Cattle marts: It’s a good time to be selling, but a tougher time to be buying

The mart trade last week was holding strong and still proving to be a good time to be selling cattle.

In one way, it is great for a farmer to be receiving decent returns from their animals. On the other hand, farmers trying to source store cattle in the coming weeks are finding it more and more challenging as prices continue to rise.

Taking a look at the store trade last week, the more forward-type continental bullocks were fetching up to €2.51/kg and back to €2.29/kg.

Lighter store bullocks, in general, were achieving an average of €2.31/kg last week in some marts. Hereford and Angus were ranging from €1.90-2.11/kg.

In the heifer trade, marts were reporting forward-beef types were making up to €2.47/kg for continental breeds. Generally, forward heifers were selling around the €2.20/kg mark, with slightly less on offer for some Angus and Herefords.

In the store heifer trade, Carnaross Mart manager Padraig McElroy was stating that quality continental store  heifers were ranging from €2.30/kg up to €2.40/kg.

Also Read: ‘The store trade is performing well for the time of year’ – Padraig McElroy

Looking at prices for cull cows, again it was a good week for sellers as prices were up from the previous week with factory agents and northern buyers driving on the trade. Prices up to €2.44/kg was secured for forward-types.

Generally, heavy continental cows sold from €2.20/kg back to €1.85/kg. The prices for well fleshed Friesian-bred cows were ranging from €1.21/kg up to €1.60/kg.

Speaking to one farmer last week, he said that from the prices he got in the mart for his cull cows, he was able to replace them with young in-calf females – with very little money having to be added to their price tag.

Taking a quick look at the weanling trade, bulls were reported to be ranging from €2.32/kg up to €3.05/kg. Heifers were selling from €2.35/kg up to €2.86/kg.

This week AgriLand takes a look at the recent sales of cattle in Kilkenny and Ennis Marts.

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Kilkenny Mart

Kilkenny Mart hosted a large entry of cattle last Thursday (January 21) which saw a 98% clearance of cattle brought forward for auction. Commenting on the sale, the mart’s auctioneer George Candler stated:

“The trade remained very firm. There was a complete clearance for all bullocks, with a handful of heifers and a few cull cows unsold.”

There was a strong trade for cull cows at Thursday’s auction as George explained: “Quality continental cull cows peaked at €2.21/kg, with Friesian-bred types to €1.85/kg.

“A special suckler sale saw in-calf lots range from €1,000/head to €1,620/head, with in-calf pedigree Charolais females ranging from €1,680/head to €2,140/head – this section saw a complete clearance.”

Continental cull cows sold from €1.40-2.21/kg, while Friesian-bred cull cows sold from €1.05-1.85/kg.

Forward-type bullocks on offer (over 600kg) were selling up to €2.35/kg and back to €1.70/kg.

Sample bullock prices (over 600kg):

  • Angus: 720kg – €1,550 or €2.15/kg;
  • Charolais: 680kg – €1,580 or €2.32/kg;
  • Charolais: 665kg – €1,520 or €2.29/kg;
  • Hereford: 640kg – €1,200 or €1.88/kg;
  • Angus: 625kg –  €1,350 or €2.16/kg;
  • Charolais: 605kg – €1,390 or €2.30/kg.

Examining the store bullock prices, heavier steers were ranging from €1.75/kg up to €2.40/kg, while lighter stores (above 400kg) were selling at €1.70-2.50/kg.

Sample store bullock prices (500-600kg): 

  • Charolais: 590kg – €1,400 or €2.37/kg;
  • Friesian: 585kg –  €1,150 or €1.97/kg;
  • Limousin: 580kg – €1,360 or €2.34/kg;
  • Charolais: 570kg – €1,360 or €2.39/kg;
  • Limousin: 520kg – €1,240 or €2.38/kg;
  • Angus: 510kg – €1,030 or €2.02/kg.

Sample store bullock prices (400-500kg)

  • Hereford: 485kg  €1,130 or €2.33/kg;
  • Charolais: 480kg – €1,120 or €2.33/kg;
  • Limousin: 470kg –  €1,100 or €2.34/kg;
  • Angus: 450kg – €950 or €2.11/kg;
  • Hereford: 445kg –  €920 or €2.07/kg;
  • Charolais: 430kg – €1,070 or €2.49/kg.

In the female trade, beef heifers (over 600kg) were securing prices from €1.80/kg up to €2.30/kg.

Sample beef heifer prices (over 600kg):

  • Hereford: 685kg – €1,400 or €2.04/kg;
  • Limousin: 640kg – €1,450 or €2.27/kg;
  • Charolais: 630kg – €1,400 or €2.22/kg;
  • Angus: 610kg – €1,370 or €2.25/kg;
  • Charolais: 605kg – €1,410 or €2.33/kg;
  • Angus: 600kg – €1,360 or €2.27/kg.

In the store trade, heifers weighing under 600kg were ranging in prices from €1.80/kg up to €2.30/kg. Lighter stores (under 400kg) were selling from €2.55/kg back to €1.70/kg.

Sample store heifer prices (470-600kg):

  • Charolais: 560kg – €1,290 or €2.30/kg;
  • Angus: 510kg – €1,090 or €2.14/kg;
  • Angus: 505kg – €1,050 or €2.08/kg;
  • Hereford: 500kg – €990 or €1.98/kg;
  • Angus: 490kg – €1,020 or €2.08/kg;
  • Charolais: 470kg – €1,070 or €2.28/kg.

Sample store heifer prices (up to 400kg):

  • Angus: 395kg – €880 or €2.23/kg;
  • Charolais: 360kg – €890 or €2.47/kg;
  • Limousin: 340kg – €780 or €2.29/kg;
  • Angus: 205kg – €520 or €2.54/kg.

Ennis Mart

There was plenty to choose from at Ennis Mart’s sale of bullocks, heifers and cull cows held last Thursday (January 21), with over 527 head of cattle on offer.

Speaking on the sale held in the Clare-based mart, the mart’s manager, Martin McNamara stated: “We had some super cull cows on offer and these met an excellent trade with well over €2/kg achieved.

There was a bit more beef through the bullock ring and these were well sought after. Beef heifers were a great trade also – these hit prices as high as €2.42/kg.

“The stores cattle in the bullock and heifer rings met a lively trade. A super three-year-old Belgian Blue cross Limousin heifer weighing 890kg made €2,470 or €2.77/kg.

“There were a number of aged bulls on offer and these averaged €1.82/kg with a Blonde d’Aquitaine weighing 1,110kg making €2,020 or €1.81/kg.”

Taking a look at some of the top sample prices reported, it seemed to be a good trade for the heavier lots on offer.

Sample bullock prices:

  • Limousin: 740kg – €1,650 or €2.23/kg;
  • Limousin: 735kg – €1,780 or €2.42/kg;
  • Limousin: 685kg – €1,720 or €2.51/kg;
  • Hereford 652kg – €1,370 or €2.10/kg;
  • Angus: 645kg – €1,510 or €2.34/kg;
  • Charolais: 640kg – €1,510 or €2.36/kg;
  • Charolais: 595kg – €1,500 or €2.52/kg;
  • Limousin: 585kg – €1,470 or €2.51/kg;
  • Friesian: 495kg – €960 or €1.93/kg;
  • Limousin: 492kg – €1,240 or €2.52/kg. 

Sample heifer prices:

  • Belgian Blue: 890kg – €2,470 or €2.77/kg;
  • Charolais: 795kg – €1,760 or €2.21/kg;
  • Limousin: 640kg – €1,550 or €2.42/kg;
  • Hereford: 575kg – €1,150 or €2.00/kg;
  • Limousin: 557kg – €1,390 or €2.49/kg;
  • Limousin: 555kg – €1,390 or €2.50/kg
  • Limousin: 500kg – €1,210 or €2.42/kg;
  • Limousin: 460kg – €1,330 or €2.89/kg. 

Sample cull cow prices:

  • Limousin: 980kg – €2,170 or €2.21/kg;
  • Limousin: 890kg – €1,890 or €2.15/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 875kg – €2,140 or €2.44/kg;
  • Simmental: 750kg – €1,400 or €1.86/kg;
  • Saler: 660kg – €1,420 or €2.15/kg;
  • Limousin: 660kg – €1,550 or €2.35/kg;
  • Friesian: 595kg – €940 or €1.58/kg;
  • Angus: 575kg – €950 or €1.65/kg.