Cattle marts: More farmers operating leads to increased demand

In recent days, mart managers across the country have noted that more farmers are emerging, leading to an increased demand and – in some cases – slightly higher prices.

These customers are in the market for forward-store types, while quality is the main driver of price among lighter-store cattle.

Dairy-bred stock are still somewhat easier and poor-quality cows are struggling. However, heavier, better-quality cows are a steady trade.

Looking at the weanling trade, quality is again the main driver of price. Mart managers have reported an improved trade – especially the more west you travel.

Carnew Mart

Some 850 cattle went under the hammer at Carnew Mart on Saturday last, October 6; 80 calves were also on offer on the day and an excellent trade – with excellent prices – was reported.

Beef and forward bullocks sold for €600-1,030 along with the weight, while continental store lots made €450-820 over. Friesian bullocks on offer sold for €50-470 with the weight.

Looking at heifer prices, beef heifers recorded prices of €550-880 over and the store lots sold for €270-760 along with their weight.

A number of cows also passed through the sales ring – both beef and store lots. The butcher lots traded at €400-760 over, while store cows made €100 under the weight and €360 over.

Kilkenny Mart

An excellent yard of 1,200 cattle was reported by Kilkenny Mart auctioneer George Candler on Thursday last. He outlined that there was a big difference in the price between quality animals and the plainer types with dairy influence.

George also noted that customers around the ring were in the market for beef-type animals and forward-store lots. “Top-notch” continental bullocks were sought after and sold for €2.20-2.85/kg.

Under 380kg, lesser-quality bullocks – originating from the dairy herd – remained a difficult trade.

Moving to the heifer trade, heavy heifers were reported to be few and far between and only one heifer weighed in excess of 600kg.

Forward store lots sold to a top call of €2.60/kg, and the lighter, dairy-bred heifers sold for €1.40-1.90/kg.

In general, the heavier heifer lots made €2.00-2.30/kg or €1,050-1,540/head. €1.80-2.40/kg or €800-1,160/head was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.60-2.30/kg or €450-895/head.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 575kg – €1,350 or €2.35/kg;
  • Hereford: 605kg – €1,230 or €2.03/kg;
  • Charolais: 475kg – €1,080 or €2.27/kg;
  • Limousin: 400kg – €1,050 or €2.63/kg;
  • Limousin: 385kg – €965 or €2.51/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 350kg – €690 or €1.97/kg.

In the steer ring, Candler outlined that lots in excess of 600kg traded at €1.80-2.51/kg or €980-1,820/head. Lots falling into the 500-600kg bracket sold for €1.50-2.65/kg or €780-1,400/head.

Bullocks weighing between 400kg and 500kg made 1.50-2.70/kg or €650-1,170/head, while bullocks weighing less than 400kg made €1.50-2.50/kg or €480-930/head.

Sample steer prices:
  • Limousin: 725kg – €1,820 or €2.51/kg;
  • Limousin: 675kg – €1,620 or €2.40/kg;
  • Hereford: 565kg – €1,140 or €2.02/kg;
  • Friesian: 500kg – €900 or €1.80/kg;
  • Charolais: 495kg – €1,295 or €2.62/kg;
  • Simmental: 385kg – €900 or €2.34/kg.

The Friesian cull cows that passed through the ring sold for €0.70-1.60/kg and the continental types on offer made €1.20-2.25/kg.

Balla Mart

A large sale took place at Balla Mart on Saturday last, October 6, and the quality of cattle was reported to have improved; a great trade was reported – for good-quality Charolais stores – by the mart’s manager Michael Murphy.

A large crowd gathered around the ring, which included buyers from Northern Ireland in the market for breeding heifers.

Store bullocks (up to 400kg) sold for an average price of €2.06/kg and the heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at €2.22/kg on average. Michael added that beef bullocks (upwards of 500kg) averaged €2.17/kg on the day.

Sample steer prices:
  • Limousin: 395kg – €1,000 or €2.53/kg;
  • Charolais: 560kg – €1,500 or €2.68/kg;
  • Charolais: 780kg – €1,690 or €2.17/kg.
  • Simmental: 295kg – €685 or €2.32/kg.

350 heifers went under the hammer with a good clearance reported and lots weighing up to 400kg sold for an average price of €2.17/kg; the heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at €2.28/kg on average, while heifers (upwards of 500kg) made an average price of €2.20/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 285kg – €670 or €2.35/kg;
  • Limousin: 395kg – €1,000 or €2.53/kg;
  • Limousin: 480kg – €1,280 or €2.67/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 590kg – €1,470 or €2.49/kg.

In addition, some 150 cows went under the hammer last week and Michael said the best of these was a May-2012 born, Charolais cow. Accompanied by her bull calf, the pair sold for €1,760.

The best of the dry cows, he said, was a May-2013 born, Charolais cow; she made €2,210.

Ennis Mart

Numbers were reported to have increased marginally on Tuesday last, October 2, at Ennis Mart. More customers were in the market for all types of stock and this resulted in an improved trade and a high clearance rate.

Sample weanling heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 290kg – €810 or €2.79/kg;
  • Limousin: 370kg – €1,000 or €2.70/kg;
  • Limousin: 317kg – €910 or €2.87/kg;
  • Charolais: 260kg – €725 or €2.79/kg;
  • Charolais: 282kg – €820 or €2.90/kg;
  • Hereford: 475kg – €785 or €1.65/kg.

More farmers have emerged and this improved demand has left prices on a par with the corresponding period in 2017. A strong trade for runners was also reported with heifer types making €835/head, while the bulls sold to a top call of €900/head.

Sample weanling bull prices:
  • Limousin: 275kg – €985 or €3.58/kg;
  • Charolais: 335kg – €1,080 or €3.22/kg;
  • Charolais: 425kg – €1,110 or €2.61/kg;
  • Limousin: 305kg – €1,030 or €3.37/kg;
  • Charolais: 297kg – €850 or €2.86/kg;
  • Charolais: 330kg – €1,030 or €3.12/kg.

Raphoe Mart

Raphoe Mart held its weanling show and sale on Tuesday last, October 2. An excellent entry of both bulls and heifers was reported.

On the day, prize winners included: a 480kg bull, which sold for €1,500; and a 440kg heifer, which made €1,900. Generally speaking, bulls sold for €2.20-3.30/kg, while heifers made €2.20-2.80/kg.

The mart’s weekly cattle sale took place on Thursday last and a large entry of cattle was reported, with an excellent trade. Again, plainer lots were a difficult trade.

On the day, top-class bulls – weighing in excess of 600kg – sold for €600-830 along with the weight. Looking at the bullock trade, beef lots made €600-990 over, while store bullocks made €400-890 along with their weight.

Moving to the heifer trade, beef types made €500-930 over and store heifers traded at €350-660 with the weight.

A number of dry cows were also on offer and these lots made between €600/head and €1,670/head.