Mart managers nationwide are reporting a booming beef trade as a scarcity of finished animals is driving prices well above levels seen this time last year.

Managers also report that more stock is now been shown at marts as farmers aim to capitalise on high prices and recoup previous losses.

Strong trade in Tullow

In Tullow, Mart Manager Eric Driver said there was very positive trade across the board in his region.

According to Driver, the trade is particularly strong for beef cattle at the moment.

“Beef cattle are up to €200/head dearer than 12 months ago,” he said.

“It’s that old ticket of supply and demand there is noticeably a lot less beef cattle in the country.”

Driver also said factory agents are active around the ring and not only for beef cattle but also for forward stores.

“This demonstrates that factories are acknowledging that cattle will be scare through the year,” he said.

According to Driver, the spring trade is just about to kick off with summer grass men likely to become more active in the ring in the coming weeks.

However, he also said that it must be remembered that farmers in this category got ‘hit hard’ last back end in terms of prices and could well cut back on numbers this spring in order to return some of that lost money in 2015.

Numbers are up on last year in Tullow, according to Driver.

“The strong trade is encouraging farmers to show stock.

“Guys are fearful the might miss the boat and the strong trade may not last through the summer. Farmers are concious that can’t afford to miss it,” he said.

Prices up €150/head in Mohill

Prices are are up some €150/head in Mohill mart on the same time last year, according to Mart Manager Stephen Hannon.

He says the trade is very strong at the moment on the back of good positive talk in the beef industry with new markets opening up.

“Farmers are really active around the ring for cattle.

“Its really a complete turn around on this time last year,” he said.

Hannon said 12 months ago factories were quite slow to kill cattle, now there anxious to get stock and are actively looking for beef animals.

“Here in Mohill prices are up at least €150/head.”

Store heifers are particularly in demand, he said, farmers see them as easier to finish.

Suck calf trade strong in Dingle

The number of suck calves coming forward for sale is starting to increase in Kerry, according to Neilius McAuliffe Dingle Mart Manager.

According to McAuliffe, the trade is generally really strong at the moment with factory agents and farmers active around the ring.

However, he said it is the suck calf trade which is really buoyant at the moment with the trade for beef breed calves particularly strong at the moment.

He said calves in this category are making €270-300 in the current trade. Meanwhile, light Friesian calves for shipping are making €80-100 while stronger Friesian calves are making €190-200.

According to McAuliffe, there has been very little evidence of farmers in his area retaining calves on farm longer so as to reduce exposer to superlevy.

“Most farmers just are not set up to do it and are going to take there chances on quota,” he said.

McAuliffe also said that numbers are up in Dingle on last year. He said there has been a good carry over of stock from 2014 particularly cows and weanlings.

With plenty of fodder on farm, farmers were in no rush to sell, he said.

Prices up 10% in Clare

Cattle mart trade continues to be ‘pretty good’ in Clare, according to Mart Manager Martin McNamara.

According to McNamara, numbers going through the ring have been strong through February so far.

He said there is good competition around the ring with both farmers and factory agents actively looking for cattle.

“Factory agents are particularly active in the cull cow ring,” he said.

The numbers of suck calves being sold is on a par with last year, according to McNamara.

However, he said the trade is strong with Friesian calves making from €80-150 with stronger calves making as high as €200.