Cattle marts: Exporters focus on continental stock

Despite a high level of throughput over recent days, exporters have remained busy sourcing continental cattle for Turkish and Italian markets.

Muscled-type weanlings met the strongest demand and buyers were particularly keen to acquire E and U-grade Limousin, Charolais and Belgian Blue heifers.

Buoyed by exporter demand, these heifers sold for in excessive of €3/kg in some venues across the country in recent days.

Castlerea Mart

Castlerea Mart held its annual show and sale of weanlings on Thursday last. This sale was held in conjunction with its usual weekly sale.

Brendan Egan, the mart manager, said: “A large entry of top-quality weanlings met a very lively trade, with some very fancy prices paid for the top lots.

On the day, bull weanlings made up to €4.15/kg; a top price of €4.50/kg was paid for heifers.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais bull: 295kg – €985 or €3.33/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 405kg – €1,380 or €3.40/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 415kg – €1,210 or €2.91/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 250kg – €1,030 or €4.12/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 300kg – €1,250 or €4.16/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 300kg – €1,350 or €4.50/kg. 

Cows with calves at foot sold for €720-1,620, while in-calf cows made €700-1,510. In addition, dry cows traded at €665-1,420.

Raphoe Mart

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

She added that this resulted in a better trade for all types of cattle, as buyers were anxious to secure the quality lots on offer.

Top-class bulls weighing over 600kg sold at €660-875 over or €2.20-2.75/kg, the mart manager said. Beef bullocks made €600-945 over and lighter stores made €2.20-2.75/kg.

Beef heifers made €500-810 over and store heifers traded at €350-930 over or €2.20-2.80/kg.

Ennis Mart

There was a strong trade in Ennis Mart on Thursday last, according to Danny Moran, and stores again proved the best trade.

There was plenty of interest in all types of cattle, he said, with farmers and agents being the main drivers of price.

Generally speaking, steers made €1.73-2.76/kg; factory fit cattle were a strong trade and sold up to €2.43/kg. In addition, heifers weighing 350-500kg sold for €2.71/kg and heavier lots (over 500kg) made €2.02-2.54/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 390kg – €1,055 or €2.71/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 625kg – €1,310 or €2.10/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 490kg – €1,110 or €2.27/kg;
  • Charolais: 535kg – €1,300 or €2.43/kg. 

Moran added that there was a full clearance in the cull cow ring and good continentals sold for €1.67-2.17/kg; the dairy cows on offer traded at €0.95-1.50/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Limousin: 585kg – €1,500 or €2.56/kg;
  • Charolais: 520kg – €1,360 or €2.62/kg;
  • Charolais: 580kg – €1,410 or €2.43/kg;
  • Blonde D’Aquitaine: 490kg – €1,220 or €2.49/kg.

Balla Mart

Approximately 1,000 cattle were on offer at Saturday’s sale in Balla Mart. The feature of the sale was the large number of heavy continental cattle in both the steer and heifer rings.

The mart manager, Michael Murphy, said store bullocks (up to 400kg) sold for an average price of €2.21/kg; the heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at €2.67/kg. Murphy added that 350 heifers were on offer and the light types made €2.24/kg.

In addition, some 150 cows went under the hammer last week and Murphy said there was was some nice in-calf cows up for grabs.

The best of these, he said, was an April-2011 born Limousin cow. Accompanied by a Limousin bull calf, this pair sold for €1,760.

Tullow Mart

Tullow Mart hosted its annual heifer show and sale on Saturday. The mart manager, Eric Driver, reported a lively heifer trade. This came as exporters made their presence felt at the ringside.

E and U-grade heifers, along with the plainer Charolais and Limousin heifers, proved popular among the buyers in attendance.

E and U-grade Belgian Blue heifers traded at €2.70-3.20/kg and the majority of the prize winning lots sold for over €3/kg.

Good R-grade Limousin and Charolais heifers, weighing 380-420kg, sold for €880-1,000; some of the heavier types (530-540kg) traded at €1,250-1,300.

Lighter store heifers, he said, met a very active trade from the exporters; the majority of these Charolais and Limousin animals made €2.20-2.50/kg