There has been large sales of cattle right throughout the fall, and this trend has continued with big sales of cattle right up to this week at Wexford Farmers’ Co-Operative (Enniscorthy) Mart.

Speaking to Agriland, mart manager, Kevin Murphy said: “The trade has been rising in recent weeks and with this Tuesday’s sale (December 12), that trend has continued.

“I’m attributing the larger numbers to a couple of different factors. One being that the strong trade is enticing farmers to market cattle sooner than normal.

“Also due to the wet year, cattle have not thriven as well as normal when out at grass, meaning cattle are that little bit backward when compared to other years. I know that some farmers that normally finish these cattle themselves, have opted to offload cattle rather than feed on.

“There is also a bigger number of cull cows selling when compared to the same time last year, as milk price isn’t as strong, and farmers are conscious of upcoming nitrates changes.”

Cull cow sale at Enniscorthy Mart

Despite the bigger numbers on offer, cull cows are rising in price, according to the mart manager.

“There are some very strong buyers both online and ringside looking for those forward and well-fleshed cows. The Friesian cows sold from €1/kg for the backward store cows right up to €1.92/kg for a finished British Friesian-type cow weighing 740kg making €1,420.”

Cows ranged in price from €1.45/kg up to €2.36/kg.

Sample cow prices:

  • 770kg Hereford cow making €1,700;
  • 670kg Charolais cow making €1,580;
  • 675kg Angus cow making €1,530;
  • 740kg Friesian cow making €1,420;
  • 630kg Friesian cow making €1,050;
  • 615kg Friesian cow making €960;
  • 490kg Friesian cow making €550.

Well-fleshed continental cows were scarce on the day. The stores ranged from €940 for a 570kg Hereford-cross up to €1,700 for a 770kg Angus cow.

Beef and forward store bullocks

The Enniscorthy mart manager said: “Finished cattle were scarce on the day but there is a massive demand for those forward and finished-type cattle.

Forward store bullocks ranged in price from €2.39/kg up to €2.85/kg.

Sample bullock prices:

  • 600kg Limousin bullock making €1,710;
  • 720kg Hereford bullock making €1,900;
  • 730kg Angus bull making €1,970;
  • 540kg Angus bullock making €1,380.

“Factory agents and feedlot buyers are all very eager for those forward cattle. With the recent rise in beef price, there is a lot of confidence among buyers that beef is going to keep rising.”

Beef and forward store heifers

Forward store heifers sold from €2.53/kg up to €3.06/kg for quality lots.

  • Limousin heifer weighing 560kg making €1,660;
  • Limousin heifer weighing 510kg making €1,560;
  • Two Charolais heifers weighing 505kg making €1,450;
  • Limousin heifer weighing 670kg making €1,900;
  • Angus heifer weighing 520kg making €1;320.

As with the bullocks, there is a rising demand for the strong heifers with plenty of buyer activity both ringside and online.

Lighter store bullocks and heifers

Light store bullocks sold from €2.00/kg for plain lots up to €3.00/kg for good-quality suckler bred stores.

Sample store heifer and bullock prices:

  • Limousin heifer weighing 370kg making €1,340;
  • Limousin heifer weighing 450kg making €1,400;
  • Two Limousin heifers weighing 410kg making €1,110;
  • Three Angus heifers weighing 360kg making €830;
  • Belgian Blue bullock weighing 480kg making €1,350;
  • Three Limousin bullocks weighing 510kg making €1,490.

There was a massive demand for store heifers. They sold from €2.00/kg for plain cattle out of the dairy herd up to a top-price of €3.62/kg a nice store heifer.

Friesian bullocks

Friesian bullocks sold anywhere from €2.35/kg up to €2.43/kg.

Sample Friesian bullock prices:

  • Five Friesian bullocks weighing 490kg making €1,190;
  • Four Friesian bullocks weighing 518kg making €1,260;
  • Four Friesian bullocks weighing 490kg making €1,150;
  • Four Friesian bullocks weighing 685kg making €1,150.

There was a pen of 20 store Friesian Bullocks on offer and they ranged from €1,150 for 485kg up to €1,260kg for four Friesians weighing 516kg.

The final cattle sale of the year will take place on Tuesday, December 19. The final calf and sheep sale of the year will take place on Wednesday, December 20.

Sales will resume at Enniscorthy Mart on Tuesday, January 9, 2024.