Cattle marts: Trade improves with more quality on offer

There is some good news on the mart front this week, with mart managers reporting improved prices. They have also noted the improved quality of lots presented for sale.

Over recent weeks, the number of cattle on offer at sales across the country was low. However, over the past week, numbers have increased and many marts have had special sales.

Even with the larger numbers on offer, the trade was steady across all categories of stock with the exception of poor-quality weanlings with heavy dairy influence.

Like the beef trade, cow prices have held well and in some cases improved. Furthermore, quality steers and heifers have witnessed an improvement in price also.

Where special weanling sales have taken place, prices have improved. Weanling heifers are the best performing category. However, due to the uncertainty surrounding the future of finishing bulls, heavier bulls are a slow trade.

Balla Mart

At Balla Mart on Saturday last, August 17, the trade was reported as sharp. Store bullocks (300-400kg) sold for an average price of €2.24/kg and made up to €620 over.

The heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at €2.70/kg on average; beef bullocks (upwards of 500kg) averaged €2.00/kg on the day.

Sample steer prices:
  • Limousin: 365kg – €985 or €2.70/kg;
  • Limousin: 490kg – €1,225 or €2.50/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 740kg – €1,475 or €1.99/kg.

In addition, some 160 heifers were presented for sale. Lots weighing up to 400kg sold for an average price of €2.16/kg; the heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at €2.07/kg on average, while heifers (upwards of 500kg) made an average price of €1.93/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 395kg – €1,005 or €2.54/kg;
  • Limousin: 480kg – €1,200 or €2.50/kg;
  • Charolais: 660kg – €1,335 or €2.02/kg.

Some 70 plus cows also went under the hammer last Saturday and the best of these was an April-2019 born, Limousin cow; she weighed 790kg and sold for €1,690/head.

Weanling bulls – weighing up to 350kg – were reported to sell for €2.17/kg on average, while bulls falling into the 350-450kg weight bracket averaged €1.97/kg.

Headford Mart

Headford Mart held its weekly cattle sale on Saturday last, August 17. On the day, bullock prices ranged from €100 to €735 over or from €1.18/kg to €2.48/kg, according to the mart’s manager Joe Wynne.

A Limousin bullock weighing 495kg achieved the top price of €1,230 or €2.48/kg.

In the heifer ring, these lots made €282-695 along with the weight or €1.67-2.44/kg. Again, a Limousin heifer achieved a top price of €1,190 (€2.40/kg); she weighed 695kg. Furthermore, €2.54/kg (€800) was paid for a Simmental heifer weighing 315kg.

Looking to weanling heifers, these animals sold for €385-550 over or €1.95-2.43/kg. A Limousin weanling heifer weighing 370kg sold for €900 or €2.43/kg.

Moving to weanling bulls, prices ranged from €385-685 along with the weight, or €2.00-2.83/kg. A Charolais bull – weighing 300kg – was bought for €850 or €2.83/kg.

Cull cows were reported to sell for €880-1,180/head.

Kilkenny Mart

Some 600 cattle went under the hammer at Kilkenny Mart on Thursday last, August 15. The heifer trade was reported to be firm – especially for quality lots on offer.

The mart’s auctioneer George Candler noted that the quality of bullocks was behind that of the heifers on offer, but cull cows met a solid trade.

Sample steer prices:
  • Charolais: 810kg – €1,580 or €1.95/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 710kg – €1,320 or €1.86/kg;
  • Limousin: 625kg – €1,290 or €2.06/kg;
  • Charolais: 550kg – €1,190 or €2.16/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 540kg – €970 or €1.80/kg;
  • Limousin: 450kg – €1,170 or €2.60/kg;
  • Friesian: 405kg – €650 or €1.60/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 350kg – €640 or €1.83/kg.

In the cow ring, Friesian cull cows traded for €0.90-1.70/kg, while continental types sold for €1.20-1.80/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 680kg – €1,470 or €2.16/kg;
  • Hereford: 570kg – €1,050 or €1.84/kg;
  • Limousin: 555kg – €1,180 or €2.13/kg;
  • Charolais: 460kg – €1,250 or €2.72/kg;
  • Limousin: 360kg – €915 or €2.54/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 330kg – €600 or €1.82/kg;
  • Simmental: 310kg – €630 or €2.03/kg.

Carnew Mart

Some 685 cattle and 50 calves went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last (August 17).

David Quinn, the mart manager, said that beef and forward cattle met an excellent trade, with top-quality lots making €1,000 with the weight. He noted that all beef lots had improved by €40-50/head.

Excellent farmer demand for all categories of store cattle and a good demand for light weanling bulls – suitable for export – was reported.

Cull cows were reported to be a “super” trade with demand outstripping supply.

Beef and forward bullocks traded for €550-810 over, while continental store bullocks made €440-810 over; Friesian steers sold for €110-460 along with their weight.

In addition, weanling bulls were reported to sell in the region of €330-620 along with the weight.

Moreover, store heifers made €250-730 over and beef lots traded for €510-870 along with their weight. Beef cows fetched €290-770 over, while store cows made €60 under and €420 over the weight.