Cattle marts: Beef cattle come under pressure, as stores lead the way

Factory beef prices have come under increased pressure in recent days and most factories are now offering a base price of 395c/kg for steers and 400c/kg for heifers.

On the back of this pressure, the returns generated by beef cattle in marts have also declined. In some instances, prices are back by €10-15/head compared to the previous week’s sales.

Despite the dip in finished cattle prices, farmers remain confident when it comes to purchasing forward and light stores. This trade has also been boosted by the activity of feedlot buyers at the ringside in recent days.

In addition, demand also remains strong for weanling bulls weighing 400-450kg; prices of close to €3.00/kg have been achieved for the very best animals on offer.

Tullow Mart

Last Friday marked the weekly cattle sale in Tullow Mart, Co. Carlow. And, according to Eric Driver, trade remains steady with the exception of beef cattle.

The mart manager added that the beef trade was a little difficult for some of the forward-type cattle but the store trade continued to remain strong.

Continental beef steers sold for €800-980 over, while the forward type stores traded at €2.15-2.25/kg. Farmers remained the primary purchasers of these store steers and prices of €2.40/kg were paid for the best of the Charolais lots on offer.

Moving to heifers, beef heifers sold for €780-950 over. Farmers also remained active at the ringside for store heifers and prices of €2.05/kg were paid for the Angus and Hereford lots on offer. In addition, the continental lots, compromising of mainly Limousin and Charolais heifers, traded at €2.15-2.30/kg.

An active trade was also observed for weanling bulls, especially for the lighter types, and lots weighing 300kg sold for €2.80-3.00/kg. The heavier lots (400-440kg) made €2.40-2.60/kg and those suitable for feeding (500kg) made €2.25-2.40/kg.

Looking at cow prices, fleshed cull cows were in demand and prices of up to €750 over were achieved on the day. In addition, the Friesian types traded at €150 over and younger continental lots sold at €2.50/kg up to €400 over.

Castlerea Mart

Last Thursday’s sale in Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon, featured a bigger entry of stock. According to the mart’s Brendan Egan, both prices and the trade continued to hold firm.

Quality store cattle, he said, were once again in strong demand and breeding stock and weanlings reported good clearances.

Sample steer and heifer prices:
  • Charolais steer: 435kg – €1,175 or €2.70/kg;
  • Limousin steer: 485kg – €1,200 or €2.47/kg;
  • Charolais steer: 500kg – €1,300 or €2.60/kg;
  • Charolais steer: 610kg – €1,435 or €2.35/kg;
  • Belgian Blue heifer: 395kg – €1,175 or €2.97/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 450kg – €1,230 or €2.73/kg;
  • Simmental heifer: 635kg – €1,530 or €2.41/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 620kg – €1,500 or €2.42/kg.

The dry cow trade was also similar to previous weeks. These lots sold for €1,395-1,925 and cows with calves at foot made €1,000-1,800.

An increased number of light weanlings or runners were also on offer and these lots sold up to a top price of €645.

Sample weanling bull and heifer prices:
  • Limousin bull: 250kg – €815 or €3.26/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 365kg – €1,055 or €2.89/kg;
  • Angus bull: 435kg – €1,095 or €2.52/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 285kg – €865 or €3.04/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 365kg – €1,055 or €2.89/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 290kg – €860 or €2.96/kg.

Ennis Mart

There was another large entry of cattle in Ennis Mart on Thursday last, according to the mart’s Danny Moran. He said that light stores met the best trade and a number of lots made up to €2.94/kg.

Good quality cattle are still a good trade, he said, but the plainer types were a shade easier compared to the previous week.

The heifer trade was similar to the steer trade, he said, and factory-fit heifers were in short supply which resulted in a strong trade for these lots. The best of these sold for up to €2.60/kg.

Sample steer and heifer prices:
  • Simmental steer: 495kg – €1,290 or €2.61/kg;
  • Charolais steer: 560kg – €1,400 or €2.50/kg;
  • Limousin steer: 670kg – €1,610 or €2.40/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 355kg – €975 or €2.62/kg;
  • Simmental heifer: 485kg – €1,160 or €2.39/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 550kg – €1,330 or €2.42/kg.

Over 130 cull cows also passed through the ring in the Ennis-based venue on Thursday. Prices for all types had eased slightly; but the good quality continental cows sold for €1.80-2.11/kg, while the plainer lots traded around the €1.60/kg mark.

Sample cow prices:
  • Charolais: 485kg – €950 or €1.96/kg;
  • Limousin: 585kg – €1,215 or €2.08/kg;
  • Simmental: 540kg – €1,130 or €2.09/kg;
  • Limousin: 650kg – €1,370 or €2.11/kg;
  • Simmental: 780kg – €1,470 or €1.88/kg;
  • Charolais: 925kg – €1,760 or €1.90/kg;
  • Angus: 825kg – €1,430 or €1.73/kg.