/kg;
  • Limousin: 455kg – €1,200 or €2.64/kg;
  • Charolais: 640kg – €1,445 or €2.26/kg;
  • Limousin: 720kg – €1,540 or €2.14/kg.

Saturday’s sale also featured an entry of 180 cows. The best of the in-calf cows was a February-2015 born Charolais cow, which sold for €1,910. Topping the dry cow section of the sale at €1,750 was a May-2005 born Charolais cow. Overall dry cows sold for an average price of €1.59/kg.

Carnew Mart

Last Saturday’s sale in Carnew Mart featured a very large entry of 1,037 cattle. David Quinn, the mart manager, said: “Quality stores and beef cattle continued to meet a strong trade, with all other classes remaining steady.”

A special suckler sale was also hosted at the Wicklow-based venue; a top price of €2,670 was achieved for a cow and calf combination. In addition, beef cows made €350-835 over and store cows traded at €150-385.

Beef and forward bullocks in the Co. Wicklow venue traded at €580-1,060. Continental store steers sold for €450-560 over and the Friesian types on offer made €210-560 over.

Sample steer prices:
  • Charolais: 770kg – €1,830 or €2.38/kg;
  • Limousin: 750kg – €1,680 or €2.24/kg;
  • Hereford: 700kg – €1,460 or €2.09/kg.

Saturday’s sale also featured a large entry of heifers. The forward-type beef heifers made €550-875 over and store heifers sold for €350-835.

Scariff Mart

A smaller number of cattle were on offer at last Saturday’s sale in Scariff Mart, Co. Clare. The mart’s Danny Moran said: “Farmers and agents were the main driver of price on the day.”

Light weanling bulls, he said, sold for €2.30-3.57/kg and the heavier weanlings (over 330kg) traded at €1.92-3.09/kg.

Sample bull weanling prices:
  • Charolais: 270kg – €800 or €2.96/kg;
  • Saler: 295kg – €720 or €2.44/kg;
  • Charolais: 230kg – €710 or €3.09/kg;
  • Limousin: 355kg – €750 or €2.11/kg;
  • Limousin: 400kg – €955 or €2.39/kg;
  • Charolais: 377kg – €930 or €2.46/kg.

In the heifer ring, light heifers sold for €2.25-3.29/kg and those weighing 300-400kg made €2.07-2.25/kg.

Sample heifer prices: 
  • Charolais: 255kg – €690 or €2.71/kg;
  • Hereford: 205kg – €460 or €2.24/kg;
  • Limousin: 270kg – €785 or €2.91/kg;
  • Charolais: 325kg – €800 or €2.46/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 220kg – €470 or €2.14/kg;
  • Charolais: 405kg – €905 or €2.23/kg.