It was a good time for farmers selling store cattle last week with reports of week-on-week prices rising by ‘€30-40/head’, according to one mart manager from the west of Ireland.

The store cattle trade rightly took off last week, with a manager from a mart in the southern half of the country stating some farmers were paying ‘insane prices’ for stores.

Looking at the bullocks first, quality continental stores in the 400-550kg bracket were generally selling from €2.25-2.45/kg last week, while some bullocks were securing prices above €2.50/kg.

Angus and Hereford store bullocks were seeing similar enough trends to the previous week, with some marts recording stronger prices for Hereford bullocks. Falling into the 400-550kg category, these generally sold from €1.90-2.15/kg.

Cattle numbers picked up in a lot of marts last week, as farmers begin to take advantage of an improved trade. 

In the heifer trade, continental lots weighing 500-600kg were generally selling at €2.20/kg up to €2.30/kg.

In Ballybay Mart on Saturday, heifers with some similar weights and lighter were sold at €2.35-2.43/kg for the quality continentals.

Also Read: Store heifers sell up to €2.71/kg at Tullamore Mart

There were still some marts reporting low numbers of heavy bullocks and heifers, over 700kg – although a strong edge continues from factory agents to get their hands on these stock.

Turning to the dry cow trade, mixed reports have been noted – with slight improvement highlighted in some marts. Generally, continental store cows were selling from €1.65/kg up to €1.90/kg.

There were more prices achieved exceeding €2.00/kg, but these were for the heavier and higher grading lots.

In the weanling rings, the positivity from the previous week remained – with lighter continental bulls and heifers (under 450kg) continuing to achieve top prices over €3.00/kg. These values eased back to €2.40-2.45/kg.

This week AgriLand takes a look at the recent sales of cattle in Ballybay and Ennis Marts.

Image taken prior to Covid-19 restrictions

Ballybay Mart

There was a big sale of cattle on Saturday in Ballybay mart, with 863 cattle entered between dry cows, bullocks, heifers and suck calves.

It was a ‘sellers’ market’ according to the mart’s manager, Adrian Grimes – with store cattle recording very strong prices especially when it comes to the more quality lots.

Speaking to AgriLand, Adrian said:

The lighter-type store bullock [under 550kg] had crazy levels of demand from farmers just looking for cattle to graze grass over the coming months.

“The top quality bullocks were averaging between €2.40-2.50/kg.

“The forward-type bullocks were not receiving as big of an appetite. I suppose it was just hard to compare these type of cattle to the trade that store bullocks were recording because it was just a very good trade for them.”

Sample bullock prices (over 600kg): 

  • Charolais: 710kg – €1,620 or €2.28/kg;
  • Simmental: 695kg – €1,550 or €2.23/kg;
  • Simmental: 645kg – €1,430 or €2.21/kg;
  • Charolais: 645kg – €1,440 or €2.23/kg;
  • Charolais: 635kg – €1,420 or €2.23/kg;
  • Charolais: 630kg – €1,430 or €2.27/kg;
  • Limousin: 615kg – €1,470 or €2.39/kg;
  • Charolais: 615kg – €1,420 or €2.30/kg;
  • Simmental: 600kg – €1,410 or €2.35/kg;
  • Aubrac: 600kg – €1,420 or €2.36/kg.

Sample bullock prices (500-600kg):

  • Charolais: 590kg – €1,430 or €2.42kg;
  • Charolais: 570kg – €1,370 or €2.40/kg;
  • Charolais: 555kg – €1,340 or €2.41/kg;
  • Charolais: 545kg – €1,070 or €2.48/kg;
  • Simmental: 530kg – €1,240 or €2.34/kg;
  • Simmental: 525kg – €1,270 or €2.41/kg;
  • Simmental: 520kg – €1,170 or €2.25/kg;
  • Charolais: 520kg – €1,270 or €2.44/kg;
  • Aubrac: 515kg – €1,190 or €2.31/kg;
  • Limousin: 505kg – €1,270 or €2.24/kg.

Sample bullock prices (under 500kg): 

  • Hereford: 490kg – €1,110 or €2.26/kg;
  • Aubrac: 475kg- €1,160 or €2.44/kg;
  • Limousin: 475kg – €1,190 or €2.50/kg;
  • Charolais: 465kg – €1,100 or €2.36/kg;
  • Simmental: 460kg – €1,050 or €2.28/kg;
  • Aubrac: 455kg – €1,080 or €2.37/kg;
  • Limousin: 400kg – €870  or €2.18/kg;
  • Charolais: 345kg – €790 or €2.29/kg;
  • Hereford: 310kg – €750 or €2.41/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 225kg – €1,170 or €2.25/kg.

In the heifer trade, the comments from Adrian were more or less seeing similar to the store bullock trade. He stated:

“Again, the trade was driven by farmers looking for store cattle this spring. It resulted in the lighter store heifers recording an average of €2.43-2.44/kg. Although, quality was the key in reaching these prices.”

Sample heifer prices (over 500kg):

  • Charolais: 640kg – €1,530 or €2.39/kg;
  • Charolais: 650kg – €1,570 or €2.41/kg;
  • Charolais: 600kg – €1,490 or €2.48/kg;
  • Saler: 585kg – €1,360 or €2.32/kg;
  • Simmental: 580kg – €1,390 or €2.39/kg;
  • Charolais: 575kg – €1,350 or €2.35/kg;
  • Limousin: 535kg – €1,290 or €2.41/kg;
  • Charolais: 530kg – €1,350 or €2.55/kg;
  • Charolais: 505kg – €1,230 or €2.43/kg;
  • Charolais: 500kg – €1,220 or €2.44/kg.

Sample heifer prices (under 500kg):

  • Charolais: 475kg – €1,120 or €2.35/kg;
  • Limousin: 470kg – €1,100 or €2.34/kg;
  • Charolais: 450kg – €1,080 or €2.40/kg;
  • Charolais: 430kg – €1,030 or €2.40/kg;
  • Charolais: 415kg – €1,040 or €2.50/kg;
  • Limousin: 400kg – €1,040 or €2.60/kg;
  • Charolais: 395kg – €950 or €2.40/kg;
  • Charolais: 380kg – €910 or €2.39/kg;
  • Simmental: 355kg – €840 or €2.36/kg;
  • Limousin: 310kg – €810 or €2.61/kg.

Dry cows sold up to a top price of €2.34/kg on Saturday, with Adrian stating: “Any good continental cows fit for slaughter were selling over €2.00/kg. Friesian cows sold to an average of €1.47/kg.

“Angus, Hereford and Limousin store cows [550-650kg] were selling up to €1.86/kg. The continental store cows were peaking near the €1.90/kg mark. A lot of the custom for these was from Northern clients.”

Ennis Mart

There were good numbers presented for sale at Ennis Mart on Thursday, March 4.

The mart’s manager, Martin McNamara, reported that there were over 470 lots consisting of heifers, cull cows and some aged bulls.

Commenting on the sale, Martin stated: “The trade is holding very strong, with more store type stock available in both rings.

“Beef cows were highly sought after, while aged bulls met a great trade but numbers were small.

“A Limousin bull weighing 905kg made €1,950. Overall, bulls averaged €2.02/kg.”

Sample heifer prices:

  • Limousin: 625kg – €1,480 or €2.37/kg;
  • Limousin: 605kg – €1,430 or €2.36/kg;
  • Angus: 595kg – €1,390 or €2.34/kg;
  • Limousin: 575kg – €1,390 or €2.42/kg;
  • Angus: 555kg – €1,090 or €1.96/kg;
  • Hereford: 545kg – €1,190 or €2.18/kg;
  • Hereford: 497kg – €980 or €1.97/kg;
  • Charolais: 440kg – €1,350 or €3.07/kg;
  • Limousin: 440kg – €1,340 or €3.05/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 375kg – €1,080 or €2.88/kg;
  • Charolais: 365kg – €1,000 or €2.74/kg;
  • Angus: 297kg – €640 or €2.15/kg.

Sample cull cow prices:

  • Limousin: 830kg – €1,740 or €2.09/kg;
  • Hereford: 805kg – €1,300 or €1.61/kg;
  • Limousin: 775kg – €1,630 or €2.10/kg;
  • Hereford: 735kg – €1,370 or €1.86/kg;
  • Shorthorn: 730kg – €1,260 or €1.72/kg;
  • Friesian: 690kg – €1,010 or €1.46/kg;
  • Friesian: 680kg – €1,020 – €1.50/kg;
  • Charolais: 675kg – €1,600 or €2.37/kg;
  • Charolais: 670kg – €1,480 or €2.21/kg;
  • Limousin: 590kg – €1,340 or €2.27/kg;
  • Angus: 565kg – €980 or €1.73/kg;
  • Friesian: 450kg – €760 or €1.69/kg.