Cattle marts: Farmers and exporters fight it out for the best weanlings

Exporters are finding it difficult to purchase weanlings, as farmers are stepping in to buy these cattle, according to Eric Driver, the Mart Manager in Tullow Mart.

Driver said that farmers are paying up to €2.40-2.50/kg for weanling bulls and heifers for further feeding, which is making it difficult for exporters to purchase the cattle they want.

On Friday, he said that store steers under 500kg sold from €2.00-2.80/kg, while similar type store heifers traded at €2.10-3.00/kg.

He also said that farmers have shifted their breeding systems in recent years, which has resulted in fewer Belgian Blue cattle being sold in the mart.

Weanling producers are focusing on producing Charolais and Limousin cattle which are suitable for both the domestic and export market, he said.

Like Tullow Mart, farmers purchased most of the weanlings on offer in Scariff Mart on Saturday, according to the Mart Manager Gerry Finnerty.

Finnerty said the smaller number of weanlings on offer helped the trade, with the weanling bulls and heifers trading from €2.36-2.53/kg and €2.37-2.93/kg respectively.

Sample weanling prices in Scariff:
  • Sim heifer: 390kg – €920
  • Sim heifer: 355kg – €870
  • Ch heifer: 355kg – €900
  • Lm bull: 305kg – €765
  • Lm bull: 255kg – €715
  • Ch bull: 280kg – €820

Cattle round up

Kilkenny Mart

There was a much bigger sale of cattle in Kilkenny Mart on Thursday, according to the Mart Auctioneer George Candler.

Candler said there were plenty of customers around the ring, which resulted in an excellent trade for store cattle. Light store steers  peaked at €3.08/kg and heifers sold to a tops of €3.05/kg, he said.

The forward and beef steers on offer in the Kilkenny venue sold from €1.80-2.40/kg for the lots weighing over 600kg, while lots weighing from 400-600kg traded at €1.75-2.80/kg.

Beef heifers met with a similar trade, with these lots selling from €2.00-2.50/kg, while the forward store heifers made €2.00-2.75/kg or €600-800 over.

The light store heifers also sold well, Candler said, as these lots traded from €2.00-3.10/kg.

He also said that in-calf cows sold from €950-1,350, while cull cows made €1.15-1.70/kg for the plainer Friesian types and continental cows made from €1.35-1.90/kg.

Tullow Mart

There was 420 cattle on offer in Tullow Mart on Friday, with the trade holding similar to last week, according to Eric Driver.

Driver said that in-spec steers under 30 months of age met with a good trade, but the plainer aged types continued to meet resistance from buyers. These lots traded from €450-980 over.

He also said that demand was best for the well fleshed heifers, with these lots trading from €550-960 over.

The Mart Manager said that there was plenty of farmer custom for steers, as lots over 500kg made €600-870 over, while lots under 500kg made €2.00-2.80/kg.

The heavier store heifers made from €640-780 over he said, while the lighter lots sold from €2.10-3.00/kg.

Driver also said that the plainer Friesian calves had improved by about €10/head, with the Friesian lots suitable for shipping selling from €40-85 and the strong Friesian bulls traded up to €175 each.

Mohill Mart

Mohill Mart held a special sale of in-calf cows and cows with calves on Saturday, according to the Mart Manager Steven Hannon.

Despite all the turmoil over the Beef Data and Genomics Programme earlier in the year, Hannon said purchasers of cows never looked for the cows star rating

Hannon said they were over 100 lots on offer and young cows and in-calf heifers sold well, but older aged cows were a little harder to sell.

The Mart Manager said that young cows with calves at foot sold to a tops of €2,500 each, while aged cows were a little easier at €1,300-1,500.