Cattle marts: Cull cows prove popular as agents and farmers remain busy

Mart managers have reported good clearances in recent days; both farmers and agents have been busy sourcing cattle.

Farmers – especially those in drier regions – are sourcing cattle for grazing. These farmers – albeit a small number at the moment – have had a positive impact on the market.

Buoyed by an increased demand for manufacturing beef, factory-fit cull cows achieved high prices. Well-fleshed cows – in some cases – realised prices in excess of €2.00/kg. However, plainer cows are proving an easier trade.

As cattle are finished, farmers have been eager to replace finished animals with good-quality forward cattle. Stores falling into this category have achieved the best prices.

Furthermore, in the weanling rings, quality remains the main driver of price, with high prices achieved by premium lots.

Balla Mart

Approximately 900 cattle were on offer at Saturday’s (April 7) sale at Balla Mart. The trade was reported as strong. The mart’s manager Micheal Murphy outlined that some buyers were surprised by the quality of the cattle on offer.

Store bullocks (up to 400kg) sold for an average price of €2.60/kg and the heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at €2.29/kg. Steers weighing 500kg and above averaged €2.28/kg.

Murphy added that 300 heifers were on offer and prices had increased on the previous week. Heifers weighing up to 400kg averaged €2.63/kg, while lots weighing between 400kg and 500kg made €2.47/kg on average.

In addition, 100 cows went under the hammer on Saturday. The best of these, he said, was a 965kg, February-2011 born, Charolais cow. She sold for €2,000. Generally speaking, dry cows averaged €1.80/kg.

Kilrush Mart

Numbers were reported to be strong at Kilrush Mart on Wednesday, April 4. On the day, calves met a good demand from both farmers and exporters.

Sample steer prices:
  • Hereford: 538kg – €1,125 or €2.09/kg;
  • Friesian: 415kg – €765 or €1.84/kg;
  • Limousin: 440kg – €1,110 or €2.52/kg;
  • Charolais: 305kg – €925 or €3.03/kg.

Continental calves sold for up to €400/head, while early-maturing types traded for €130-300/head.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 265kg – €720 or €2.71/kg;
  • Charolais: 307kg – €780 or €2.54/kg;
  • Hereford: 260kg – €525 or €2.02/kg;
  • Friesian: 440kg – €775 or €1.76/kg.

Castlerea Mart

Despite the poor weather conditions and lack of grass growth, the trade was reported as strong at Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon, on Thursday (April 5). Quality store lots were in demand, as factory agents, exporters and farmers competed for stock.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 410kg – €1,020 or €2.48/kg;
  • Limousin: 495kg – €1,245 or €2.51/kg;
  • Charolais: 595kg – €1,535 or €2.57/kg;
  • Charolais: 580kg – €1,465 or €2.52/kg;
  • Limousin: 705kg – €1,640 or €2.32/kg.

Heifers and cows traded well and breeding stock achieved good clearances. Furthermore, top-quality weanlings proved to be popular.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 360kg – €1,025 or €2.84/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 290kg – €870 or €3.00/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 295kg – €940 or €3.18/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 180kg – €615 or €3.41/kg.

According to the mart’s Brendan Egan, cows with calves at foot made up to €1,800/head and in-calf cows traded for €800-1,500/head.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Charolais: 870kg – €1,700 or €1.95/kg;
  • Limousin: 720kg – €1,445 or €2.00/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 740kg – €1,455 or €1.96/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 820kg – €1,430 or €1.74/kg.

In addition, calves met an improved trade, as better-quality animals were on offer.

Sample calf prices:
  • Hereford bull: €325/head;
  • Hereford heifer: €295/head;
  • Charolais bull: €600/head;
  • Aberdeen Angus bull: €200/head;
  • Aberdeen Angus heifer: €355/head.

Raphoe Mart

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

There was an excellent trade for all stock on offer.

Top-class bulls (weighing over 600kg) sold at €580-1,005 over, the mart manager stated. Beef bullocks made €670-990 over and lighter steers sold for €520-920 along with their weight.

Beef heifers made €605-880 over and store heifers traded at €350-755 over or €2.20-3.25/kg. Fat, well-fleshed cows sold at €900-1,375/head.

Ennis Mart

A large sale took place at Ennis Mart on Thursday last (April 5). According to the mart’s Danny Moran, the trade is holding firm despite no improvements in grass growth or ground conditions.

He said: “Lighter and plain cattle are an easier trade, but forward lots are holding. Both farmers and agents were active around all rings, with forward cattle proving to be the most popular.”

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 445kg – €1,245 or €2.79/kg;
  • Limousin: 595kg – €1,590 or €2.67/kg;
  • Friesian: 700kg – €1,315 or €1.87/kg;
  • Hereford: 460kg – €1,125 or €2.44/kg.

A Limousin stock bull, weighing 1,050kg, also passed through the ring of the Clare-based venue; he sold for €1,800.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 470kg – €1,165 or €2.47/kg;
  • Limousin: 500kg – €1,275 or €2.55/kg;
  • Charolais: 480kg – €1,235 or €2.57/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 600kg – €1,130 or €1.88/kg.

A large number of cull cows also went under the hammer. The quality was reported as excellent. Store cows, suitable for grazing, proved to be very popular among buyers.

Sample cull cow prices:
  • Limousin: 630kg – €1,500 or €2.38/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 685kg – €1,345 or €1.97/kg;
  • Charolais: 465kg – €940 or €2.02/kg;
  • Friesian: 475kg – €780 or €1.64/kg;
  • Hereford: 780kg – €1,400 or €1.64/kg.