Mart trade: Cow price improvement in some marts

Over the past week, mart managers have noted that poorer-quality cattle have become a harder sell, while quality stock are still in demand.

Where quality is on offer, the trade is firm and farmers with cattle to sell are being encouraged to market their stock by the prices that are achievable ringside.

The cow trade is firm, with an improvement witnessed for store and forward-store lots depending on location.

While strong prices are on the table for heifers, bullocks and cows, it is the weanling trade that has everyone talking. Prices are strong for both heifer and bull weanlings which are driven by strong farmer demand.

Castlerea Mart

A large sale took place at Castlerea Mart on Thursday last, May 9, according to the mart’s manager Brendan Egan.

Both the heifer and bullock rings recorded good clearances with some cattle achieving “fancy prices” on the day; the weanling trade was also reported to be very strong.

According to Brendan, the dry cow trade was “flying” for both stores and forward lots; breeding stock and calves also achieved good clearance rates.

The top price in the calf sale was achieved by a three-week-old, Belgian Blue bull calf; he sold for €585.

Sample heifer and steer prices:
  • Charolais bullock: 405kg – €1,260 or €3.11/kg;
  • Charolais bullock: 425kg – €1,175 or €2.76/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus bullock: 520kg – €1,305 or €2.50/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 495kg – €1,345 or €2.71/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 550kg – €1,445 or €2.62/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 540kg – €1,370 or €2.53/kg.

Cows with calves at foot traded for €1,000-1,950/unit, while springers sold for €1,040-1,400/head.

Sample calf prices:
  • Hereford bull: €355;
  • Hereford heifer: €365;
  • Aberdeen Angus heifer: €240;
  • Limousin heifer: €405;
  • Friesian bull: €90.

Looking at the calf trade, good numbers were reported, with prices remaining “good” for all lots; stronger runners were reported to sell for €350-725/head.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Simmental heifer: 285kg – €960 or €3.36/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 270kg – €840 or €3.11/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 260kg – €810 or €3.11/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 285kg – €960 or €3.36/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 250kg – €840 or €3.36/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 375kg – €1,080 or €2.88/kg.

Raphoe Mart

Store and forward cattle were reported to be a “great trade” at Raphoe Mart on Thursday last, May 9.

Again, plainer Friesian and “mid-weight” bulls were a difficult sell. However, heifers were reported to sell well with farmers and feedlot buyers were “very keen” for heavier forward store types.

Bulls weighing 600kg and over sold for €600-805/head, while store bullocks fetched €400-760 over.

Heavier heifers traded for €510-1,020 along with their weight and lots which require further feeding sold for €350-690 over.

In addition, dry cows sold for €620-1,330/head.

Looking at prices achieved on a €/kg basis, bulls and bullocks sold for €2.00-2.80/kg and heifers fetched €2.10-2.90kg.

Kilrush Mart

Cattle numbers are dropping off in all categories according to Kilrush Mart manager Martin McNamara, with the trade holding “strong” due to good weather and a healthy grass supply.

Sample steer prices:
  • Limousin: 285kg – €875 or €3.07/kg;
  • Charolais: 245kg – €750 or €3.06/kg;
  • Limousin: 345kg – €905 or €2.62/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 467kg – €1,120 or €2.40/kg.

The trade consisted mostly of young cattle, with a smaller number of calves on offer; Hereford were reported to make in the region of €220/head, while Friesians sold from €50/head to €195/head.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 290kg – €770 or €2.66/kg;
  • Friesian: 385kg – €1,100 or €2.86/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 535kg – €1,110 or €2.13/kg;
  • Friesian: 345kg – €905 or €2.62/kg.

A number of dry cows also went under the hammer; samples prices are listed below.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Friesian: 615kg – €835 or €1.36/kg;
  • Simmental: 555kg – €1,110 or €2.00/kg;
  • Charolais: 635kg – €1,095 or €1.72/kg;
  • Limousin: 510kg – €895 or €1.75/kg.

Kilkenny Mart

A sharper trade was reported by Kilkenny Mart auctioneer George Candler on Thursday last, May 9, for forward store heifers and bullocks; this was also on the back of a lower number of beef cattle on offer.

The cull cow trade was reported to have increased by €40-60/head. On the day, the top price for continentals was €2.00/kg, while Friesian cull cows peaked at €1.70/kg.

In addition, the top price of the day went to two Charolais bullocks; they averaged 885kg and sold for €2,070 – a price that has not been achieved for many months, George remarked.

Lighter heifer lots peaked at €2.60/kg. In general, the heavier lots made €1.70-2.35/kg, €1.80-2.50/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.70-2.60/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 700kg – €1,625 or €2.32/kg;
  • Simmental: 575kg – €1,310 or €2.28/kg;
  • Limousin: 495kg – €1,220 or €2.46/kg;
  • Charolais: 380kg – €980 or €2.58/kg.

In the steer ring, bullocks weighing over 600kg sold for €1.80-2.35/kg and lots weighing 500-600kg made €1.70-2.60/kg. 400-500kg steers sold for €1.50-2.80/kg and lighter lots made €1.35-2.95/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Hereford: 835kg – €1,690 or €2.02/kg;
  • Limousin: 640kg – €1,500 or €2.34/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 590kg – €1,250 or €2.12/kg;
  • Limousin: 510kg – €1,290 or €2.53/kg;
  • Charolais: 495kg – €1,260 or €2.55/kg;
  • Hereford: 350kg – €755 or €2.16/kg.

In the cull cow ring, Friesian lots sold at €1.05-1.70/kg and continental lots made €1.25-2.00/kg.

Furthermore, a number of cows with calves at foot made €1,000-1,560/unit.