Cattle marts: Feedlot buyers adding competition at the ringside

Feedlot buyers have made their presence felt at the ringside over recent days; short-keep cattle are particularly in demand.

However, more increasingly, they are finding tough competition from farmers, who are aiming to source stock before the peak grass buying period kicks into gear.

Weanling bulls – in particular – have met strong demand over recent days, as exporters and farmers go toe-to-toe to secure these lots. In addition, finished cows prices have also remained solid and many of the better-quality continental lots have achieved prices exceeding – or at the very least touching – the €2/kg mark.

Castlerea Mart

Last Thursday’s sale in Castlerea Mart featured bigger numbers and the mart’s Brendan Egan said: “Forward store cattle, in particular, were a very lively trade in both the heifer and bullock rings.”

Weanlings continued to met a good trade, he said, with strong farmer, feedlot and export demand evident. Quality Limousin and Charolais bulls traded for €2.82-3.15/kg, while similar type heifers made €2.70-3.21/kg.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais bull: 280kg – €875 or €3.13/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 425kg – €1,265 or €2.98/kg;
  • Simmental bull: 405kg – €1,130 or €2.79/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 395kg – €1,115 or €2.82/kg;
  • Belgian Blue heifer: 285kg – €845 or €2.96/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 260kg – €760 or €2.92/kg;
  • Limousin: 390kg – €1,105 or €2.83/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 370kg – €1,050 or €2.84/kg.

Looking at steer and heifer returns, light store steers traded at €2.61-2.70/kg and the heavier classes on offer sold for €2.33-2.59/kg. Light store heifers (400kg) made €2.44-2.68/kg, while the heavier classes achieved prices of €2.41-2.55/kg.

Sample steer and heifer prices:
  • Charolais steer: 460kg – €1,240 or €2.70/kg;
  • Limousin steer: 460kg – €1,225 or €2.66/kg;
  • Charolais steer: €1,385 or €2.72/kg;
  • Charolais steer: 610kg – €1,485 or €2.43/kg;
  • Charolais: 425kg – €1,140 or €2.68/kg;
  • Charolais: 405kg – €1,055 or €2.60/kg;
  • Charolais: 585kg – €1,490 or €2.55/kg;
  • Limousin: 590kg – €1,420 or €2.41/kg.

Some very strong prices were reported in the dry cow ring and good-quality cows fetched prices of €1.61-2.07/kg. In addition, cows with calves at foot made €1,350-1,410 and in-calf cows sold at €760-1,600.

Egan added there was a noticeable increase in the number of calves on offer last Thursday. Dairy calves made €30-130, Hereford and Angus types traded at €150-270 and the continental lots sold to a top price of €400.

Raphoe Mart

A large entry of cattle was witnessed in Raphoe Mart’s weekly cattle sale on Thursday last. The mart manager Anne Harkin said the trade was brisk from start to finish, due to the presence of farmers, feedlot buyers and factory agents.

On the day, bullocks sold for €2.10-2.75/kg, bulls made €2.00-2.80/kg and heifers traded at €2.10-2.85/kg. Cull cows sold to a top price of €1,740.

Ennis Mart

Numbers were slightly back at Ennis Mart on Thursday last, the mart’s Michael Martin said. However, over 200 cull cows were on offer and continental types traded at €1.74-2.34/kg.

Continental-bred stock dominated the steer and heifer trade. Commenting on this, Martin said: “The bullock trade was strong, especially for the forward bullocks of 550kg and up.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Saler: 645kg – €1,660 or €2.57/kg;
  • Limousin: 570kg – €1,330 or €2.33/kg;
  • Charolais: 640kg – €1,570 or €2.45/kg;
  • Hereford: 550kg – €1,180 or €2.13/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 650kg – €1,570 or €2.41/kg;
  • Charolais: 705kg – €1,765 or €2.50/kg.

Martin added: “Heifers were a good trade with lighter lots more sought after.” Looking at prices, light store heifers sold for €2.34-2.78/kg and the heavier lots made €2.36-2.52/kg.

Moving to cow prices, continental animals sold for €1.96-2.34/kg and the dairy types sold at €1.74-1.86/kg.

Maam Cross Mart

Although numbers were back at Maam Cross Mart’s weekly cattle sale on Saturday, prices held well for all stock and great demand was evident around the ring.

On the day, heifer weanlings sold for an average price of €635/head and sold to a top price of €3.38/kg. Dry cows were also in demand and sold for €1.64-2.32/kg.

In addition, bull weanlings traded at €2.64-3.08/kg, with a top price of €935 being achieved for a Charolais bull weighing 340kg.

Tullow Mart

Friday’s sale in Tullow Mart, Co. Carlow, featured a large entry on stock. Alongside its weekly cattle sale, the Carlow-based venue held its monthly continental and weanling sale.

The mart’s Eric Driver said he was glad to report that beef cattle continued to meet a demanding trade. Plenty of farmer customers, he said, were active around the ring for stores. Weanling bulls also met a very lively demand from both farmers and export traders.

Beef bullocks sold from €650 over – for the Friesian types – up to a top price of €1,120 over. Looking at store prices, Angus types traded at €1.80kg and up, while the majority of continental lots on offer sold for €2.10-2.25/kg.

In addition, beef heifers sold for €2.00-2.30/kg and a very active trade was reported for younger, fleshed animals.

In the weanling ring, bulls sold for €2.40-2.90/kg and some exceptional E and U-grade weanlings pushed over the €3/kg mark. Demand was equally as strong in the heifer ring and prices of €2.30-2.80/kg were achieved.

A number of cows also passed through the ring. The majority of the Friesian culls sold for €200-350 over, while the hammer fell on the continental animals at €300-950 over.