Cattle marts: Drought conditions still affecting mart trading

Although rain has fallen in some areas in Ireland, it didn’t even scratch the surface in terms of grass growth. Again, small sales have taken place at marts across the country; customers are still quiet, while poor prices have discouraged some farmers from selling.

Poorer-quality cattle have come on stream and prices have decreased for these animals. Cattle with dairy influence are still struggling and are negatively effecting the trade.

The export trade has remained steady in recent times, with exporters in the market for weanling bulls. However, farmers are also in the market for good-quality bulls.

Again, it’s the quality of the stock that is driving prices. Good-quality forward stock are proving popular among farmer customers.

Friesian cull cows coming on stream have also negatively affected the trade and many of these lots have been sold for under the €1.00/kg mark.

Carnew Mart

Some 450 cattle and 40 calves went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last; a full clearance was reported with beef and forward cattle proving popular. Bulls were also reported to be in demand from export buyers.

Continental store bullocks made €450-810 over, while Friesian stores sold for €130-560 along with their weight. Beef and forward bullocks sold for €580-930 over.

Heifers were reported to trade well; stores made €320-680 over, while beef lots went under the hammer for €550-900 along with their weight.

Beef cows fetched €450-810 over, while store cows made €100-380 over. The weanling bulls on offer sold in the region of €380-760 over.

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €200-295;
  • Continental heifers: €160-875;
  • Friesian bulls: €90-140.

Raphoe Mart

Forward cattle, suitable for further feeding, met with a better trade in Raphoe Mart last week, according to the mart’s manager, Anne Harkin.

However, plainer cattle were harder to sell. She also noted that bulls and bullocks sold for €2.00-2.50/kg, while heifers made €2.10-2.50/kg.

In the cow ring, fat cows generally traded from €650/head to €1,260/head.

Raphoe Mart  prices:
  • Store steers – €400-735 over;
  • Store heifers – €340-510 over;
  • Dry cows – €650-1,260 each.

Ennis Mart

Numbers were reported to be up in the dry cow and heifer ring at Ennis Mart on Thursday last; bullock numbers were reported to be holding, according to the mart’s Michael Martin.

Plainer heifers were reported to have improved slightly, while the younger store bullocks “held the trade very well”.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 347kg – €930 or €2.68/kg;
  • Limousin: 450kg – €1,120 or €2.49/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 537kg – €1,100 or €2.04/kg;
  • Hereford: 630kg – €1,230 or €1.96/kg.

A number of aged bulls passed through the ring on Thursday and the best of these, a Hereford bull, made a top price of €1,740. He weighed 1,045kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 358kg – €845 or €2.35/kg;
  • Charolais: 355kg – €720 or €2.03/kg;
  • Hereford: 346kg – €645 or €1.85/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 575kg – €1,290 or €2.25/kg.

Beef and store cows met a steady demand, with the trade similar to previous weeks. However, there was a little bit more life to the trade for forward lots.

Sample cull cow prices:
  • Limousin: 655kg – €1,240 or €1.81/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 535kg – €950 or €1.77/kg;
  • Charolais: 850kg – €1,680 or €1.97/kg;
  • Friesian: 570kg – €780 or €1.73/kg.

Ballinrobe Mart

Cattle numbers were reported to be on par with last week’s levels at Ballinrobe Mart, Co. Mayo, on Wednesday last, according to the mart’s manager Tom Jordan.

He noted: “The trade is still on the quieter side, probably partially due to the shortage of grass and the uncertainty surrounding the factory prices.”

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 415kg – €1,105 or €2.66/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 385kg – €1,035 or €2.69/kg;
  • Charolais: 325kg – €1,000 or €3.08/kg.

A number of weanling bulls also passed through the Mayo-based venue. The top price in this category went to a Limousin bull weighing 325kg; he sold for €815 or €2.20/kg.

In the cow ring, a top price of €1,645 was paid for a Belgian Blue cow; she weighed 775kg. A Limousin cow with a Charolais heifer calf made €1,480.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 370kg – €1,045 or €2.82/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 635kg – €1,345 or €2.12/kg;
  • Hereford: 525kg – €1,070 or €2.04/kg.