Mart trade: An improved market for quality; plain cattle harder sold

As grass continues to recover across the country, so to is the mart trade. Mart managers, the length and breadth of Ireland, have noted an improved market and larger sales in recent days.

Although mart prices are below where they stood this time last year, this is welcome news for farmers as some sort of improvement in prices has been achieved.

Where quality continental stock have been presented for sale, these lots have achieved the best prices; however, dairy-influenced stock are more difficult to sell.

Stores are a good trade, with good demand for short-keep types. Good-quality weanling bulls remain steady and heavier types – suitable for finishing – are in demand from farmers; exporters are also in the mix for weanling bulls. However, poor-quality weanlings are struggling.

Moreover, some mart managers have noted that the cull cow trade has also steadied in the last week. Mart managers are also confident that sales will increase in the coming weeks; autumn weanling sales are also starting to commence across the country.

Kilkenny Mart

George Candler – Kilkenny Mart auctioneer – noted that “for the first time in weeks, it’s nice to report something positive about the cattle trade”.

Continental beef and forward bullocks were reported to be in demand, with continental beef steers peaking at €2.50/kg, while coloured forward lots sold to a top call of €2.85/kg.

Friesian store bullocks made a top price of €1.85/kg, while poorer-quality types made €1.40/kg. George noted that plain Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks – with dairy influence – met a difficult trade.

Lighter heifer lots peaked at €2.35/kg. In general, the heavier lots made €2.05-2.30/kg, €2.00-2.45/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €600-870/head.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 840kg – €1,720 or €2.05/kg;
  • Charolais: 700kg – €1,550 or €2.21/kg;
  • Limousin: 485kg – €1,175 or €2.42/kg;
  • Hereford: 440kg – €920 or €2.09/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 365kg – €695 or €1.90/kg;
  • Charolais: 265kg – €600 or €2.26/kg.

In addition, Friesian cull cows sold for €0.60-1.70/kg, while continental lots traded at €1.25-2.80/kg on the day.

Sample steer prices:
  • Simmental: 710kg – €1,500 or €2.11/kg;
  • Charolais: 690kg – €1,590 or €2.11/kg;
  • Friesian: 585kg – €960 or €1.64/kg;
  • Hereford: 510kg – €900 or €1.76/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 490kg – €1,300 or €2.65/kg;
  • Charolais: 475kg – €1,350 or €2.84/kg;
  • Simmental: 355kg – €725 or €2.04/kg;
  • Limousin: 315kg – €660 or €2.10/kg.

Ennis Mart

Numbers were reported to have doubled on the previous week’s sale at Ennis Mart on Friday last – especially in the bullock ring.

The calibre of stock was also reported to be very high, with some excellent continental beef cows on offer. The number of customers operating around the ring also increased and a much more positive atmosphere was reported.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 552kg – €1,420 or €2.57/kg;
  • Limousin: 451kg – €1,185 or €2.63/kg;
  • Hereford: 770kg – €1,350 or €1.75/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 675kg – €1,385 or €2.05/kg.

The mart’s spokesperson noted that stock improved by €40-50 head on average – especially for good-quality types. Forward cattle were in demand, with a big improvement in prices achieved.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Belgian Blue: 405kg – €1,175 or €2.90/kg;
  • Charolais: 565kg – €1,280 or €2.27/kg;
  • Limousin: 635kg – €1,420 or €2.24/kg;
  • Hereford: 500kg – €1,170 or €2.09/kg.

Looking at the cow trade, €2.00/kg was reported to be broken on numerous occasions, while aged bulls were reported to be a good trade and these lots made a top call of €1.85/kg.

Sample cull cow prices:
  • Limousin: 630kg – €1,470 or €2.33/kg;
  • Charolais: 570kg – €1,080 or €1.89/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 845kg – €1,500 or €1.78/kg;
  • Friesian: 570kg – €570 or €1.24/kg.

Raphoe Mart

A larger sale took place at Raphoe Mart on Thursday last, according to the marts Anne Harkin. The trade was reported to be similar to the previous week’s sale, with quality being the main factor affecting prices.

Again, similar to other marts across the country, plainer cattle met the most difficult trade.

Top-class bulls sold for €905-920 over and beef bullocks made €600-1,650 over; lighter store steers sold for €400-760 over.

Meanwhile, in the heifer ring, beef lots made €500-570 over and store heifers traded at €350-675 along with their weight; dry cows sold at €835-1,425/head.

Balla Mart

Approximately 800 lots were on offer on Saturday sale at Balla Mart. The mart manager reported that good-quality cattle were a good trade, but plainer types were harder sold.

Bullocks weighing 300-400kg averaged €2.35/kg, while good-quality store bullocks weighing in the region of 450kg made approximately €1,200/head. Steers falling into the 400-500kg category sold for €2.24/kg on average.

In addition, heavier bullocks (500kg upwards) averaged €2.12/kg on average.

Sample steer prices:
  • Limousin: 360kg – €1,165 or €3.24/kg;
  • Charolais: 275kg – €815 or €2.96/kg;
  • Charolais: 630kg – €1,580 or €2.51/kg;
  • Charolais: 710kg – €1,650 or €2.32/kg;
  • Limousin: 445kg – €1,500 or €2.56/kg.

180 heifers went under the hammer and the trade was reported to be steady; lots weighing up to 400kg sold for an average price of €2.18/kg. The heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at €2.26/kg on average, while heifers (upwards of 500kg) made an average price of €2.25/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 280kg – €770 or €2.75/kg;
  • Limousin: 390kg – €1,025 or €2.63/kg;
  • Charolais: 460kg – €1,380 or €3.00/kg;
  • Limousin: 510kg – €1,450 or €2.84/kg.

In addition, some 90 cows went under the hammer last week; these lots averaged €1.75/kg. The best of the dry cows was a 960kg, March-2007 born, Charolais cow; she made €2,060.

Moreover, 200 weanlings were also on offer. Generally speaking, bulls traded for €2.35-2.62/kg. A top call of €1,150 or €3.19/kg was paid for a July-2017 born, Belgian Blue bull.