Smaller numbers lead to better clearances and higher prices in cattle marts

In recent weeks, mart managers have reported smaller sales taking place across the country. The smaller entries of cattle have, in some places, led to better clearances and higher prices. However, these improvements in price have been very small in the grand scheme of things.

The smaller numbers present at the marts may be down to the recent spell of good weather in some regions.

This week, factory prices have improved and processors are currently offering base quotes of 375-380c/kg for steers and 385-390c/kg for heifers. This comes on the back of a drop in the weekly kill and as farmers with greater bargaining power hold out for the better prices.

Also Read: Beef price: ‘Farmers should be demanding a base price of €4/kg’

Similar to recent weeks, quality cattle have achieved the best prices, while plainer cattle prove to be a more difficult trade. Again, continental stock are popular, while cattle from dairy origin remain at poorer prices.

Steer prices remain steady – good quality bullocks are in demand. On the other hand, heifers prove to be the easiest to sell, while demand for cull cows has increased.

Raphoe Mart

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

She said: “There was an excellent trade for all types of cattle, with quality cattle selling to top prices and plainer lots getting some brisk bidding also.”

Top-class bulls, weighing over 600kg, sold at €595-955 over, the mart manager stated. Beef bullocks made €660-930 over and lighter stores made €2.20-2.70/kg.

Beef heifers made €500-830 over and store heifers traded for €350-695 over or €2.20-2.80/kg. Fat, well-fleshed cows traded for €600-1,410 head.

Carnew Mart

Some 730 cattle went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last – an increase of 80 cattle on the previous week.

David Quinn, the mart manager, said that there was a very good trade for all classes of cattle.

Store bullocks made €450-825 over, while Friesian steers sold for €180-570 along with their weight. Heifers were reported to trade well; stores made €350-765 over.

Beef cows fetched €420-780 over, while store cows made €130-440 over. Quinn said: “100 suckler cows were on offer and these lots traded between €1,050 and €1,680.”

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €190-430;
  • Continental heifers: €150-400;
  • Friesian bulls: €85-190.

Ennis Mart

A slightly smaller sale took place in Ennis Mart on Thursday last; over 900 animals went under the hammer. However, there was a hike in cull cow numbers passing through the ring.

According to the mart’s Danny Moran, some of the dairy cull cows on offer met a very good trade.

“There was better demand in all rings and an exceptionally lively trade for quality stock.”

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 655kg – €1,550 or €2.37/kg;
  • Limousin: 660kg – €1,520 or €2.30/kg;
  • Limousin: 529kg – €1,400 or €2.65/kg;
  • Hereford: 445kg – €950 or €2.36/kg.

The number of aged bulls passing through the ring on Thursday was similar to the previous week. The best of these made a top price of €1,770.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 745kg – €1,770 or €2.30/kg;
  • Limousin: 610kg – €1,390 or €2.28/kg;
  • Charolais: 665kg – €1,440 or €2.17/kg;
  • Charolais: 512kg – €1,330 or €3.07/kg.

On the day, forward cattle proved to be very popular.

Sample cull cow prices:
  • Limousin: 910kg – €1,730 or €1.90/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 795kg – €1,420 or €1.70/kg;
  • Simmemtal: 730kg –  €1,360 or €1.86/kg;
  • Friesian: 575kg – €980 or €1.70/kg.

Kilkenny Mart

A smaller cattle sale, consisting of 900 animals, was witnessed in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill on Thursday last, according to the mart’s auctioneer, George Candler.

There were more customers operating; generating a better trade all round with most lots increasing by €15 to €30 per head compared to last week.

In addition, he said, cull cows peaked at €2.25/kg.

Quality heifers also met a good trade as small numbers were on offer. The heavier lots made €2.00-2.45/kg, €2.00-2.60/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.80-2.70/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 675kg – €1,490 or €2.21/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 400kg – €1,040 or €2.60/kg;
  • Limousin: 525kg – €1,240 or €2.42/kg;
  • Charolais: 495kg – €1,175 or €2.37/kg.

In the steer ring, Candler said quality beef and forward store lots sold well and the majority sold at €1.60-2.61/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Hereford: 590kg – €1,115 or €1.89/kg;
  • Simmental: 490kg – €1,180 or €2.41/kg;
  • Limousin: 395kg – €1,000 or €2.53/kg;
  • Hereford: 440kg – €920 or €2.09/kg.