In recent weeks, it hasn’t been unusual to hear prices cross the €3,000 mark for cull cows in the dry-cow ring at livestock marts, countrywide.

A strong demand for beef has lifted prices for all categories of heavy cattle.

This is helped to restore a strong level of confidence in farmers to return to the ring to buy back lighter store cattle or calves.

In Ballyjamesduff Mart this week, as high as €3.56/kg for a 920kg Charolais cow was achieved, while an 11-year old Angus cow, weighing 900kg, sold for €2,710, or €3.01/kg.

A 2014-born Angus cow, weighing 860kg, sold for €2,530, or €2.94/kg.

This nine-year old Charolais cow weighing 920kg sold for €3,280 at Ballyjamesduff Mart

Meanwhile, on the other end of the scale, the trade in the calf ring has continued to pick up for better calves, spurring mart manager John Tevlin into commenting:

“I’ve never seen the calf trade picking up in June before.”

May-born Charolais calves sold to a top of €530 at the mart, with stronger runner-type calves making up to €750 for a Limousin-cross bull, and Friesian bulls selling from €100-€290.

Tevlin noted: “There are more calves on offer with farmers taking advantage of the better prices and opting to move calves on.”

Charolais heifer calf, born May 11, sold for €530

Meanwhile, in Ballinrobe Mart, Co. Mayo this week, the top-price in the dry-cow ring was €2,490, or €3.05/kg, for an 815kg Charolais-cross cow.

In the heifer ring at Ballinrobe, a 315kg Angus heifer sold for €1,105, or €3.51/kg, and weanling bulls sold for as high as €3.20/kg for a 315kg Limousin bull that made €1,010.

In Delvin Mart, Co. Westmeath, prices peaked at €2,920, or €3.14/kg, for a 930kg Limousin cow.

Bullocks in Delvin peaked at €2,110, or €3.01/kg, for a 700kg Limousin while lighter bullocks made as high as €3.51/kg for a 330kg Charolais bullock selling for €1,160.

In Castleisland Mart, Co. Kerry, the cow ring was yet again a big talking point with coloured cows selling for over €2,400 and many heavy Friesian cows making €1,700-€1,800 on the day.

In Carnaross Mart, Co. Meath, cull cows sold for as high as €3,110 for a 925kg Limousin-cross cow.

The mart appears to be the destination of choice for many farmers with forward and finished cull cows, as factory agents are on hand at rings, countrywide, to pick up any heavy cows on offer at whatever the price.

One mart manager told Agriland of a farmer who put a finished-type heifer through the dry-cow ring when they were unhappy with the price the heifer was making in the heifer ring.

Much to the farmer’s surprise, the heifer made €280 more in the dry-cow ring than the heifer ring.

As we enter the summer months and barbecue season fires up, the demand for manufacturing beef is expected to remain strong.

With input costs on the rise and cattle prices peaking, the advice to farmers is to move on cattle as they come fit. With strong cull cow prices, now is a better time than ever to replace older, non-performing suckler cows with younger breeding suckler heifers.