Cattle marts: Wet weather brings out more cattle

Falling factory prices and deteriorating ground conditions have resulted in an increase in the number of cattle being marketed through the ring.

Marts have reported stronger entries in recent days and supplies of forward and beef cattle have been on the rise.

Despite the larger numbers available, prices have remained largely unchanged from last week and the addition of shed finishers to the ringside is likely to help offset any major downturn in prices in the short-term.

Balla Mart

Last Saturday’s sale at Balla Mart featured a large entry of heavy cattle and the prices achieved were said to be exceptional. Some of these heavier cattle sold for €1,100 over.

Store steers (up to 400kg) sold for an average price of €2.45/kg, according to the mart’s Anthony Murphy, and those weighing 400-500kg made €2.34/kg. The heavier lots (500+kg) traded at €2.25/kg and lots weighing over 700kg sold for €2.55/kg.

There was also 200 lots of heifers on offer and those weighing up to 400kg averaged €2.46/kg, heifers weighing 400-500kg made €2.25/kg and 500+kg lots sold for €2.06/kg.

Sample steer and heifer prices:
  • Charolais steer: 265kg – €785 or €2.96/kg;
  • Limousin steer: 480kg – €1,315 or €2.74/kg;
  • Charolais steer: 720kg – €1,850 or €2.57/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 290kg – €800 or €2.76/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 395kg – €1,050 or €2.66/kg;
  • Angus heifer: 675kg – €1,520 or €2.25/kg.

70 cows also passed through the ring of the Mayo-based venue on Saturday. The best of the in-calf cows was an April-2012 born Angus with a Charolais bull calf at foot; this pair sold for €1,840. A January-2011 born Limousin cow topped the dry cow section at €1,585 or €1.70/kg.

Tullow Mart

There was a lively trade again in Tullow Mart on Friday, according to the mart’s Eric Driver. The mart manager said the beef trade is holding steady, despite falling prices in the factories.

Overall, he said, Friesian and Angus steers sold for upwards of €680 over and the majority of the continental lots sold at €850-920 over.

Store bullocks, he said, continued to remain in demand from grass buyers and some shed finishers are starting to appear around the ring.

Prices of €2/kg were paid for Angus and Hereford stores and upwards of €2.70/kg was freely given for well-presented, U-grade animals; the majority of these lots traded at €2.30-2.50/kg.

Good butcher demand was also noticed for the beef and forward-type heifers. Prices of €700 over were paid for the Hereford and Angus types and upwards of €930 over was given for some of the stronger-type Charolais heifers.

Driver added: “Store heifers continued to meet the same farmer demand, with prices resembling €2/kg for the Hereford and Angus heifers and upwards of €2.30-2.50/kg was given for the good continental types.”

He continued to say that there was plenty of custom for heifers weighing 380-450kg. This was also the case for weanling bulls with good continentals making €2.20-2.60/kg.

Moving on to cull cows, there was no great change in this department and Friesians continued to sell from €100 over and the younger continental cows sold at €550-600 over.

Castlerea Mart

Bigger numbers of stock were presented at last Thursday’s cattle sale in Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon. This entry followed the recent spell of wet weather.

Feeders and farmers, along with agents and exporters, continued to be active for good-quality, feeding-type animals, according to the mart manager, Brendan Egan.

He added: “The bullock and heifer trade remained firm, while dry cows and breeding stock reported good clearances.”

The best of the forward steers traded at €2.08-2.60/kg and similar type heifers made €2.33-2.57/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 410kg – €1,170 or €2.85/kg;
  • Limousin: 395kg – €1,095 or €2.77/kg;
  • Limousin: 405kg – €1,050 or €2.59/kg;
  • Limousin: 570kg – €1,330 or €2.33/kg;
  • Limousin: 580kg – €1,405 or €2.42/kg.

In the weanling ring, Egan added, the top-quality lots commanded some fancy prices. Generally speaking, the best of the weanling bulls traded at €2.35-3.58/kg and heifers sold for €2.56-3.08/kg.