Another week has passed and the trade for store cattle continues to be the topic of conversation by farmers currently buying cattle. In the majority of cases prices are more or less seeing similar levels to what has been paid over the past three weeks.

However, at marts such as Tullamore last Thursday (March 29), the prices paid seem to be gaining strength every week, as prices for heifers were quoted to be ahead by €20-30/head.

Grass farmers are having a hard time of it trying to source cheap stores at the minute – the good quality continental store heifer is continuing to trade at an average of €2.25/kg up to prices of €2.40/kg.

There has been outlying prices recorded for the top range of these heifers with reports of these selling at €2.50-2.60/kg in cases.

The competition is even edging on for the more traditional bred heifers, as these stores (over 400kg) have sold for over €2.30/kg in cases – presumably these prices were for females with better quality.

In the bullock trade, these have seen similar prices to that paid for heifers. General prices for the more sought-after continentals (400-550kg) have averaged at €2.20-2.40/kg.

Turning to the heavy cattle, a lot of farmers have been questioning whether having heavy bullocks or heifers that are not ‘in-spec’ is going to affect their prices at marts when compared to cattle that tick all the boxes – because it is hard to see much of a difference in some of prices paid last week.

With supplies being short in some processing plants over the past week, ‘factory-fit’ continental cattle were securing from €2.05/kg even up to tops of €2.45/kg.

There seems to be plenty of grass farmers actively looking for short-keep cattle (over 600kg) to hold onto for two-three months before finally slaughtering them. This is adding to the pressure for factory agents.

The cow trade this week has improved again in some marts as prices for heavier continental lots ranged from €1.65-2.10/kg, while the store cows were starting off at €1.50/kg.

This week Agriland takes a look at the recent sale of cattle at Kilkenny Mart.

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Kilkenny Mart

There were over 1,100 cattle on offer at Kilkenny Mart on Thursday (March 25), with improvements in prices being seen for forward cattle in general.

Speaking about the trade last week, the mart’s auctioneer, George Candler, stated that the bullocks in excess of 490kg were very much “sought after”.

Adding to this, he commented: “Angus bullocks and heifers are proving to be very popular, with the bulk selling from €1.90/kg to €2.35/kg.”

Quality Friesian bullocks ranged from €1.70/kg to €2.05/kg.

Overall, there was a strong clearance rate in Kilkenny last week, as cull cows and heifers met a 98% clearance.

Starting with the bullocks, the steers weighing over 600kg were ranging from €2.00/kg up to €2.45/kg. The 500-600kg bullock was achieving prices of €1.80/kg up to highs of €2.90/kg.

Bullocks weighing in at 400-500kg were selling at €1.60-2.90/kg.

Sample bullock prices (over 600kg):

  • Limousin: 880kg – €1,800 or €2.05/kg;
  • Limousin: 875kg – €1,880 or €2.15/kg;
  • Charolais: 720kg – €1,640 or €2.28/kg;
  • Charolais: 615kg – €1,480 or €2.41/kg;
  • Hereford: 605kg – €1,290 or €2.13/kg.

Sample bullock prices (500-600kg):

  • Charolais: 595kg – €1,610 or €2.71/kg;
  • Angus: 590kg – €1,370 or €2.32/kg;
  • Charolais: 575kg – €1,610 or €2.80/kg;
  • Friesian: 565kg – €1,100 or €1.95/kg;
  • Charolais: 505kg – €1,230 or €2.44/kg.

Sample bullock prices (400-500kg):

  • Charolais: 480kg – €1,310 or €2.73/kg;
  • Simmental: 470kg – €1,150 or €2.45/kg;
  • Limousin: 445kg – €1,290 or €2.90/kg;
  • Charolais: 415kg – €1,030 or €2.48/kg;
  • Angus: 400kg – €850 or €2.13/kg.

Turning to the heifer trade, prices for heavy females were selling at 2.00-2.45/kg, while more forward stores were topped at €2.70/kg and sold back to €1.90/kg.

Lighter store heifers under 400kg sold from €1.70/kg up to €2.70/kg .

Sample heifer prices (over 550kg):

  • Limousin: 680kg – €1,570 or €2.31/kg;
  • Charolais: 635kg €1,540 or €2.43/kg;
  • Limousin: 610kg €1,470 or €2.41/kg;
  • Angus: 605kg €1,290 or €2.13/kg;
  • Limousin: 580kg €1,340 or €2.31/kg.

Sample heifer prices (400-550kg):

  • Belgian Blue: 530kg – €1,390 or €2.62/kg;
  • Charolais: 495kg – €1,130 or €2.28/kg;
  • Charolais: 460kg – €1,150 or €2.50/kg;
  • Angus: 435kg – €960 or €2.21/kg;
  • Limousin: 410kg €1,000 or €2.44/kg.

Sample heifer prices (under 400kg):

  • Charolais: 390kg – €970 or €2.49/kg;
  • Angus: 360kg – €750 or €2.08/kg;
  • Limousin: 345kg – €710 or €2.06/kg;
  • Angus: 300kg – €680 or €2.27/kg.