Farmers still prefer marts over farm-to-farm sales

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Animal Identification and Movement System (AIM) recorded over three million cattle movements in 2016.

Details of these movements were revealed in the ‘AIM Bovine Statistics Report 2016’, which showed that farmers continued to favour marts over farm-to-farm sales last year.

Some 1,755,803 mart movements were registered in 2016 – up by 38,245 head on 2015 levels. However, the report notes that these figures included 171,905 unsold movements.

Limousin cattle accounted for the most mart sales (393,095 movements), which reflects the breed’s popularity with Irish farmers. Charolais followed closely in second place, with 384,723 movements. Together the two breeds accounted for over 44% of mart sales in 2016.

Friesian cattle had 346,725 movements in 2016, making up close to 20% of sales. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford followed and accounted for 14% and 10% of total movements, respectively.

Beef cattle saw 1,397,791 mart movements in 2016. 126,570 beef calves were sold before six weeks in 2016. Some 25% of beef cattle were sold between six and 12 months of age; while 23% were sold at 12-to-18 months of age.

Dairy cattle mart movements were dominated by male-calf sales before six weeks of age and dairy cows. These movements accounted for 22% and 26% of all dairy-sired cattle movements last year. In total, there were 358,012 mart movements for dairy cattle in 2016.

Farm-to-farm movements

There was a total of 1,262,596 farm-to-farm movements recorded in 2016, according to the AIM Bovine Statistics Report 2016.

Farm-to-farm movements were dominated by Friesian cattle, which represented over 40% of movements. Aberdeen Angus followed with 196,504 farm-to-farm movements.

Male dairy calves, between one and six weeks of age, accounted for 13% of all farm-to-farm movements. Some 547,189 dairy cattle movements were reported, while beef cattle accounted for 715,407 farm-to-farm movements last year.