Cattle marts: Silage takes farmers away from the ringside

The country basked in glorious weather last week and many farmers used it as an opportunity to save silage. However, the resulting field work saw cattle numbers fall in marts across the country.

Despite this, the trade remained strong and that was greatly helped by demand from exporters and factory agents. In addition, grass growth has remained strong on many farms throughout the country – especially those which experienced rain last week – and grass buyers have also been active at the ringside.

Kilkenny Mart

A smaller entry of 600 cattle was recorded at Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Thursday last and the mart’s George Candler put this down to farmers being very busy with silage making.

Beef and forward bullocks and heifers met an excellent trade, he noted, and quality continentals met a sharp trade. However, like previous weeks, the most difficult animals to sell were animals (<350kg) which originated from the dairy herd.

Beef steers (+600kg) sold for €2.00-2.56/kg, while the forward stores (500-600kg) sold for €1.80-2.80/kg. A selection of store cattle was also on offer and prices of €1.70-2.90/kg were realised for lots weighing 400-500kg and the lighter lots (<400kg) sold for €1.80-3.26/kg or €510-1,190/head.

Sample steer prices:
  • Charolais: 775kg – €1,845 or €2.38/kg;
  • Angus: 750kg – €1,710 or €2.28/kg;
  • Limousin: 530kg – €1,490 or €2.81/kg;
  • Charolais: 495kg – €1,390 or €2.81/kg;
  • Limousin: 455kg – €1,300 or €2.86/kg;
  • Angus: 370kg – €870 or €2.35/kg.

Meanwhile, beef heifers sold for €2.20-2.50/kg or €1,250-1,610; the forward store lots made €2.00-2.40/kg and the lighter store heifers sold for €1.80-2.80/kg or €500-940/head.

Sample heifers prices:
  • Belgian Blue: 650kg – €1,610 or €2.48/kg;
  • Charolais: 615kg – €1,520 or €2.47/kg;
  • Hereford: 560kg – €1,170 or €2.09/kg;
  • Charolais: 500kg – €1,200 or €2.40/kg;
  • Limousin: 475kg – €1,050 or €2.21/kg;
  • Charolais: 395kg – €940 or €2.38/kg;
  • Angus: 380kg – €820 or €2.16/kg.

Like previous weeks, cull cows continued to remain in demand in the Kilkenny-based venue; Friesian cows sold at €1.25-1.80/kg and continentals made €1.40-2.20/kg.

Carnew Mart

Last Saturday’s sale in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, featured an entry of 550 cattle; a very strong trade was reported for all classes, with store and factory cattle returns up on the previous week’s sale.

Looking at steers, beef bullocks sold from €650-1,070 over, continental stores made €550-860 over and the Friesian types traded at €220-670 over.

A number of beef and store heifers were also on offer and these lots sold for €620-970 over and €350-570 over respectively. Meanwhile, fat cows traded at €550-850 over, while the Friesian types sold for €470-750 with the weight.

Castlerea Mart

Some 500 cattle were presented for sale at Castlerea Mart’s weekly cattle sale on Thursday last and the recent spell of fine weather was said to have had an impact on numbers.

However, the trade remained very strong due to farmer activity and prices were maintained for quality animals. Store steers traded for €2.59-3.04/kg, while similar type heifers made €2.70-2.86/kg.

A number of weanling bulls and heifers were also on offer and these lots sold for €2.56-3.01/kg and €2.57-2.45/kg respectively.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Limousin bull: 280kg – €840 or €3.00/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 270kg – €795 or €2.94/kg;
  • Angus bull: 440kg – €1,125 or €2.56/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 285kg – €830 or €2.91/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 210kg – €725 or €3.45/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 410kg – €1,055 or €2.57/kg.

Moving on to cows, dry cows sold at €1,470-1,630, while cows with calves at foot made €1,310-1,970 and springers traded at €850-1,290.

Ennis Mart

Plenty of buyers were present at Ennis Mart’s weekly cattle sale on Tuesday last and agents and exporters were very active on the day.

The weanling bull trade was particularly strong. Prices for these lots were up on the previous week and weanling bulls generated returns of €2.75-3.84/kg.

Sample weanling bull prices:
  • Limousin: 190kg – €730 or €3.84/kg;
  • Limousin: 385kg: €1,170 or €3.03/kg;
  • Charolais: 285kg – €930 or €3.26/kg;
  • Angus: 295kg – €825 or €2.79/kg;
  • Charolais: 409kg or €2.75/kg;
  • Simmental: 380kg – €1,155 or €3.04/kg.

Heifers also met an excellent trade and some top-quality lots were on offer. These animals sold at €2.70-3.31/kg.

Sample weanling heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 377kg – €1,125 or €2.98/kg;
  • Limousin: 395kg: €1,080 or €2.73/kg;
  • Limousin: 475kg – €1,285 or €2.70/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 355kg – €1,045 or €2.94/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 285kg – €945 or €3.31/kg;
  • Limousin: 230kg – €755 or €3.28/kg.

On the day, in-calf suckler cows and heifers sold to an average price of €1,100, while suckler cows with calves at foot traded from €1,000 up to €1,680.