Cattle marts: More farmer activity leading to improved prices

While the factories continue to keep the downward price pressure on farmers with factory-fit cattle, there seems to be an improvement in prices at cattle marts across the country.

Mart managers have noted that special weanling sales have drawn out farmers that are in the market for good-quality stock; prices have improved for the better-quality stock and also marginally for the lesser-quality animals.

Short-keep cattle are a firm trade. While good-quality continental stock are in demand, dairy-influenced cattle are harder to sell.

Factory-fit cows are struggling to break the €2.00/kg, while Friesian lots are being bought at €1.00-1.25/kg.

Carnew Mart

Some 800 cattle went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last. David Quinn, the mart manager, said that there were more farmers in the market for store cattle and there was a slight improvement with a good demand for beef and forward cattle.

Continental store bullocks made €420-780 over, while Friesian steers sold for €60-470 along with their weight. Store heifers made €330-780 over and butcher lots fetched €480-860 over.

In addition, beef cows fetched €350-650 over and store cows made between €100 under the weight and €350 over.

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €250-470/head;
  • Continental heifers: €170-305/head;
  • Friesian bulls: €40-210/head.

Ennis Mart

900 head of cattle went under the hammer in Ennis Mart on Thursday last, but the number of dry cows on offer was back.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 490kg – €1,260 or €2.57/kg;
  • Charolais: 590kg – €1,445 or €2.44/kg;
  • Hereford: 760kg – €1,220 or €1.61/kg;
  • Hereford: 465kg – €940 or €2.02/kg.

The trade for bullocks was similar to the previous week, while the heifer trade was reported to have improved by €20/head.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 495kg – €1,160 or €2.34/kg;
  • Charolais: 447kg – €1,100 or €2.46/kg;
  • Hereford: 510kg – €1,000 or €1.96/kg;
  • Charolais: 640kg – €1,540 or €2.41/kg.

Most of the cows on offer were reported to be store-type cattle, along with a small number of beef lots.

Sample cull cow prices:
  • Limousin: 720kg – €1,530 or €2.12/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 585kg – €990 or €1.69/kg;
  • Charolais: 655kg – €1,340 or €2.05/kg;
  • Friesian: 470kg – €620 or €1.32/kg.

Castlerea Mart

The annual show and sale of weanlings took place on Thursday last at Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon. A large entry of top-quality cattle was reported with a “flying trade”.

Top-quality bulls sold for in excess of €4.00/kg and the prize-winning weanling made €5.45/kg and an excellent clearance was reported.

Again, like marts across the country, the heifer trade was reported to have improved, with more customers sourcing store animals.

The cow trade and the demand for breeding stock was also noted to be brisk.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais bull: 340kg – €1,340 or €3.94/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 455kg – €1,420 or €3.12/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 390kg – €1,085 or €2.78/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 310kg – €1,690 or €5.45/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 355kg – €1,400 or €3.94/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 370kg – €910 or €2.45/kg.

Cows with calves at foot traded for €1,100-1,630/unit, while in-calf cows sold for €860-1,350/head.

Looking at the calf trade, numbers and prices were said to have increased; prices ranged from €250/head to €745/head.

Raphoe Mart

A large number of cattle were on offer in the ring of Raphoe Mart on Thursday last; an excellent trade was reported.

The quality of the cattle on offer was also reported to be high, with bullocks selling to €850 over and heifers at €940 along with their weight.

Heavy beef bullocks fetched €750-765 over, while store lots made €400-850 over. Heavier heifers traded for €530-940 along with their weight and lots which require further feeding sold for €350-820 over.

Looking at prices achieved on a €/kg basis, bulls sold for €2.00-2.70/kg, bullocks fetched €2.10-2.80/kg and heifers traded at €2.10-3.10/kg.

In addition, fat cows made €600-1,645/head.

Tullow Mart

A good lively trade was reported from the female weanling show and sale at Tullow Mart on Saturday last.

There was a good demand for quality cattle and heifers sold for €2.80-3.80/kg, with the majority making €3.00-3.40/kg. A Belgian Blue heifer weighing 335kg sold for €1,100 or €3.28/kg.

Heavy heifers sold in the region of €2.00-2.50/kg, with good-quality continental lots making €2.30-2.55/kg. Lighter, shapely heifers traded at €2.20-2.60/kg, while plainer types met a more difficult trade and sold for €1.90-2.30/kg.

In the suckler ring, a special sale of suckler cows and aged cows with calves at foot sold at €1,050-1,400/unit.