Cattle marts: Cows take a hit at the ringside

Following on from a dip in cow returns at factory level, the prices being achieved by cows have dipped somewhat in marts over recent days.

Factory-fit cows have been hit hardest and where returns of over €2.00/kg were common a few weeks ago, it’s now becoming harder and harder for such animals to achieve such returns.

In addition, store cows prices have also come under some degree of pressure and this relates back to falling grass growth rates in drought-affected areas.

Tullow Mart

Tullow Mart held its monthly continental and weanling sale on Friday last and 400 cattle were on offer. Commenting on the sale, the mart’s Eric Driver said the trade remained steady – especially for quality continental cattle of all weights.

On the day, forward Friesian steers sold from €1.90/kg and up, while the good continental bullocks traded at €1,000-1,050 over.

Store steers (<500kg) met a very demanding trade, he noted, and Charolais, Limousin and Simmental types – weighing 450-500kg – traded at €1,200-1,420. Meanwhile, the plainer Friesian and Angus bullocks sold for €1.80/kg, while the better quality Hereford and Angus lots traded at €2.00-2.20/kg.

Moving on to heifer returns, a very lively trade was reported for beef heifers and prices of €800-1,020 were achieved on the day. Hereford and Angus store heifers traded at €2.00-2.20/kg and the better-quality continental lots sold for €2.30-2.75/kg.

When it comes to the weanling trade, a full clearance was recorded on the back of activity from shippers and buyers. On the day, the plainer Limousin bulls sold from €2.20/kg, while the better quality animals made €2.40-3.05/kg.

In the cull cow department, Friesian cows sold for €100-150 over, while the continental types made €200-850 over. In-calf cows sold from €1,200 up to €1,650 on the day.

Balla Mart

A great trade was reported at Balla Mart’s weekly cattle sale on Saturday last, but numbers are said to be dropping on a week-to-week basis.

Looking at bullock returns first, lots weighing 300-400kg sold for an average price of €2.74/kg; the best of these was a 365kg Charolais steer, which sold for €1,116 or €3.18/kg.

In addition, bullocks weighing 400-500kg sold to an average price of €3.02/kg and the heavier lots on offer (>500kg) averaged €2.14/kg.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 290kg – €940 or €3.24/kg;
  • Charolais: 365kg – €1,160 or €3.18/kg;
  • Charolais: 475kg – €1,410 or €2.97/kg;
  • Limousin: 540kg – €1,300 or €2.41/kg;
  • Charolais: 685kg – €1,500 or €2.19/kg.

Meanwhile, heifers weighing up to 400kg averaged €2.53/kg, lots weighing 400-500kg sold to an average of €2.48/kg and the heavier lots (>500kg) made an average of €2.46/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 280kg – €880 or €3.14/kg;
  • Limousin: 335kg – €1,060 or €3.16/kg;
  • Charolais: 485kg – €1,310 or €2.70/kg;
  • Simmental: 565kg – €1,430 or €2.53/kg.

Moving on to cow returns, dry cows sold for an average price of €1.80/kg on the day; the best price was achieved by an 800kg, October-2012 born, Charolais cow that sold for €1,770 or €2.21/kg.

Kilkenny Mart

Throughput remained similar to the previous week at Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, and some 680 cattle passed through the ring.

The mart’s George Candler commented that the trade remained excellent for beef and forward store cattle. Light continental stores – both bullocks and heifers – were also in demand, he added.

Light Friesian bullocks and Angus and Hereford steers from the dairy herd met a much more difficult trade and the majority sold at €1.40-1.90/kg; very few broke the €2.00/kg barrier.

Looking at steer returns first, forward animals (>600kg) achieved prices of €1,150-1,690 or €1.80-2.55/kg and forward stores (500-600kg) sold at €1.80-2.50/kg. In addition, store steers (400-500kg) made €1.65-2.90/kg and prices of €1.50-3.31/kg were paid for animals falling within the <400kg category.

Sample steer prices:
  • Limousin: 695kg – €1,690 or €2.43/kg;
  • Charolais: 580kg – €1,400 or €2.41/kg;
  • Friesian: 525kg – €1,040 or €1.98/kg;
  • Simmental: 485kg – €1,300 or €2.68/kg;
  • Hereford: 330kg – €690 or €2.09/kg;
  • Limousin: 310kg – €860 or €2.77/kg.

Moving on to heifer returns, beef heifers sold at €2.00-2.30/kg, forward store heifers achieved prices of €1.85-2.55/kg and the light store lots made €1.70-2.90/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Hereford: 585kg – €1,195 or €2.04/kg;
  • Hereford: 540kg – €1,120 or €2.07/kg;
  • Limousin: 495kg – €1,150 or €2.32/kg;
  • Charolais: 430kg – €1,090 or €2.53/kg;
  • Limousin: 360kg – €870 or €2.42/kg;
  • Angus: 305kg – €665 or €2.18/kg;
  • Limousin: 295kg – €760 or €2.58/kg.

Castlerea Mart

A larger number of cattle was presented for sale at Castlerea Mart’s weekly sale on Saturday last. Buoyed by good growth, a very strong trade prevailed for all classes of quality store cattle.

Heifers, bullocks and weanlings reported some excellent prices for the time of year, while breeding stock and dry cows reported good clearances also.

On the day, the best of the light, store steers sold at €2.90-3.57/kg and the forward store and beef classes made €2.35-2.61/kg. Meanwhile, store heifers (400-480kg) traded at €2.62-2.74/kg and the forward classes (520-650kg) made €2.33-2.69/kg.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Limousin heifer: 295kg – €915 or €3.10/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 395kg – €1,185 or €3.00/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 345kg – €1,050 or €3.04/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 430kg – €1,140 or €2.65/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 285kg – €870 or €3.05/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 275kg – €800 or €2.91/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 320kg – €1,005 or €3.14/kg;
  • Belgian Blue bull: 390kg – €1,185 or €3.04/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 375kg – €1,160 or €3.09/kg.

Meanwhile, dry cows sold from €800 up to €1,765, cows with calves at foot made €1,170-1,820 and in-calf cows traded at €1,060-1,085.