Cattle marts: Drought takes its toll on the market

The drought that currently has Ireland in its grasp has had a negative impact on the trade at the ringside. Customers are scarce due to the lack of grass growth, while some farmers have offloaded cattle to reduce feed demand.

On the other hand, as a result of the downturn in the market, some sellers have opted not to sell stock and this has resulted in small sales taking place across the country.

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.

However, the export trade has remained steady. Shippers finalising consignments have kept a floor under weanling bull prices; however, weanling heifers are an easier trade.

Also Read: Pics and prices: Exporters drive the trade at Mountrath Mart’s E and U-grade sale

Kilkenny Mart

Kilkenny Mart auctioneer George Candler said: “Rain is badly needed to promote grass growth; but with no evidence of that happening, marts are going to be under pressure to find customers to purchase the limited number of animals that do appear.”

A small sale took place at Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Thursday last; prices were reported to be similar to the previous week’s sale.

Candler noted that the trade was a bit “sharper” for quality continental stock and that sellers and buyers are in the same situation, as the grass shortage is having a negative effect on the trade.

Beef bullocks (500-600kg) made €1.80-2.52/kg, €1.70-2.51/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.50-2.55/kg.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 880kg – €1,880 or €2.14/kg;
  • Charolais: 555kg – €1,080 or €1.95/kg;
  • Limousin: 470kg – €1,180 or €2.51/kg;
  • Charolais: 440kg – €1,020 or €2.32/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 380kg – €750 or €1.97/kg;
  • Hereford: 350kg – €650 or €1.86/kg.

In the heifer ring, Candler said that beef and forward store lots sold for €1.80-2.10/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Simmental: 740kg – €1,570 or €2.12/kg;
  • Charolais: 560kg – €1,200 or €2.14/kg;
  • Hereford: 550kg – €1,100 or €2.00/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 430kg – €810 or €1.88/kg;
  • Limousin: 395kg – €890 or €2.25/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 360kg – €750 or €2.08/kg.

Moving to the cull cow trade, continental lots sold for €0.70-1.70/kg, while the Friesian lots on offer made €1.10-2.03/kg.

Ennis Mart

Numbers were reported to be down on Thursday compared to the previous week’s sale in the bullock and heifer rings at Ennis Mart. However, cull cow numbers were reported to be holding well; a mix of both dairy and continental cows were on offer.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 452kg – €1,265 or €2.79/kg;
  • Limousin: 552kg – €1,310 or €2.37/kg;
  • Friesian: 690kg – €1,275 or €1.85/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 565kg – €1,000 or €1.77/kg.

A number of aged bulls passed through the ring on Thursday. A top price of €1,400 was achieved by a Charolais bull weighing 805kg; aged bulls generally sold for €1.55-1.74/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 410kg – €1,090 or €2.66/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 505kg – €950 or €1.88/kg;
  • Charolais: 473kg – €1,050 or €2.22/kg;
  • Parthenaise: 580kg – €1,400 or €2.41/kg.

The mart’s spokesperson noted that quality lots were still maintaining prices, but the €2.00/kg mark for cull cows is now extremely hard achieved.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Limousin: 700kg – €1,280 or €1.83/kg;
  • Charolais: 645kg – €1,180 or €1.83/kg;
  • Hereford: 710kg – €1,060 or €1.49/kg;
  • Friesian: 595kg – €990 or €1.66/kg.

Castlerea Mart

350 cattle were presented for sale at Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon, on Thursday (July 5). According to the mart’s Brendan Egan, the demand for store-type cattle is holding firm.

“Bullocks, heifers and dry cows recorded prices similar to previous weeks, with plainer-type stock tending to be a little harder sold,” he said.

Sample heifer and steer prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 385kg – €970 or €2.51/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 410kg – €1,000 or €2.43/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 580kg – €1,395 or €2.40/kg;
  • Charolais bullock: 400kg – €1,085 or €2.71/kg;
  • Limousin bullock: 380kg – €1,120 or €2.94/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus bullock: 590kg – €1,345 or €2.28/kg.

Weanlings and breeding stock reported good clearances and Brendan noted that top-quality weanlings were in strong demand.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 320kg – €790 or €2.46/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 295kg – €750 or €2.54/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 285kg – €825 or €2.89/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 250kg – €780 or €3.12/kg.

Furthermore, cows with calves at foot made €1,080-1,890, while springers sold for €1,000-1,500/head.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Charolais: 630kg – €1,365 or €2.16/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 690kg – €1,365 or €1.97/kg;
  • Charolais: 750kg – €1,390 or €1.85/kg;
  • Hereford: 440kg – €720 or €1.63/kg.

In the calf ring, young calves traded for €120-350/head, while stronger runners made from €350/head to €580/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.

“The trade for some cattle is steady, while others remain more difficult to sell. Fat cows and plainer bulls were back in price on the previous week’s sale,” she said.

Heifers and bullocks were also reported to be at similar prices to previous weeks. Beef bullocks made €600-770 over and lighter store steers sold for €505-1,030 over.

Beef heifers made €540-1,030 over and store heifers traded at €385-685 over or €2.10-2.70/kg. Fat, well-fleshed dry cows sold for €495-1,385/head.