Cattle marts: Large entries, high demand and strong prices

Cattle marts across the country continue to report large numbers of stock being presented, with mart managers stating that both trade and prices remained very strong in the week gone by.

Managers were quick to highlight that the number of cull cows going to sale has been consistently strong with farmers looking to move on those that didn’t go in-calf. Those heavier fleshed cull cows were said to attract a lot of attention ringside, with factory agents loitering.

Both beef and store bullocks and heifers have been met with very lively trade, with impressive prices and a strong feedlot demand being reported.

When it comes to weanlings, extra buyers have been appearing ringside this week, with prices remaining high.

Carnew Mart

A large entry of 1,170 cattle were on offer, including 170 dry cows and 200 calves at Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday, February 8.

“The cattle trade was very strong with beef and forward store cattle meeting a brisk trade with strong feedlot demand,” said Joe O’Brien of Carnew Mart.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Limousin: 642kg – €1,620 or €2.52/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 862kg – €1,780 or €2.06/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 572kg – €1,180 or €2.06/kg;
  • Charolais: 522kg – €1,310 or €2.51/kg;
  • Friesian: 662kg – €1,220 or € 1.84/kg;
  • Hereford: 537kg – €1,020 or €1.90/kg.

Sample heifer prices:

  • Aberdeen Angus: 574kg – €1190 or €2.07/kg;
  • Limousin: 610kg – €1,400 or €2.29/kg;
  • Charolais: 590kg – €1,260 or €2.13/kg;
  • Hereford: 630kg – €1,240 or €1.97/kg.

Friesian bull calves were reported to sell from €30/head to €140/head. Continental bull calves made €220-440/head while continental heifers ranged from €120/head to €380/head.

There was a smattering of Aberdeen Angus and Hereford calves which went under the hammer also: heifers making €80-250/head and bulls making €130-320/head.

Sample cow prices:
  • Charolais: 880kg – €1,610 or €1.83/kg;
  • Limousin: 775kg – €1,380 or €1.78/kg;
  • Friesian: 710kg – €1,060 or €1.49/kg;
  • Simmental: 480kg – €880 or €1.83/kg.

Kilkenny Mart

Kilkenny Mart has reported its strongest sale for Friesian bullocks of 2020 so far, albeit with smaller numbers of cattle being presented for sale.

In total there were 700 cattle on offer at Kilkenny Mart on Thursday, February 6, with a mixture of beef bullocks and heifers making up a good proportion of these.

There was also a selection of store heifers on offer, with lighter stores making more per kg than the more forward stores.

A small number of cull cows were also offered for sale.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Limousin: 730kg – €1,640 or €2.25/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 620kg – €1,360 or €2.19/kg;
  • Friesian: 600kg – €1,040 – €1.73/kg;
  • Hereford: 550kg – €1,230 or €2.24/kg.

Heifers were making a little less per kg than bullocks, while Limousin and Aberdeen Angus animals were weighing the best and, therefore, going for the highest price. The price of beef heifers ranged from €1.90/kg to 2.30/kg.

Cull cows ranged in price from €1.10/kg to €1.50/kg for Friesians, while continentals made between €1.20/kg and €1.85/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Continental: 470kg – €1,055 or €2.24/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 460kg – €920 or €2.00/kg;
  • Hereford: 455kg – €930 or €2.00/kg;
  • Limousin: 440kg – €1,040 or €2.36/kg.

Headford Mart

Despite weather warnings for the weekend it did not affect the turnout of cattle or prices, with the number of stock increasing on previous weeks, Headford Mart representatives told AgriLand. 

There was a continually strong trade for beef bullocks and store heifers as well as cull cows.

Bullock and Heifer prices range:
  • Bullocks ranged from €1.58/kg to €3.12/kg or €320 to €870 over.
  • Top price over the kg went to a Limousin (640kg – €1,510 or €2.36/kg), while the top price per kg went to a Limousin-cross (295kg – €920 at €3.12/kg).
  • Store heifers ranged from €1.68/kg to €3.03/kg or €365 to €885 over.
  • Top price over the kg went to a Charolais-cross (695kg – €1580 or €2.27/kg), while top price per kg went to a Belgian Blue-cross (350kg – €1060 at €3.03/kg).

Cull cows ranged in price from €720 to €1,800, with the top price going for a four-year-old Aberdeen Angus-cross.

Raphoe Mart

There was another excellent entry of cattle at Raphoe Mart this week, according to mart officials. Quality store cattle were in great demand again, with bullocks selling to €920 over the weight and heifers to €845 over the weight.

Bullocks and heifers were in high demand around the ring, with bullocks making from €2.00/kg to €2.60/kg, while heifers went for a similar price – at €2.00/kg to €2.70/kg.

Cull cows continued to make strong money, with prices starting at €700/head and topping out at €1,645/head.

Beef bullocks went for an impressive €580 to €920 over, while beef heifers were a little more economical for buyers at €470 to €845 over.

Stores were in high demand, with store bullocks making up to €855 over. Store heifers made up to €670 over, significantly lower than bullocks.

Ennis Mart

“A fine size sale, with over 750 on offer,” noted Geraldine Walsh of Ennis Mart, when talking about the sale on Thursday, February 6.

Trade was strong in all rings, with over 200 cull cows on offer. Again there was “northern interest” in the cull cow ring. There were some “great cows” in the mix, with many of the top lots exceeding €2.00/kg.

Sample cull cow prices:

  • Belgian Blue-cross: 900kg – €1,800 or €2.00/kg;
  • Limousin: 860kg – €1,630 or €1.89/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 675kg – €1,330 or €1.97/kg;
  • Friesian: 585kg – €950 or €1.62/kg.

“There was a huge appetite for forward type stock in all rings and quite a number of these available,” Geraldine added.

Trade for both heifers and bullocks was very strong. Some stock achieved “very high prices”, especially if they had good confirmation.

Sample bullock prices:

  • Aberdeen Angus: 570kg – €1,250 or €2.19kg;
  • Charolais: 590kg – €1,550 or €2.63/kg;
  • Limousin: 807kg – €1,705 or €2.11/kg;
  • Hereford-cross: 700kg – €1,370 or €1.96/kg.

Sample heifer prices:

  • Charolais: 600kg – €1,400 or €2.33/kg;
  • Hereford-cross: 495kg – €1,080 or €2.18/kg;
  • Limousin-cross: 550kg – €1,360 or €2.47/kg. 

There was also a large entry of aged bulls on Thursday and these averaged €1.75/kg with a top call of €2,100 for a Limousin of 1,230kg.

Kilmallock Mart

There were happy sellers this week at Kilmallock Mart; the mart officials reported that cattle have gotten very dear, while both farmers and exporters were reportedly busy – buying stock.

To put this into perspective, some Friesian bullocks were making up to €2.07/kg, while beef breeds hit €2.93/kg on Monday, February 3.

With 900 cattle in total on the sale and demand being far greater than supply, there were a number of sellers going home very happy with their days work.

It was said that some 204 dry cows were included in the days total, with some of these making up to €1,380/head or €2.10/kg.

Sample cow prices:
  • Friesian: 585kg – €1,230 or €2.10/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 660kg – €1,080 or €1.66/kg;
  • Limousin: 640kg – €1,040 or €1.63/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 710kg – €1,170 or €1.65/kg.

Weanling heifers and bulls had a huge presence on the sale on February 3 also, some bulls even making €1,350/head or up to €2.94/kg.

Sample weanling heifer prices:
  • Aberdeen Angus heifer: 325kg – €685 or €2.10/kg;
  • Belgian Blue heifer: 238kg – €555 or €2.33/kg;
  • Hereford heifer: 243kg – €545 or €2.24/kg.

Sample weanling bull prices:

  • Aberdeen Angus bull: 390kg – €830 or €2.12/kg;
  • Friesian bull: 296kg – €535 or €1.80/kg;
  • Hereford bull: 414kg – €860 or €2.07/kg.

Heifers and bullocks were both in high demand also; some heifers even sold for up to €1,075 or €2.65/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Aberdeen Angus: 490kg – €1,040 or €2.12/kg;
  • Charolais: 485kg – €955 or €1.97/kg;
  • Hereford: 485kg – €935 or €1.93/kg;
  • Limousin: 430kg – €910 or €2.12/kg.

Sample bullock prices:

  • Aberdeen Angus: 515kg – €1035 or €2.01/kg;
  • Simmental: 535kg – €1,050 or €1.96/kg;
  • Hereford: 630kg – €1,220 or €1.94/kg;
  • Friesian: 578kg – €1,000 or €1.73/kg.