Cattle marts: Continental calves trade for €250-435/head at Tullow Mart

Beef cattle prices have remained under pressure in factories in recent days. This week, beef processors are offering 390c/kg for steers and 400c/kg for heifers.

The recent spell of inclement weather interrupted some marts last week. This led to smaller numbers and fewer customers in some cases. This has also intensified prices and some marts have reported increases of €30-50/head for cattle.

This comes as factory agents, farmers and exporters have made their presence felt at the ringside.

Again, where quality animals have been presented for sale, these lots have achieved the best prices. As has been the case in recent weeks, forward-type and short-stay cattle have proved popular.

Weanlings have met an improved trade – especially bulls. Quality lots have received prices in excess of €3/kg. In addition, mart managers have reported an increase in the number of calves going under the hammer.

Raphoe Mart

Last Tuesday’s (February 13) weanling sale in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, featured a “reasonable” entry of animals for the first weanling sale of 2018, according to the mart’s Anne Harkin.

She added that the quality of stock was outstanding and this was reflected in the trade.

Bulls sold to well over €3/kg in many cases, with heifers not far behind.

Generally speaking, weanling bulls traded for €2.60-3.35/kg and heifers for €2.50-2.95/kg.

Last Thursday’s cattle sale featured a smaller entry of stock due to adverse weather conditions and poor road conditions.

However, trade was reported to have remained steady, with all types of cattle proving popular. Harkin added: “Farmers, factory and feedlot agents all competed for stock.”

Top-class bulls weighing over 600kg sold at €653-980 over, the mart manager said. Beef bullocks made €715-1,015 over and lighter stores made €2.20-2.90/kg.

Beef heifers sold for €550-830 over and store heifers traded at €422-775 over or €2.10-2.70/kg. Fat, well-fleshed cows traded for €600-1,440.

Castlerea Mart

Despite the recent inclement weather and driving conditions, a “good turnout” was reported by the mart’s manager Brendan Egan. Trade was reported as brisk, with a lot of customers present trying to secure stock.

At last Thursday’s sale, bullocks, heifers and weanlings were a firm trade, while a full clearance was achieved in the dry cow ring.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 530kg – €1,390 or €2.62/kg;
  • Limousin: 495kg – €1,235 or €2.49/kg;
  • Charolais: 585kg – €1,400 or €2.39/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 570kg – €1,340 or €2.35/kg.

In addition, cows with calves at foot traded at €700-1,470/head, in-calf cows made €780-1,500/head and dry cows sold for €1,030-1,545/head.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Limousin bull: 290kg – €910 or €3.13/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 325kg – €1,070 or €3.29/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 360kg – €1,000 or €2.77/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 330kg – €945 or €2.86/kg.

Balla Mart

Over 800 cattle were on offer at Saturday’s (February 17) sale in Balla Mart. Prices were reported to have increased by €40/head on the corresponding period in 2017.

The mart manager, Micheal Murphy, said there was a “fine” sale of heifers with over 350 going under the hammer. Heifers weighing 400kg averaged €2.56/kg; heifers weighing 400-500kg averaged €2.32/kg. In addition, beef heifers sold for €2.08/kg on average.

Heavy bullocks (>500kg) sold for an average price of €2.28/kg; the heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at an average price of €2.35/kg, while bullocks weighing 300-400kg averaged €2.51/kg.

In addition, over 100 cows went under the hammer last week and Murphy said these lots were in demand. The best of these, he said, was a December-2009 born Charolais cow. Accompanied by her Charolais bull calf, this pair sold for €1,630.

In the weanling ring, bulls (200-350kg) averaged €2.79/kg, while heavier lots (350-400kg) traded for €2.49/kg.

Tullow Mart

A smaller sale took place at Tullow Mart on Friday last. According to the mart’s Eric Driver, the trade was steady with a continued demand for forward store and beef cattle.

Friesian beef and forward bullocks sold for €190-235 over. A top price of €1,500 was achieved by a Friesian steer weighing 735kg.

Continental store and forward bullocks traded for €1.85-2.50/kg. Lighter lots sold for €1.80-2.70/kg. Some “exceptional” lots weighing 380-420kg made €3/kg.

In the heifer ring, beef and forward types traded for €1.95-2.40/kg, while Hereford and Angus store lots sold for €2/kg and up. Furthermore, some continental U-grade stores made close to €3/kg.

In the cull cow ring, Friesian lots traded for €400 over and continental cows sold for €300-900 over.

A full clearance was achieved in the calf ring. Friesian bulls – suitable for export – sold for €60-120/head. Angus and Hereford calves traded for €130-320/head, while continental types sold for €250-435/head.

Carnew Mart

Some 850 cattle and 450 calves went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last. The trade was reported as “excellent” with 300 weanling bulls meeting a strong farmer and exporter demand.

David Quinn, the mart manager, noted that there were more farmer customers for all types of store cattle.

Beef and store bullocks made €630-960 over, while Friesian steers sold for €180-590 along with their weight. Heifers were reported to trade well; stores made €280-770 over. Dry cows fetched €150-780 over.

400 calves were also on offer and these lots met a good farmer and exporter demand.

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €250-440/head;
  • Continental heifers: €160-360/head;
  • Hereford/Angus heifers: €110-345/head;
  • Hereford/Angus bulls: €150-360/head;
  • Friesian bulls: €30-225/head;

Ennis Mart

Ennis Mart’s annual cattle and show sale took place on Thursday last. According to the mart’s Danny Moran, there was some “cracking stock” on offer, but not too many beef cattle were entered.

“There was a lot of forward stock weighing 700kg upwards. These lots would make super cattle in six weeks,” he explained.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 464kg – €1,225 or €2.64/kg;
  • Limousin: 562kg – €1,490 or €2.65/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 645kg – €1,680 or €2.60/kg;
  • Charolais: 650kg – €1,800 or €2.77/kg.

Moran also noted the smaller number of stores present at the sale. In addition, almost all of the cattle on offer – in the heifer and bullock rings – were continental types.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 392kg – €1,075 or €2.74/kg;
  • Limousin: 462kg – €1,180 or €2.55/kg;
  • Charolais: 490kg – €1,280 or €2.61/kg;:
  • Charolais: 630kg – €1,570 or €2.49/kg.

Kilkenny Mart

A larger cattle sale, consisting of 650 animals, was witnessed in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Thursday last. Quality continental type animals increased by €30-50/head compared to the previous week’s returns, according to the mart’s George Candler.

Aberdeen Angus and Friesian bullocks have increased by €20-30/head.

Candler also outlined that the reason for the lower numbers was due to poor weather conditions.

Cull cows met a good selling trade. The continental culls on offer, he said, made €1.25-2.15/kg and the Friesian types made €0.85-1.70/kg.

Beef heifers (500-600kg) made €2.05-2.70/kg, €1.80-2.55/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.70-3.20/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Aberdeen Angus: 710kg – €1,500 or €2.11/kg;
  • Hereford: 675kg – €1,430 or €2.12/kg;
  • Limousin: 445kg – €1,050 or €2.36/kg;
  • Charolais: 495kg – €1,250 or €2.53/kg;
  • Charolais: 390kg – €1,050 or €2.69/kg;
  • Limousin: 340kg – €1,085 or €3.19/kg.

In the steer ring, Candler said quality beef and forward store lots sold well and the majority sold at €1.70-2.50/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Hereford: 665kg – €1,430 or €2.15/kg;
  • Charolais: 625kg – €1,565 or €2.50/kg;
  • Friesian: 580kg – €1,100 or €1.90/kg;
  • Limousin: 525kg – €1,480 or €2.82/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 495kg – €1,250 or €2.53/kg;
  • Hereford: 280kg – €705 or €2.52/kg.