Cattle marts: Forward bullocks lead the way

As is normally the case this time of year, weekly cattle sales are beginning to increase in marts across the country. And, although some pessimism has been aired about the prospects for winter finishing, forward store cattle – particularly steers – have led the way over recent days.

Mart managers have noted that finishers are keen for short-keep steers and, in cases where steers are weighing above 500kg, prices in excess of €2.20/kg are being easily generated.

Factory feedlot buyers are also active at the ringside and have been focusing their attentions on well-shaped continental heifers.

Meanwhile, when it comes to the weanling trade, farmers are active for quality lots; but dairy-influenced stock continue to meet somewhat of a difficult trade.

Where weanling bulls and heifers are muscled – top-quality Belgian Blues mainly – exporters hunting for cattle for Italy are the primary purchasers.

Ennis Mart

An entry of 1,100 cattle was witnessed at Ennis Mart on Thursday last and this included 250 cull cows. The trade in the bullock ring was similar to last week, with the best demand being for beef type steers.

Sample bullock prices: 
  • One Angus bullock: 725kg – €1,465 or €2.02/kg;
  • Six Charolais bullocks: 575kg – €1,390 or €2.41/kg;
  • Three Charolais bullocks: 700kg – €1,570 or €2.24/kg;
  • One Limousin bullock: 420kg – €1,170 or €2.78/kg;
  • Nine Hereford bullocks: €930 or €1.96/kg;
  • One Limousin bullock: €1,500 or €2.59/kg;
  • Three Hereford bullocks: €1,000 or €1.99/kg.

Some of the top-quality cows on the day topped out over €2.00/kg and prices were said to have improved by €20/head.

Another large entry of aged bulls was also recorded and these sold to an average price of €1.55/kg; the best of these was a 1,110kg Charolais bull, which traded for €1,840.

Sample cow prices:
  • One Limousin cow: 820kg – €1,680 or €2.05/kg;
  • One Limousin cow: 685kg – €1,480 or €2.16/kg;
  • One Angus cow: 870kg – €1,480 or €2.10/kg;
  • One Limousin cow: 605kg – €1,340 or €2.18/kg;
  • One Hereford cow: 760kg – €1,425 or €1.87/kg;
  • One Friesian cow: 760kg – €1,045 or €1.38/kg.

Carnew Mart

Some 883 cattle were offered for sale at Carnew Mart’s weekly sale on Saturday last (October 13). A very good selling trade was reported for all types, with more customers present.

On the day, beef and forward bullocks sold for €640-1,060 over, continental store bullocks sold at €430-810 over and Friesian types made €100-610 over. Meanwhile, beef and store heifers sold for €560-840 over and €280-730 over respectively.

A selection of beef and store cows were also on offer and these lots made €380-850 over and €100 under to €360 over respectively.

Castlerea Mart

Large number of stock were presented for sale at last Thursday’s sale in Castlerea Mart, with the trade holding firm for most categories of stock.

Heifer numbers were up on Thursday and both a good demand and clearance were recorded.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin heifer: 420kg – €1,020 or €2.43/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 405kg – €970 or €2.40/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 480kg – €1,205 or €2.51/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 440kg – €1,130 or €2.57/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 610kg – €1,445 or €2.37/kg;
  • Charolais: 575kg – €1,325 or €2.30/kg.

In the weanling rings, increased farmer activity led to a very strong trade for quality calves, while the plainer types remained unchanged from last week.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais bull: 260kg – €950 or €3.65/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 295kg – €990 or €3.36/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 325kg – €1,165 or €3.58/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 410kg – €1,115 or €2.72/kg;
  • Simmental heifer: 330kg – €930 or €2.82/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 290kg – €905 or €3.12/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 310kg – €1,000 or €3.23/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 270kg – €810 or €3.00/kg.

In addition, dry cows reported good clearances, while breeding stock posted price increases. Cows with calves at foot made €1,030-2,450 and in-calf cows traded at €95-1,120.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Aubrac: 810kg – €1,660 or €2.05/kg;
  • Limousin: 800kg – €1,650 or €2.06/kg;
  • Charolais: 655kg – €1,380 or €2.11/kg;
  • Limousin: 715kg – €1,365 or €1.91/kg;
  • Charolais: 425kg – €740 or €1.74/kg;
  • Limousin: 710kg – €1,525 or €2.15/kg.

Balla Mart

One of the biggest sales in a long while was held in Balla Mart on Saturday last and a great trade was reported for nice cattle.

A large number of buyers gathered around the ring, while more Northern Irish buyers – who paid top prices for suitable breeding heifers – were in attendance.

On the day, 300-400kg bullocks sold to an average of €2.23/kg, heifer bullocks (+500kg) traded to an average of €2.19/kg and those weighing 600-700kg averaged €2.32/kg.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 275kg – €685 or €2.49/kg;
  • Limousin: 385kg – €1,130 or €2.94/kg;
  • Limousin: 490kg – €1,310 or €2.67/kg;
  • Charolais: 560kg – €1,500 or €2.68/kg;
  • Limousin: 780kg – €1,700 or €2.18/kg;
  • Charolais: 810kg – €1,720 or €2.12/kg.

Nearly 500 heifers passed through Balla on Saturday and, again, a good clearance was recorded. Heifers weighing up to 400kg averaged €2.23/kg, 400-500kg heifers sold to an average of €2.42/kg and the heavier heifers (+500kg) made an average of €2.34/kg.

Sample heifer prices: 
  • Belgian Blue: 285kg – €790 or €2.77/kg;
  • Limousin: 345kg – €1,150 or €3.33/kg;
  • Limousin: 480kg – €1,620 or €3.38/kg;
  • Shorthorn: 555kg – €2,200 or €3.96/kg.

Approximately 190 cows were also on offer and some nice-quality, in-calf lots caught the attention of the farmers around the ring. The best of these was an April-2011 born Charolais cow. Accompanied by a Charolais bull calf, this pairing made €1,790. The best of the dry cows – a March-2012 born Charolais – traded at €1,800.

Kilkenny Mart

Approximately 1,300 cattle passed through the ring of Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Thursday last and a 90% clearance rate was recorded.

Describing the trade, George Candler – the mart auctioneer – said: [It was] another good yard of cattle, with a solid trade for forward store bullocks out of the suckler herd.”

On the day, +600kg steers sold for €1.70-2.40/kg or €950-1,750/head, 500-600kg bullocks traded at €1.70-2.70/kg and lighter steers (400-500kg) made €1.50-2.70/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • One Angus steer: 850kg – €1,750 or €2.06/kg;
  • One Limousin steer: 755kg – €1,500 or €1.99/kg;
  • Six Friesian steers: 670kg – €1,220 or €1.82/kg;
  • One Charolais steer: 590kg – €1,290 or €2.19/kg;
  • One Limousin steer: 560kg – €1,510 or €2.70/kg;
  • Two Limousin steers: 495kg – €1,160 or €2.34/kg;
  • One Angus steer: 480kg – €950 or €1.98/kg;
  • Four Charolais steers: 390kg – €1,075 or €2.76/kg;
  • Seven Friesian steers: 380kg – €645 or €1.70/kg.

George added: “Dairy-influenced heifers were still difficult to sell, but continental types from the suckler herd are ranging from €2.25/kg to €2.60/kg. Cull cows peaked at €2.05/kg.”

Beef heifers sold at €1.70-2.41/kg or €900-1,470, forward store heifers made €1.80-2.60/kg and light store heifers traded at €1.70-2.61/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • One Limousin heifer: 640kg – €1,470 or €2.30/kg;
  • Two Charolais heifers: 610kg – €1,330 or €2.18/kg;
  • One Limousin heifer: 580kg – €1,395 or €2.41/kg;
  • One Limousin heifer: 490kg – €1,270 or €2.59/kg;
  • Four Angus heifers: 475kg – €940 or €1.98/kg;
  • Three Hereford heifers: 460kg – €920 or €2.00/kg;
  • Two Belgian Blue heifers: 350kg – €770 or €2.20/kg;
  • One Limousin heifer: 330kg – €750 or €2.27/kg;
  • One Limousin heifer: 390kg – €960 or €2.46/kg.