Cattle marts: Numbers continue to fall with quality the main driver of price

The number of cattle presented for sale at cattle marts across the country has continued to fall in recent days.

Beef and factory-fit cattle have remained a firm trade, while plainer cattle – particularly lots of dairy origin – have proved more difficult to move.

The recent spell of good weather has also contributed to more farmer activity at the marts. The higher temperatures have increased grass growth and – as a result – forward types have remained popular among farmers.

Good-quality, forward continental cattle have remained a steady trade. Buoyed by exporter demand, weanlings are proving popular among these buyers.

The cow trade has remained strong; however, the number of these animals presented for sale has also started to decline.

Carnew Mart

Some 680 cattle and 150 calves went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last (May 26).

David Quinn, the mart manager, said that beef and quality cattle prices held firm, while plainer cattle were back by €10-15/head.

Beef and factory-fit bullocks traded for €750-1,100 over, while continental store bullocks made €550-850 over; Friesian steers sold for €150-670 along with their weight.

Heifers were reported to trade well; stores made €350-780 over and beef lots traded for €620-920 along with their weight.

Beef cows fetched €550-870 over, while store cows made €150-470 over. Cows with calves at foot were reported to sell for €1,200-1,680/head.

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €250-340;
  • Continental heifers: €170-380;
  • Friesian bulls: €120-270;
  • Hereford/Angus bulls: €140-330;
  • Hereford/Angus heifers: €140-210.

Raphoe Mart

Last Thursday’s sale in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, featured a high demand for all types of stock, according to the mart’s Anne Harkin.

She said: “Forward stores were scarce and there was great demand for bulls. Bullocks sold to €830 over and heifers traded to €1,075 over.

“Lighter cattle all sold well and achieved prices of €3.00/kg and over,” she added.

Top-class bulls, weighing over 600kg, sold at €645-835 over, the mart manager stated. Beef bullocks made €600-640 over and lighter stores made €400-830 over.

Beef heifers made €670-1,075 over and store heifers traded for €350-680. In addition, fat, well-fleshed cows traded for €490-1,375 head.

Ennis Mart

A large sale was reported to have taken place at Ennis Mart on Thursday last.

Commenting on the sale, the mart’s manager, Danny Moran said: “The bullock and heifer trade has remained a steady trade, with prices matching those of last week and even increasing for more forward types.

According to Danny, Hereford and Aberdeen Angus cattle – both bullocks and heifers – were a very good trade.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 452kg – €1,280 or €2.82/kg;
  • Limousin: 473kg – €1,380 or €2.91/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 665kg – €1,670 or €2.51/kg;
  • Friesian: 700kg – €950 or €2.07/kg.

“Good quality bullocks met an exceptional trade, with forward stores an excellent trade. Heifers again were a good trade, with heavy lots and more forward types in excellent demand,” he added.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 440kg – €1,160 or €2.63/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 602kg – €1,580 or €2.32/kg;
  • Charolais: 520kg – €1,400 or €2.69/kg;
  • Hereford: 395kg – €840 or €2.12/kg.

Cows were reported to be in demand, with both feeder type cows and beef cows selling extremely well. Moreover, a Simmental bull (over 24 months) sold to a top price of €2,180.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Limousin: 795kg – €1,960 or €2.46/kg;
  • Charolais: 800kg – €1,950 or €2.43/kg;
  • Charolais: 590kg – €1,410 or €2.38/kg;
  • Friesian: 495kg – €940 or €1.89/kg.

Kilkenny Mart

A sale – consisting of 1,000 animals – was witnessed in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill on Thursday last, according to the mart’s auctioneer, George Candler.

He said: “Beef and forward store bullocks and heifers met an excellent trade. As were the cull cows. Plain, light bullocks and heifers were more difficult to sell with farmer buyers less plentiful.

He continued: “There is a marked difference between cattle from the suckler herd and those with dairy influence. Farmers should remember that dairy animals are there to produce milk not beef.

“The better conformation animals from the suckler herd are the ones in demand,” he added.

A Limousin bullock – weighing 1,030kg – recorded the top call of the day; he sold for €2,570 or €2.50/kg.

The heavier heifer lots made €2.10-2.72/kg, €2.00-2.70/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.70-3.11/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 655kg – €1,680 or €2.56/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 650kg – €1,770 or €2.72/kg;
  • Limousin: 410kg – €1,040 or €2.54/kg;
  • Charolais: 485kg – €1,310 or €2.70/kg;
  • Limousin: 395kg – €990 or €2.51/kg;
  • Hereford: 225kg – €500 or €2.22/kg.

In the steer ring, butcher lots traded for €1.80-2.50/kg, while steers – weighing 500-600kg – made €1.80-2.70/kg. In addition, forward store lots sold well and the majority sold at €1.50-3.04/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Aberdeen Angus: 660kg – €1,350 or €2.05/kg;
  • Simmental: 725kg – €1,600 or €2.21/kg;
  • Charolais: 550kg – €1,470 or €2.67/kg;
  • Friesian: 525kg – €1,050 or €2.00/kg;
  • Hereford: 460kg – €965 or €2.10/kg;
  • Limousin: 395kg – €1,125 or €2.85/kg.

A number of cull cows were also on offer and Friesian cows were reported to trade for €1.15-2.00/kg, while continental cows went under the hammer for €1.40-2.37/kg.

Tullow Mart

Some 450 cattle were on offer at Tullow Mart on Friday, May 25. According to the mart’s manager Eric Driver, the cattle were of very good quality and these animals met a very lively trade.

Friesian forward bullocks sold for €1.85/kg upwards, while good-quality continental bullocks fetched €2.30-2.65/kg. Some exceptional continental bullocks broke the €3.00/kg mark.

Continental bullocks weighing under 400kg sold for €2.40-3.00/kg, while a pen of good-quality Charolais bullocks went under the hammer for €3.10/kg.

In general, Angus and Hereford store bullocks sold for €2.10/kg upwards.

In the heifer ring, Hereford and Angus beef types traded for €650-1,100 over. Some Hereford and Angus store lots sold for €2.00/kg, while continental types generally made €2.40-2.80/kg.

In the cull cow ring, Friesian feeder type lots traded for €150 over; continental cows sold for up to €320 over.

Moving to the calf trade, Friesian bulls – suitable for export – sold for €75-120/head. Angus and Hereford heifers traded for €100-250/head, while early-maturing bulls sold up to €320 upwards.

Continental heifer calves sold for €300-360, while continental bulls sold to a top call of €400.