Mart trade: Exporters busy as improved weather boosts prices

An improvement in weather brought a better trade to cattle sales which have taken place in recent days. Firstly, mart managers have noted an improvement in weanling prices.

Both farmers and exporters have been in the market for these animals; this has helped boost the prices achieved by these animals.

Following the trend in recent recent weeks, the cow trade is best described as steady, while short-keep heifers and bullocks remain popular.

Raphoe Mart

Starting with Raphoe Mart, a large number of cattle were presented for sale at the Donegal-based venue on Thursday last, March 21.

Forward-type cattle proved popular among buyers, with an improved trade for lighter bulls and heifers due to increased farmer activity.

Farmers were willing to pay up to and over €3.00/kg for bulls and heifers. Bulls sold from €1.80/kg to €3.10/kg and heifers made €1.90-3.00/kg. The bullocks on offer were reported to make €1.90-2.80/kg.

A number of fat cows were entered into the sale and these lots sold for €600-1,315/head. Looking at prices on a per head basis, bulls weighing over 600kg sold at €850-850/head.

Beef bullocks went under the hammer for €580-770/head, while store lots fetched €380-795/head.

Moving to heifer lots, beef types sold at €480-850/head and store lots were bought for €350-735/head.

Carnew Mart

Moving south to Co. Wicklow, another large yard of cattle was witnessed at Carnew Mart on Saturday last, March 23. A total number of 1,327 and 585 were on offer.

In addition, the trade was reported to be very good, with grass buyers and exporters competing at the ringside for weanlings.

Prices for calves were reported to jump by €20-30/head due to strong export and farmer demand. Looking at the bullock trade, beef and forward types fetched €630-1,030 over.

Continental breeds store lots made €450-870 over, while Friesian steers achieved prices of €220-560 over. Early maturing Hereford and Aberdeen Angus bullocks made €370-580 along with the weight.

Furthermore, bull weanlings made €440-760 over due to the improved demand. Moving to the heifer ring, beef lots went under the hammer for €550-870 over, while store types sold for €330-755 along with their weight.

When it came to the cows on offer, beef types made €330-640 over and store cows sold for €30 under the weight to €370 over the kilogram.

With calf prices increasing by €20-30/head, Friesian bulls – suitable for export – made €40-100/head. Continental bulls made €220-440/head and their female counterparts were bought at €150-380/head.

Hereford and Angus bulls and heifers made €150-310/head and €80-270/head respectively.

Castlerea Mart

Heading west to Co. Roscommon, the sales at Castlerea Mart continue to increase and, despite the recent poor conditions in the area, the trade held firm, according to the mart manager Brendan Egan.

Demand for bullocks and heifers was evident, while – like other marts across the country – export demand led to increased competition at the ringside for weanlings which had a positive effect on prices achieved.

Sample heifer and steer prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 485kg – €1,265 or €2.60/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 440kg – €1,140 or €2.59/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus heifer: 425kg – €1,010 or €2.37/kg;
  • Charolais bullock: 425kg – €1,220 or €2.87/kg;
  • Limousin bullock: 480kg – €1,275 or €2.65/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus bullock: 520kg – €1,275 or €2.45/kg.

Breeding stock and dry cows were also reported to trade well and achieved good clearances at the Mayo-based venue.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 275kg – €830 or €3.01/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 360kg – €1,000 or €2.77/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 470kg – €1,130 or €2.40/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 380kg – €1,315 or €3.46/kg.

Furthermore, springers made €900-1,390/head, while a number of dry cows also went under the hammer at the Roscommon-based venue.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Limousin: 695kg – €1,375 or €1.97/kg;
  • Limousin: 710kg – €1,330 or €1.87/kg;
  • Friesian: 680kg – €765 or €1.13/kg;
  • Charolais: 840kg – €1,465 or €1.74/kg.

In the calf ring, like the cattle sale, numbers were reported to have increased with an improvement in prices witnessed.

Friesian bulls were reported to sell for €30-110/head, while Hereford and Angus lots made €155-300/head; continental types sold for up to €510/head.

Ennis Mart

Finally, a slightly smaller sale was reported at Ennis Mart on Thursday last, March 21. A total number of 750 cattle were on offer.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 492kg – €1,210 or €2.94/kg;
  • Charolais: 535kg – €1,290 or €2.41/kg;
  • Limousin: 430kg – €1,100 or €2.56/kg;
  • Hereford: 530kg – €1,040 or €1.96/kg.

Cull cow numbers were reported to have declined with only 150 presented for sale. However, the trade was reported to have increased by €20-30/head in the cow and heifer rings, while bullocks were unchanged from the previous week’s sale.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Limousin: 655kg – €1,480 or €2.26/kg;
  • Charolais: 550kg – €1,380 or €2.51/kg;
  • Limousin: 497kg – €1,200 or €2.41/kg;
  • Hereford: 500kg – €1,135 or €2.27/kg.

Feeder cows were easier sold than beef-type cows, but some top-quality beef cows reached €1.90/kg, while aged bulls averaged €1.63/kg.

Sample cull cow prices prices:
  • Limousin: 690kg – €1,3320 or €1.91/kg;
  • Charolais: 645kg – €1,250 or €1.94/kg;
  • Limousin: 745kg – €1,375 or €1.84/kg;
  • Charolais: 550kg – €1,125 or €2.04/kg.