Cattle marts: More action, demand and improved prices

The mart trade has picked up a gear since the start of the year, with mart managers noting, firstly, that the number of cattle has increased week-on-week and, secondly, that there has been an increase in buyer activity around the ring.

With this, a glimmer of optimism has grasped the trade, with many categories of cattle recording an improvement in price.

Mart managers have also highlighted that the number of cows coming on stream has also increased, with the trade best described as steady, with better prices commanded by continental cull cows.

Both beef and store bullocks and heifers have been reported to be in demand, with lighter lots also witnessing more interest from buyers at the ringside.

With regard to weanlings, the numbers on offer are relatively low, which has resulted in stronger prices being paid for both bulls and heifers.

Carnew Mart

Some 927 cattle – including 220 dry cows and 80 calves – went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last, January 18.

David Quinn, the mart manager, said: “The trade was very strong for all classes of stock.”

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 416kg – €930 or €2.23/kg;
  • Limousin: 680kg – €1,360 or €2.00/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 458kg – €935 or €2.04/kg;
  • Hereford: 618kg – €1,170 or €1.89/kg.

Sample bullock prices:

  • Charolais: 420kg – €1,025 or €2.44/kg;
  • Limousin: 690kg – €1,400 or €2.02/kg;
  • Friesian: 350kg – €530 or €1.51/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 660kg – €1,340 or €2.03/kg.

Continental bull calves were reported to sell from €220/head to €410/head, while continental heifers made €150-380/head. In addition, Friesian bulls sold for €350-175/head.

Looking at prices achieved by Hereford and Angus bulls, Quinn said that these lots sold at €140-280/head, while heifer lots made €120-240/head.

Sample cow prices:
  • Charolais: 870kg – €1,480 or €1.70/kg;
  • Limousin: 790kg – €1,400 or €1.77/kg;
  • Hereford: 860kg – €1,450 or €1.68/kg;
  • Friesian: 644kg – €710 or €1.10/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 800kg – €1,290 or €1.61/kg.

Tullow Mart

A larger sale took place at Tullow Mart on Friday last, January 17. The mart’s manager, Eric Driver, said the trade was lively, with dry cows “setting the trade”.

Beef and forward bullocks were reported to sell from €600 with the weight up to €980 over, with a noticeable demand for the heavier lots. Continental lots – weighing over 500kg – sold for €2.00-2.20/kg, with Driver noting that exceptional lots made upwards of €1,250.

Driver also reported that lighter bullocks and heifers were also in demand – selling for €1.80-2.05/kg (Aberdeen Angus, Hereford and Friesian), while continentals made €2.10-2.30/kg; top-quality lots sold for €2.60-2.70/kg.

Moving to heifers, beef and forward types sold for €630-980 over, while store Aberdeen Angus and Hereford lots made €2.00-2.40/kg, with forward continental heifers selling up to €2.70/kg.

Cull cows were also reported to be in demand; Friesian cows – coming directly from the parlour – were said to have improved by €50-60/head. Older, lighter cows sold for €150 with the weight, while younger cows sold for €200 over. Also, fleshed dairy cows sold to a top of €350 over or €1,100 for a 725kg cow.

Forward store continental cows were reported to be a lively trade, with older, poorer-quality cows making up to €250 over and heavier lots making €650 with the weight.

Castlerea Mart

Castlerea Mart held its weekly cattle sale on Thursday last, January 16. Again, a large entry of stock was reported, with farmer demand reported to have increased, with more positivity witnessed around the ring.

Brendan Egan, the mart manager, said: “There was much more positivity witnessed in all three rings, with good demand on offer for all classes of stock.

“The bullock ring recorded price increases – especially for short-keep stock. The heifer ring reported a good clearance, while the weanling ring witnessed top-quality lots exceed €3.00/kg.”

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 505kg – €1,270 or €2.51/kg;
  • Limousin: 440kg – €1,130 or €2.56/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 615kg – €1,360 or €2.21/kg;
  • Simmental: 590kg – €1,340 or €2.27/kg.

Sample heifer prices:

  • Limousin: 415kg – €1,130 or €2.72/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 600kg – €1,375 or €2.29/kg;
  • Charolais: 490kg – €1,160 or €2.36/kg;
  • Limousin: 495kg – €1,150 or €2.32/kg.

Furthermore, cows with calves at foot made up to €1,400/unit, with springers selling from €865/head to €1,520/head. In addition, a number of dry cows also went under the hammer at the Roscommon-based venue.

“The dry cow trade remained very strong, while breeding stock and calves reported a brisk trade,” he added.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Limousin: 880kg – €1,670 or €1.89/kg;
  • Simmental: 885kg – €1,400 or €1.58/kg;
  • Charolais: 805kg – €1,595 or €1.98/kg;
  • Friesian: 695kg – €1,065 or €1.53/kg.