Weanlings take centre stage at marts across country

This week saw weanling shows and sales take place in various marts across Ireland. Feedback has been positive with large volumes of cattle sold. Trade has been good with top prices paid for quality animals.

In addition, factories have also quoted €3.75c/kg for steers and €3.85c/kg for heifers this week. However, there are reports of deals at 5c/kg more, with prices for steers and heifers at €3.80-385c/kg and €3.90-395c/kg respectively.

Farmers on heavier soil are disadvantaged, as they have little or no bargaining power. However, farmers on drier, lighter soil have more power when it comes to choosing a time to sell.

In addition, farmers, agents and exporters made their presence felt at the ringside. Mart managers have noted that exporters were very active, purchasing both heifer and bull weanlings.

Ennis Mart

A number of suckler clearance sales drew a large attendance to Ennis Mart on Tuesday, September 5, according to the mart’s Danny Moran. Suckler cows with calves at foot sold for an average price of €1,530, while in-calf suckler cows and heifers sold from €1,080 up to €1,700.

“Bull and heifer weanling prices continue to be similar, but quality was a lot more variable,” he said.

Meanwhile, purebred limousin cows and calves made up to €3,300 and purebred heifers sold between €1,200 and €2,000.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais bull: 355kg – €1,085 or €3.06/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 405kg – €1,000 or €2.47/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 380kg – €1,075 or €2.83kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 290kg – €920 or €3.17/kg;
  • Belgian Blue heifer: 290kg – €780 or €2.69/kg.

Scariff Mart

Last Saturday saw the annual weanling show and sale take place in Scariff mart. There was a “huge turnout” at the mart, with over 500 weanlings passing through the ring and only a few going unsold.

The quality of the continental weanlings offered was exceptional, according to the mart’s spokesperson, with a high number of weanlings weighing between 270kg and 380kg.

Again, bull and heifer prices were similar with 200-300kg animals selling from €2.25/kg to €3.47/kg. Heavier 300-400kg animals traded between €2.20/kg and €3.40/kg.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais bull: 300kg – €1,020 or €3.40/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 280kg – €960 or €3.43/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 350kg – €3.13/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 285kg – €900 or €3.16/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 275kg – €850 or €3.09/kg;
  • Belgian Blue heifer: 325kg – €850 ot €2.85/kg.

Carnew Mart

Some 670 cattle and 30 calves went under the hammer on Saturday, September 2, at Carnew Mart in Co. Wicklow.

David Quinn, the mart’s manager, stated that there was improved demand for beef and forward cattle, with factory feedlot buyers making their presence felt at the ringside.

Again, farmers drove the trade of store cattle with prices similar to the previous week at the Wicklow-based mart. Lighter, plainer Freisan steers made €1.78/kg.

Sample cow prices:
  • Limousin: 724kg – €1,280;
  • Hereford: 642kg – €1,175;
  • Frieisan: 605kg – €845.

Steers and heifers traded at top prices of €2.36/kg and €2.47/kg respectively, while store bullocks achieved a top price of €2.88/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • 3 Charolais: 642kg – €1,500;
  • 5 Hereford: 568kg – €1,180;
  • 3 Limousin: – 456kg – €1,085;
  • 5 Freisan: 524kg – €870.

Sample heifer prices:
  • 2 Belgian Blues: 385kg – €1,445;
  • 2 Charolais: 596kg – €1,360;
  • 2 Parthenaise: 465kg – €1,115;
  • 5 Angus: 360kg – €675.

Balla Mart

Tuesday, September 5, saw Balla Mart in Co. Mayo host a weanling show and sale. A “big” sale took place with some 700 bull and 300 heifer weanling lots on offer, according to the mart’s spokesperson. A “dear” sale was reported; the highlight was the number of heavy calves up for sale.

There was no shortage of buyers, including feedlot, exporter and farmer interests. There was also some interest from northern buyers.

Weanling bulls weighing 200-350kg averaged €2.76/kg, while bulls weighing 350-450kg averaged €2.51/kg. Heavier cattle averaged €2.43/kg.

Sample bull weanling prices:
  • Charolais: 180kg – €750 or €4.17/kg;
  • Charolais: 295kg – €1,065 or €3.61/kg;
  • Charolais: 610kg – €1,480 or €2.43/kg.

One farmer was said to be “extremely satisfied” after getting €1,255 for his 425kg November-born Limousin cross bull. A 610kg Charolais (see box above) won first in its class at the show.

Sample heifer weanling prices:
  • Limousin: 185kg – €585 or €3.16/kg;
  • Charolais: 340kg – €1140 or €3.35/kg.

One “exceptional” Belgian Blue calf won first in its class. This calf, weighing 340kg, sold for €1,490.