Farmers, particularly those in northern and western reaches, have been battling against the elements of late. The inclement weather, that has seen cattle housed in many locations, is now starting to have an impact on the quality of cattle coming forward to the mart.

In instances where farmers don’t have the facilities to house stock, many are being forced to market cattle earlier than usual. In most cases, this is before farmers have been able to put the much sought after ‘bloom’ on their animals prior to sale.

Over recent days, mart managers have noted that the quality of cattle coming on stream has declined. As a result, animals of dairy parentage or dairy-beef animals have met a more difficult trade.

Ennis Mart

Over 1,000 lots of cattle passed through the ring of Ennis Mart on Thursday last. According to the mart’s Danny Moran, the continuous poor weather is physically starting to take its toll on some stock.

Moran added: “Buyers were again very active for quality lots; plainer cattle, in some cases, met a difficult trade. Bullocks generally made €1.80-2.90/kg and quality, forward and factory fit cattle were a strong trade.”

Sample steer prices:
  • Simmental: 342kg – €900 or €2.64/kg;
  • Charolais: 347kg – €1,235 or €3.55/kg;
  • Limousin: 466kg – €1,295 or €2.78/kg;
  • Charolais: 497kg – €1,300 or €2.61/kg;
  • Charolais: 647kg – €1,520 or €2.35/kg;
  • Hereford: 835kg – €1,630 or €1.95/kg.

Last Thursday’s sale also featured a good entry of heifers; the prices achieved very much reflected the quality on offer.

Store heifers (350-500kg) sold for €2.00-2.73/kg; quality heifers on offer met a strong trade and prices of €2.51/kg were obtained.

However, cull cows were slightly easier and the quality on offer was mixed, Moran said. Good-quality continental cows, he said, made €1.47-2.34/kg, while the dairy types traded at €0.80-1.36/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 390kg – €960 or €2.46/kg;
  • Charolais: 385kg – €950 or €2.47/kg;
  • Charolais: 490kg – €1,140 or €2.33/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 590kg – €1,310 or €2.22/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 650kg – €1,430 or €2.20/kg;
  • Charolais: 650kg – €1,630 or €2.51/kg.

Balla Mart

Approximately 1,000 cattle passed through the ring of Balla Mart, Co. Mayo, on Saturday last.

The mart’s Anthony Murphy said store bullocks sold for an average price of €2.24/kg and heavier lots (400-500kg) made €2.27/kg. Lots weighing over 500kg traded for an average price of €2.15/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Limousin: 395kg – €1,050 or €2.66/kg;
  • Simmental: 495kg – €1,320 or €2.67/kg;
  • Charolais: 685kg – €1,650 or €2.41/kg;
  • Charolais: 765kg – €1,675 or €2.19/kg;
  • Charolais: 810kg – €1,690 or €2.09/kg.

There was also a big sale of heifers on Saturday. Lots weighing up to 400kg sold for an average price of €2.02/kg, 400-500kg heifers made €2.19/kg and 500+kg lots traded at €2.08/kg.

180 cows also passed through the ring of the Mayo-based venue on Saturday. Topping the in-calf section of the sale was a January-14 born Belgian Blue cow, which sold for €1,950. Overall, dry cows traded at €1.98/kg on the day.

Castlerea Mart

Castlerea Mart held its annual show and sale of Aberdeen Angus heifers on Thursday last. According to the mart’s Brendan Egan, there was a large entry of stock on offer and demand was especially strong for the top-quality lots and prize winners.

The best of the Aberdeen Angus heifers traded for €2.30-2.40/kg. However, in the weanling rings, Egan said the recent spell of poor weather has impacted on the quality of cattle on offer.

“Prices for quality calves were maintained, while plainer lots were a little harder sold,” he said. Generally speaking, the best of the weanlings bulls traded at €2.33-3.60/kg and weanlings heifers made €2.82-3.30/kg.

Sample weanlings prices:
  • Limousin bull: 205kg – €910 or €3.08/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 355kg – €1,115 or €3.14/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 465kg – €1,085 or €2.33/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 295kg – €915 or €3.10/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 270kg – €890 or €3.30/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 300kg – €920 or €3.07/kg.

In addition, suckler cow prices were maintained and a good clearance was reported. Cows with calves at foot traded at €1,100-1,910, in-calf cows made €1,000-1,700 and dry cows sold for €1.78-2.27/kg.

Kilkenny Mart

There was another big yard of cattle on offer in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Thursday last. George Candler, the mart auctioneer, said: “Due to larger numbers on offer, buyers are becoming selective and there is a marked difference between the traditional breeds and the quality continentals.

A lot of farmers, especially those with dairy animals, were encouraged to use traditional breeds due to the bonuses that were offered.

“It now appears that Aberdeen Angus and Hereford are no longer in favour; especially if they are showing a dairy or Holstein influence,” he said.

The bulk of these steers, he said, traded from €1.50-1.85/kg; the quality lots on offer sold for up to €2/kg.

Forward and beef steers (600+kg) sold for €1.50-2.62/kg, €1.40-2.75/kg was obtained for steers weighing 500-600kg and the lighter lots (400-500kg) sold for €1.50-2.75/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Charolais: 665kg – €1,640 or €2.47/kg;
  • Friesian: 650kg – €1,300 or €2.00/kg;
  • Charolais: 590kg – €1,440 or €2.44/kg;
  • Saler: 570kg – €1,410 or €2.47/kg;
  • Piedmontese: 495kg – €1,310 or €2.65/kg;
  • Limousin: 480kg – €1,230 or €2.56/kg.

In the heifer ring, he said, there was keen demand for quality continentals and prices of €2.20-2.50/kg were achieved on a regular basis.

Beef beef heifers made €2.00-2.45/kg on the day, forward store heifers sold for €1,80-2.55/kg and light store heifers traded at €1.70-2.55/kg.

Candler added that cows remained a steady trade. Friesian-type culls sold for €1.00-1.75/kg and the better-quality continentals fetched €1.30-2.10/kg.