Over the past number of weeks, exporter activity has been high and these buyers placed a steady floor under weanling bull prices – particularly for the lighter lots.

While there are some of these shippers still sourcing cattle, it seems the high demand for weanling bulls has reduced. This, in some cases, has lead to a decrease in prices and these lots are now being bought by farmers.

But with no indication of a lift in beef prices at the factories, farmers are reluctant to purchase these animals. Mart managers have also noted that the delay in getting cattle slaughtered at the meat plants is also affecting the mart trade – with farmers slow to return to the ringside in some cases.

As a result, forward heifers and bullocks are tough trade in many marts, with weanling bull prices back due to the reduced exporter demand.

Kilkenny Mart

Some 1,100 animals went under the hammer at Kilkenny Mart on Thursday last, October 17. The trade was reported to be sharper – especially for the quality lots on offer.

George Candler – the mart’s auctioneer – noted that a clearance rate of 95% was achieved on the day, but said that out-of-spec bullocks were harder to get away. He also noted that cull cows were a harder sell, with quality heifers peaking at €2.25/kg.

Lighter heifer lots peaked at €2.25/kg. In general, the heavier lots made €1.70-2.10/kg, €1.60-2.20/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €480-830/head.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 660kg – €1,160 or €1.76/kg;
  • Hereford: 545kg – €1,105 or €2.03/kg;
  • Limousin: 515kg – €1,100 or €2.14/kg;
  • Charolais: 390kg – €830 or €2.13/kg.

In the steer ring, bullocks weighing over 600kg sold for €1.60-2.30/kg and lots weighing 500-600kg made €1.50-2.40/kg. 400-500kg steers sold for €1.40-2.55/kg and lighter lots made €1.40-2.40/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Hereford: 650kg – €1,130 or €1.74/kg;
  • Limousin: 550kg – €1,320 or €2.40/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 460kg – €835 or €1.82/kg;
  • Limousin: 445kg – €1,115 or €2.51/kg;
  • Charolais: 345kg – €800 or €2.32/kg;
  • Friesian: 370kg – €620 or €1.68/kg.

In the cull cow ring, Friesian lots sold at €0.80-1.20/kg and continental lots made €1.15-1.60/kg.

Castlerea Mart

The trade was reported to be steady with prices holding at Castlerea Mart on Thursday last, October 17 – especially for the quality lots on offer, the mart’s manager Brendan Egan said.

Heifers were reported to have increased in price and a good clearance rate was achieved, while weanlings were also reported to be in demand, with the strongest prices for the quality lots on offer.

In addition, the trade for breeding stock and dry cows was reported to be similar to the previous week’s sale.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 400kg – €880 or €2.20/kg;
  • Charolais: 440kg – €1,085 or €2.46/kg;
  • Limousin: 410kg – €985 or €2.40/kg;
  • Limousin: 475kg – €1,120 or €2.35/kg;
  • Limousin: 495kg – €1,040 or €2.10/kg;
  • Charolais: 635kg – €1,325 or €2.08/kg.

Cows with calves at foot traded for €1,010-1,360/unit, while springers sold for €840-1,290/head.

Looking at the calf trade, young calves were reported to sell for €95-360/head, with runner types making €320-705/head.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 295kg – €870 or €2.86/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 265kg – €800 or €3.12/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 300kg – €940 or €2.50/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 295kg – €855 or €3.08/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 350kg – €1,180 or €3.03/kg;
  • Belgian Blue bull: 325kg – €1,040 or €2.46/kg.

Some 300 bullocks also went under the hammer on Monday last, October 14. Brendan noted that the demand was strongest for the younger stock, with older plainer lots a tougher sell.

Raphoe Mart

A slightly smaller sale of cattle took place at Raphoe Mart on Thursday last, October 17. The mart’s manager Anne Harkin noted that there were some excellent quality cattle on offer, but highlighted that the overall quality was back.

The trade was reported to have slightly improved with farmers, agents and feedlot buyers present.

Bulls weighing 600kg and over sold for €500-685/head, while beef bullocks fetched €550-720 and store bullocks made €300-715 over.

Heavier heifers traded for €450-860 along with their weight and lots which require further feeding sold for €300-630 over. In addition, dry cows sold for €500-1,480/head.