Cattle marts: Exporters keeping a floor under weanling prices

Both exporters and farmers are battling for quality weanlings at the ringside which, in turn, is helping to boost prices.

However, this is the case when it comes to heifers and lighter bulls, but mart managers have noted a depressed appetite for heavier bulls.

This is likely to continue with no sign of a price improvement, and with Brexit and bull-beef uncertainty, farmers are proceeding with an air of caution.

With low beef prices on offer from the beef processors, the trade for short-keep cattle is slow.

Castlerea Mart

The mart’s manager Brendan Egan outlined that prices on Thursday last, August 29, varied depending on the type of stock on offer.

“The lighter quality stores witnessed a good demand, while the forward plainer-type lots were a tougher trade,” he said. “The cow trade has remained strong and runners and breeding stock reported good clearances, while the weanling trade was helped by strong export demand.”

Sample heifer and steer prices:
  • Charolais bullock: 485kg – €1,315 or €2.71/kg;
  • Limousin bullock: 500kg – €1,070 or €2.14/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus bullock: 475kg – €1,110 or €2.33/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 480kg – €1,050 or €2.18/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 405kg – €885 or €2.18/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus heifer: 410kg – €970 or €2.36/kg.

Brendan noted that, in the calf ring, larger numbers were on offer and prices ranged from €170/head to €700/head for continental lots.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Aberdeen Angus heifer: 290kg – €500 or €1.72/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 345kg – €865 or €2.50/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 295kg – €800 or €2.71/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 355kg – €930 or €2.61/kg.

Furthermore, springers made €700-1,100/head, while cows with calves at foot made €920-1,400/unit. In addition, a number of dry cows were also on offer.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Limousin: 835kg – €1,530 or €1.83/kg;
  • Limousin: 785kg – €1,370 or €1.74/kg;
  • Charolais: 780kg – €1,550 or €1.98/kg;
  • Limousin: 470kg – €955 or €2.03/kg.

Carnew Mart

Some 635 cattle and 60 calves went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last. David Quinn, the mart manager, said that the trade was generally improved on the previous week’s sale, with weanling bulls increasing in price.

Live exporters were reported to be very active for light continental bulls, paying up to €3.00/kg for suitable lots.

In addition, more farmer customers were reported to be in the market for heavy bulls – which have struggled in recent times; cull cows met an excellent trade as did all beef cattle, David said.

Sample heifer and steer prices:
  • Charolais bulls: 301kg – €800 or €2.65/kg;
  • Hereford bulls: 668kg – €1,060 or €1.58/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus bulls: 384kg – €635 or €1.65/kg;
  • Charolais heifers: 511kg – €1,040 or €2.03/kg;
  • Limousin heifers: 696kg – €1,530 or €2.19/kg;
  • Charolais heifers: 470kg – €1,020 or €2.17/kg.

Raphoe Mart

There was a bigger sale held at Raphoe Mart on Thursday last, August 29. The mart manager Anne Harkin noted that there was more quality cattle on offer which lead to more brisk bidding around the sale ring.

“It is very evident that buyers are looking for quality in-spec cattle,” she said.

Bulls sold for €1.70-2.10/kg and heifers made €1.90-2.40/kg. In addition, bullocks went under the hammer for prices ranging from €1.80/kg to €2.30/kg.

In addition, fat cows sold for €735-1,260/head.

Headford Mart

Headford Mart held its weekly cattle sale on Saturday last, August 31. On the day, bullock prices ranged from €146 to €720 over or from €1.38/kg to €2.39/kg, according to the mart’s manager Joe Wynne.

A Charolais bullock weighing 580kg achieved the top price of €1,300 or €2.24/kg. Looking at the top price on a €/kg basis, this went to a Limousin bullock weighing 360kg; he sold for €880 or €2.39/kg.

In the heifer ring, these lots made €240-660 along with the weight or €1.58-2.63/kg. A Limousin heifer achieved a top price of €1,260 (€2.10/kg); she weighed 600kg. Furthermore, €2.02/kg (€1,310) was paid for an Aberdeen Angus heifer weighing 650kg.

Cull cows were reported to sell for €550-1,280/head.