Cattle marts: Quality in demand, but plainer stock remain difficult

Like grass growth rates, the cattle trade in marts across the country is beginning to exhibit a glimmer of new life. Marked increases in sale sizes have been witnessed over recent days, while more buyers are also beginning to make their presence felt at the ringside.

Quality cattle have met the best trade – driven by finisher and exporter demand – while it’s a different story for the plainer lots originating from the dairy herd. Buyers are a little slower to reappear for these animals and the market remains challenging.

Kilkenny Mart

Commenting on last Thursday’s sale in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, George Candler said a few more cattle appeared and a sharper trade for quality lots was witnessed.

Most additional customers were looking at short-keep animals, he noted, and plainer, long-keep cattle met a difficult trade.

Some plainer Hereford, Angus and Friesian were as low as €1.30/kg.

On the day, +600kg steers sold for €1.70-2.30/kg, those falling into the 500-600kg category traded at €1.50-2.40/kg and the lighter stores (<400kg) made €1.30-2.70/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Charolais: 775kg – €1,750 or €2.26/kg;
  • Hereford: 754kg – €1,540 or €2.07/kg;
  • Angus: 575kg – €1,050 or €1.83/kg;
  • Charolais: 565kg – €1,320 or €2.34/kg;
  • Hereford: 465kg – €840 or €1.81/kg;
  • Friesian: 395kg – €610 or €1.54/kg;
  • Limousin: 375kg – €1,000 or €2.67/kg.

Meanwhile, looking at heifer returns, beef heifers sold for €1.90-2.20/kg, forward store heifers traded at €1.75-2.40/kg and light store heifers fetched €1.70-2.55/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 725kg – €1,580 or €2.18/kg;
  • Angus: 600kg – €1,200 or €2.00/kg;
  • Angus: 580kg – €1,150 or €1.98/kg;
  • Limousin: 495kg – €1,080 or €2.18/kg;
  • Hereford: 425kg – €780 or €1.84/kg;
  • Charolais: 365kg – €680 or €1.86/kg;
  • Limousin: 250kg – €570 or €2.28/kg.

Cull cow prices remained steady, Candler noted, and more customers were present for quality continentals. Continental cull cows sold for €1.30-1.92/kg and Friesian types made €0.60-1.50/kg.

Raphoe Mart

A larger entry of cattle was witnessed at Raphoe Mart’s weekly cattle sale on Thursday last and a full-house of customers was present on the day, which resulted in an improvement in the returns generated.

Bullocks sold for €2.10-2.60/kg, heifers traded at €2.20-2.70/kg and fat cows made €950-1,395. Despite the strong prices recorded, lighter and plainer lots remained most difficult to sell.

Sample prices:
  • Top-class bulls >600kg: €560-875 over;
  • Beef bullocks: €860-995 over;
  • Store bullocks: €520-805 over;
  • Beef heifers: €535-905 over;
  • Store heifers: €350-625 over.

Carnew Mart

Some 550 cattle passed through the ring of Carnew Mart on Saturday last and quality beef and forward store returns were said to have climbed by €20/head.

On the day, beef and forward steers sold for €630-910 over, continental store bullocks made €440-780 over and the Friesian types traded at €120-540 over.

In addition, beef heifers sold for €550-870, store heifers made €280-710 over and beef cows fetched €320-740 over.

Castlerea Mart

Moving to Castlerea Mart, some 400 cattle were on offer in the Roscommon-based venue last Thursday and the demand was said to be strong for forward store bullocks and heifers. Demand was also evident in the weanling ring, with quality lots receiving the most attention from purchasers.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Limousin bull: 255kg – €720 or €2.82/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 345kg – €1,010 or €2.93/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 425kg – €1,175 or €2.76/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 290kg – €775 or €2.67/kg;
  • Simmental heifer: 240kg – €610 or €2.54/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 300 kg – €760 or €2.53/kg.

Mart manager Brendan Egan noted that the trade had stabilised due to good growth and increased farmer activity.

Sample steer and heifer prices:
  • Charolais steer: 460kg – €1,175 or €2.55/kg;
  • Limousin steer: 545kg – €1,150 or €2.11/kg;
  • Charolais steer: 505kg – €1,105 or €2.19/kg;
  • Angus steer: 555kg – €1,240 or €2.23/kg;
  • Belgian Blue heifer: 395kg – €1,110 or €2.81/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 470kg – €1,170 or €2.49/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 800kg – €1,835 or €2.29/kg;
  • Angus heifer: 550kg – €1,310 or €2.38/kg.

Looking at cow returns, the best of the dry cows sold for €1,425-1,900, cows with calves at foot made €1,030-1,680 and in-calf cows realised €850-1,060.

Ennis Mart

Despite the occurrence of Galway race week, numbers began to increase at Ennis Mart on Tuesday last (July 31). A great mix of cull cows was on offer and about 30% of those present were of dairy origin.

Beef cull cows met a good trade and prices of more than €1.90/kg were recorded. Meanwhile, the Friesian types traded for €0.85-1.20/kg. In addition, the overall bullock and heifer trade improved by €10/head.

Sample steer and heifer prices:
  • Limousin steer: 450kg – €1,185 or €2.63/kg;
  • Charolais: 682kg – €1,470 or €2.15/kg;
  • Charolais: 507kg – €1,200 or €2.36/kg;
  • Hereford steer: 640kg – €1,150 or €1.80/kg;
  • Angus steer: 610kg – €1,135 or €1.86/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 445kg – €1,060 or €2.38/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 522kg – €1,150 or €2.20/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 400kg – €975 or €2.44/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 405kg – €1,030 or €2.54/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 417kg – €960 or €2.30/kg.