With the majority of cattle marts around the country winding up their final sales last week, numbers entered for sale were still high in some marts.

As Christmas tends to be a more positive time of year for people, it is hard to think about the threat of Brexit just on the horizon. As marts reopen in 2021, whatever impact a Brexit deal or no-deal will have should become clear quite quickly on the beef prices in the factories and cattle prices in marts.

Reflecting back to last week, a number of mart managers noted that forward-type and finishing bullocks and heifers were in short supply in some parts of the country.

The trade for store heifers may have been slightly back last week in some marts, with reports of Angus heifers (under 500kg) selling at €1.88/kg, rising slowly to €2.00/kg. Hereford heifers of a similar weight were reported to be trading at an average of €1.85/kg last week.

Lighter store bullocks (weighing 400-500kg) with both traditional and continental breeding continue to remain in demand it seems – with many farmers continuing to be content in filling their sheds before the Christmas break.

This week AgriLand takes a look at the recent sales of cattle in Castlerea and Ennis Marts.

Castlerea Mart

Castlerea Mart held its final sale of the year last Thursday (December 17), with high numbers being entered as local farmers were taking advantage of the last sale.

Reporting on the concluding sale, the mart’s manager Brenden Caslin noted: “Store bullocks and heifers remain a good trade as customers sourced stock in the lead up to Christmas.”

On the day, light store bullocks sold up to €2.69/kg; meanwhile, the store heifers on offer peaked at €3.16/kg.

Sample bullock prices:

  • Limousin: 875kg – €1,660 or €1.89/kg;
  • Charolais: 620kg – €1,360 or €2.19/kg;
  • Charolais: 590kg – €1,470 or €2.49/kg;
  • Charolais: 540kg – €1,330 or €2.46/kg;
  • Charolais: 520kg – €1,270 or €2.44/kg;
  • Angus: 490kg – €1,100 or €2.24/kg;
  • Limousin: 480kg – €1,200 or €2.50/kg;
  • Limousin: 475kg – €1,280 or €2.69/kg.

Sample heifer prices:

  • Charolais: 735kg – €1,540 or €2.09/kg;
  • Limousin: 640kg – €1,350 or €2.10/kg;
  • Charolais: 530kg – €1,310 or €2.47/kg;
  • Charolais: 470kg – €1,200 or €2.53/kg;
  • Angus: 470kg – €1,110 or €2.36/kg;
  • Charolais: 445kg – €1,060 or €2.38/kg;
  • Charolais: 400kg – €1,000 or €2.50/kg;
  • Charolais: 370kg – €1,170 or €3.16/kg.

Suckler cows with calves at foot sold at prices from €1,160/head up to €1,640/head. Springers traded at a range of €840/head to €1,600/head.

“The dry cow trade remained firm also with good numbers on offer,” according to Brendan. The top prices reported for Friesian-bred cows ranged from €1.30-1.15/kg.

Sample dry cow prices:

  • Hereford: 845kg – €1,360 or €1.60/kg;
  • Limousin: 800kg – €1,450 or €1.81/kg;
  • Limousin: 795kg – €1,430 or €1.79/kg;
  • Charolais: 765kg – €1,140 or €1.49/kg;
  • Limousin: 715kg – €1,260 or €1.76/kg;
  • Friesian: 650kg – €850 or €1.30/kg;
  • Friesian: 590kg – €680 or €1.15/kg.

Brendan highlighted that quality was a “key factor” for customers around the weanling ring at Thursday’s sale.

Sample weanling bull prices:

  • Charolais: 470kg – €1,120 or €2.38/kg;
  • Charolais: 410kg – €1,000 or €2.43/kg;
  • Charolais: 393kg – €890 or €2.26/kg;
  • Limousin: 295kg – €820 or €2.77/kg;
  • Charolais: 290kg – €800 or €2.75/kg;
  • Charolais: 230kg – €670 or €2.91/kg.

Sample weanling heifer prices:

  • Charolais: 340kg – €920 or €2.70/kg;
  • Limousin: 325kg – €850 or €2.61/kg;
  • Charolais: 310kg – €910 or €2.93/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 290kg – €970 or €3.34/kg;
  • Limousin; 260kg – €810 or €3.11/kg;
  • Charolais: 255kg – €750 or €2.94/kg.

Ennis Mart

There were over 464 head of cattle on offer at Ennis Mart’s sale of heifers, dry cows and bulls last Thursday (December 17). Approximately 300 cull cows and 160 heifers were presented for sale, with “variable quality in both rings” were noted by a mart’s spokesperson; however, a very strong trade was reported.

The top prices for forward heifers (over 600kg) with Angus and Hereford breeding sold at €2.09/kg back to €1.90/kg. Continental store heifers were peaking at €2.48/kg for a Limousin-cross heifer weighing in at 395kg.

Dry cows were selling up to €2.00/kg for females with more quality and continental breeding. Friesian cull cows were selling as high as €1.40/kg.

There was a strong entry of aged bulls traded at an average of €1.49/kg – with one notable price recorded being for a Charolais bull which sold for €1,930 and weighing 1,175kg.

Sample heifer prices:

  • Angus: 710kg – €1,450 or €2.04/kg;
  • Charolais: 685kg – €1,480 or €2.16/kg;
  • Angus: 660kg – €1,380 or €2.09/kg;
  • Hereford: 610kg – €1,160 or €1.90/kg;
  • Limousin: 500kg – €1,180 or €2.36/kg;
  • Limousin 495kg – €1,200 or €2.42/kg;
  • Limousin: 485kg – €1,190 or €2.45/kg;
  • Charolais: 440kg – €1,060 or €2.41/kg;
  • Limousin 398kg – €940 or €2.36/kg;
  • Limousin: 395kg – €980 or €2.48/kg.

Sample dry cow prices:

  • Charolais: 900kg – €1,710 or €1.90/kg;
  • Limousin: 870kg – €1,660 or €1.91/kg;
  • Angus: 790kg – €1,470 or €1.86/kg;
  • Friesian: 650kg – €790 or €1.21/kg;
  • Friesian: 625kg – €820 or €1.31/kg;
  • Charolais: 615kg – €1,230 or €2.00/kg;
  • Friesian: 550kg – €770 or €1.40/kg;
  • Limousin: 545kg – €1,060 or €1.94/kg;
  • Charolais: 500kg – €900 or €1.73/kg.

On Friday (December 18) the mart held its final sale of the year as it hosted 262 bullocks. There was a scarcity of more forward-type bullocks according to reports, although “good farmer demand” was highlighted by a mart spokesperson.

Quality Hereford-bred store bullocks were selling from €1.90-1.95/kg. The lighter continental store bullocks (under 500kg) were topped at €2.59/kg for a Limousin-cross bullock weighing 455kg.

Sample bullock prices:

  • Limousin: 705kg – €1,550 or €2.20/kg;
  • Angus: 700kg – €1,400 or €2.00/kg;
  • Limousin: 645kg – €1,470 or €2.28/kg;
  • Angus: 615kg – €1,230 or €2.00/kg;
  • Charolais: 567kg – €1,340 or €2.36/kg;
  • Limousin:555kg – €1,370 or €2.47/kg;
  • Hereford: 535kg – €1,040 or €1.94/kg;
  • Hereford: 527kg – €1,030 or €1.95/kg;
  • Charolais: 495kg – €1,260 or €2.54/kg;
  • Angus: 468kg – €1,050 or €2.24/kg;
  • Limousin: 455kg – €1,180 or €2.59/kg.