Cattle marts: Wet weather bringing more cattle out

As expected, the number of cattle presented for sale has increased over the past week. This is as a result of deteriorating ground conditions, that are forcing farmers’ hands to market their animals at marts across the country.

While Storm Lorenzo didn’t live up to its hype in many areas, prolonged heavy rainfall right across the country has put an end to grazing for 2019 in some areas.

This will put pressure on prices right across the board. Cow numbers have also increased and these numbers are expected to grow as time rolls on. Last week, we saw moves by processors to cut cow quotes and this – coupled with larger numbers – will have a negative impact on the trade.

Despite this, exporters are still active for that lighter weanling bull and mart managers have noted that a high percentage of suitable weanling bulls are being snapped up by these buyers. However, the heavy bull which is destined for further feeding is well back on price.

Looking at prime cattle prices in the marts, managers have noted that quality, suckler-bred heavier forward bullocks are selling in the region of €2.00/kg, while heifers are slightly easier.

Castlerea Mart

Castlerea Mart held its annual show and sale of Aberdeen Angus heifers on Thursday last, in conjunction with its usual sale of heifers, cows, calves, runners and weanlings.

A large entry of Angus heifers was reported and a firm trade prevailed with a good clearance accounted for.

Brendan Egan, the mart manager, said: “A good attendance of customers were present on the day trying to source heifers for further feeding.

“Other categories of stock reported prices similar to the previous week’s sale, but adverse weather conditions are starting to take affect on stock,” he added.

Additionally, breeding stock and runners were reported to be in good demand, with weanling heifers selling to an improved trade, Brendan said.

Again, the weanling bull trade was dominated by export demand, with farmers competing at the ringside.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 480kg – €885 or €2.18/kg;
  • Limousin: 420kg – €1,000 or €2.38/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 750kg – €1,450 or €1.93/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 417kg – €870 or €2.08/kg;
  • Limousin: 625kg – €1,290 or €2.06/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 495kg – €1,050 or €2.12/kg.

Furthermore, cows with calves at foot made €1,210-1,410/unit, with springers selling from €940/head to €1,450/head. In addition, a number of dry cows also went under the hammer at the Roscommon-based venue.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Limousin: 655kg – €1,280 or €1.95/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 775kg – €1,400 or €1.80/kg;
  • Charolais: 890kg – €1,680 or €1.88/kg;
  • Limousin: 815kg – €1,480 or €1.81/kg.

Moving to the calf ring, calves made from €150/head to €345/head, while runners made €320-770/head.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Limousin heifer: 300kg – €825 or €2.75/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 275kg – €805 or €3.05/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 275kg – €975 or €3.54/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 280kg – €820 or €2.92/kg.

Raphoe Mart

Last Thursday’s sale, October 8, in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, featured a ”great show” of cattle, according to the mart’s Anne Harkin.

She said: “There was a lot of quality cattle on offer and plenty of customers competing hard to purchase these. These quality in-spec animals were in great demand selling up to €2.60/kg.”

However, she noted that plainer cattle were a much harder sale – making €1.60-2.00/kg.

Bulls weighing 600kg and over sold for €570-620/head, while beef bullocks fetched €580-760 over, while store lots made €350-800/head.

Heavier beef heifers traded for €450-710 along with their weight and lots which require further feeding sold for €300-755 over.

In addition, dry cows sold for €500-1,480/head.

Tullow Mart

A smaller sale took place at Tullow Mart on Friday last, October 4. The mart’s manager, Eric Driver, said the trade for store cattle remains steady – with in-spec cattle meeting an “honest” trade.

Beef and forward Friesian bullocks were reported to sell from €450 with the weight up to €900 over – with the latter prices commanded by continental cattle.

In addition, Friesian store bullocks sold from €1.50/kg to €1.70/kg, while early-maturing animals (Angus and Hereford) selling at €1.70-1.90/kg. Continental store bullocks sold for €2.00-2.20/kg, while lighter continental lots made €2.10-2.40/kg.

Moving to heifers, forward types sold for €500-880 over, while store Angus and Hereford lots made €1.70-1.90/kg, with forward continental heifers selling at €1.95-2.15/kg; lighter store lots went under the hammer for €2.05-2.30/kg.

Headford Mart

Headford Mart held its weekly cattle sale on Saturday last, October 5. On the day, bullock prices ranged from €128 to €770 over or from €1.07/kg to €2.40/kg, according to the mart’s manager Joe Wynne.

A Charolais bullock weighing 700kg achieved the top price of €1,470 or €2.10/kg.

In the heifer ring, these lots made €165-672 along with the weight or €1.48-2.53/kg. Four Limousin heifers achieved a top price of €1,290 (€2.09/kg); they weighed 618kg on average. Furthermore, €2.53/kg (€570) was paid for a Charolais heifer weighing 225kg.

Looking to weanling heifers, these animals sold for €200-640 over or €1.67-2.94/kg. A Charolais weanling heifer weighing 330kg sold for €970 or €3.94/kg.

Moving to weanling bulls, prices ranged from €220-635 along with the weight, or €1.63-3.00/kg. A Charolais bull – weighing 320kg – was bought for €955 or €2.98/kg. The top price on a €/kg basis went to a Charolais bull weighing 300kg; he sold for €900 (€3.00/kg).

Cull cows were reported to sell for €470-1,260/head, while suckler cow and calf pairings sold for €650-1,200/head.