Cattle marts: Factory agents make their presence felt at the ringside

Factory buyers have made their presence felt at the ringside in recent days and have been travelling to marts to secure suitable supplies.

Many farmers prioritised making silage and hay towards the latter end of last week and, as a result, the number of cattle marketed through factories declined.

Large entries of cattle were reported across a number of the country’s marts towards the end of last week. Farmers, butchers, exporters and factory agents were all present at the ringside, which lead to a strong trade for all types of cattle.

Cow prices were up €20-30/head on the previous week in certain locations, while trade remained similar for steers and heifers.

Balla Mart

Last Saturday saw the biggest July sale ever held at Balla Mart, according to the mart’s Anthony Murphy.

Stores steers (up to 400kg) sold for an average price of €2.81/kg. The best of these was a May-born Limousin, weighing 380kg. The steer sold for €1,135 or €2.99/kg.

Steers (400-500kg) made an average price of €2.74/kg, similar to last week’s trade. A 475kg April-born Charolais steer sold for €1,300 or €2.73/kg. Heavier lots on the day (500kg+) traded for an average price of €2.22/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • One Charolais steer: 290kg – €975 or €3.36/kg;
  • One Limousin steer: 380kg – €1,135 or €2.99/kg;
  • One Charolais steer: 475kg – €1,300 or €2.74/kg;
  • One Charolais steer: 675kg – €1,715 or €2.54/kg;
  • One Aberdeen Angus steer: 735kg – €1,780 or €2.42/kg.

Heifer prices

There was 280 lots of heifers on offer in Balla Mart on Saturday. Murphy reported that these lots met a better trade than last week. Heifers (up to 400kg) sold for an average price of €2.57/kg, while those suitable for export made €2.84/kg.

The best on the day was a light May-born Limousin heifer weighing 385kg. The heifer sold for €1,210 or €3.14/kg.

Similar to last week, there was some great quality, heavy heifers on offer at the Mayo-based venue. Heifers weighing 400-500kg made €2.56/kg, while the heavier lots (500kg+) sold for an average price of €2.25/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • One Charolais heifer: 280kg – €900 or €3.21/kg;
  • One Limousin heifer: 385kg – €1,210 or €3.14/kg;
  • One Simmental heifer: 460kg – €1,440 or €3.13/kg;
  • One Limousin heifer: 590kg – €1,600 or €2.71/kg.

Some 110 cows also passed through the ring on Saturday in Balla Mart. Best on the day was a Charolais cow with a Limousin bull calf at foot. The pair sold for €1,870. Dry cows on offer sold for an average price of €1.81/kg.

Tullow Mart

Trade was strong for all classes of cattle in Tullow Mart on Friday last, with over 200 cattle on offer on the day.

Steers met a very active trade, with noticeable demand from factory agents around the ring.

Sample heavier steer prices (all coming up on three years of age):
  • One Charolais steer: 1,065kg – €2,130 or €2.00/kg;
  • One Limousin steer: 890kg – €1,880 or €2.11/kg;
  • One Limousin steer: 875kg – €1,960 or €2.24/kg;
  • One Aberdeen Angus steer: 900kg – €1,860 or €2.06/kg.

Farmers continued to drive the store trade in the Carlow-based venue. Plainer Hereford and Aberdeen Angus types sold for €2.00-2.30/kg, while better-quality continental steers made €2.28-2.50/kg.

Stores (380-430kg) sold for €2.39-2.44/kg, while lighter lots, weighing 300kg, made €820-830/head or €2.73-2.76/kg.

The heifer trade was also lively last Friday in Tullow Mart, with lots selling from €800 to €1,020 with the weight.

Hereford and Aberdeen Angus stores traded at €2.00/kg, while continentals sold for up to €2.30/kg. Heifers weighing 400kg saw most demand, with prices of €950-1,100 achieved on the day.

Cow prices improve

Cow prices were up €20-30/head on the previous week in Tullow Mart. Continental cows sold for up to €700 with the weight. Young cows with calves at foot were in demand on the day. Lots sold for €1,300-1,700/head.

In addition, a number of weanlings passed through the ring on Friday. Weanling bulls sold for €2.10-2.40/kg, while heifers made €2.00-2.40/kg.

Castlerea Mart

Last Thursday’s sale in Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon saw 480 cattle on offer. Steers, heifers and store cattle were reported in demand. Weanling prices were strong on the day – especially for the quality lots.

Sample steer prices:
  • One Limousin steer: 460kg – €1,310 or €2.85/kg;
  • One Charolais steer: 450kg – €1,230 or €2.73/kg;
  • One Limousin steer: 455kg – €1,205 or €2.65/kg;
  • One Charolais steer: 555kg – €1,255 or €2.26/kg;
  • One Charolais steer: 580kg – €1,475 or €2.54/kg;
  • One Limousin steer: 570kg – €1,450 or €2.54/kg;
  • One Aberdeen Angus steer: 645kg – €1,470 or €2.28/kg;
  • One Charolais steer: 675kg – €1,500 or €2.22/kg.

Heifers traded similarly on the day at €2.54-2.88/kg. A number of cows also passed through the ring on Thursday; cows with calves at foot sold for €980-2,060/head and dry cows made €2.00-2.11/kg.

Weanlings in demand

Exporters continued to make their presence felt around the ringside and were keen to purchase weanlings, according to Castlerea mart’s Brendan Egan.

Sample weanling bull prices:
  • One Charolais bull: 295kg – €905 or €3.07/kg;
  • One Limousin bull: 270kg – €850 or €3.15/kg;
  • One Limousin bull: 255kg – €740 or €2.90/kg;
  • One Charolais bull: 400kg – €1,095 or €2.74/kg;
  • One Limousin bull: 410kg – €1,100 or €2.68/kg.

Raphoe Mart

There was a strong trade for all types of cattle at last Thursday’s sale in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal. Farmers, butchers, shippers and factory agents were all very active at the ringside.

Top class bulls (600kg+) made €920-980 with the weight. Steers traded well last Thursday, with lots selling for €2.20-2.80/kg. Heifers achieved similar prices at the Donegal-based venue and made €2.10-2.80/kg or €480-825 over.

A number of dry cows were also on offer and these traded at €600-1,615/head.