Mart trade: Farmers’ reluctance continues at the ringside

So far this year, there has been a sluggish start to the mart trade. Although individual marts have recorded slight increases in recent days, overall numbers are still low.

Again, with no more progress made when it comes to the Brexit saga; beef farmers are waiting anxiously to see what way proceedings unfold.

Farmers are also waiting to see how the weather fairs out, with sellers holding onto cattle to coincide with the onset of grass growth; which has been relatively good over the winter, although colder weather is forecast over the coming days.

Saying that, farmers are not shying away from quality lots and, like what was similar in the trade over the last couple of months, quality cattle are being sought after.

In addition, mart managers have noted that weanling prices have increased – albeit slightly, with good demand for bulls that require further feeding.

Turning to the calf trade, these sales have begun, but will not reach massive heights for another couple of weeks.

Also Read: Calf trade: 250 calves presented for sale on Monday at Bandon Mart

Kilkenny Mart

A larger sale took place at Kilkenny Mart on Thursday last, January 24. A total of 580 cattle went under the hammer and a steady trade was reported.

‘In-spec’ cattle were reported to be in demand, but ‘overage’ and non-QA stock were harder sold.

According to the mart’s auctioneer George Candler: “The trade remains steady which is a complement to buyers who are purchasing stock in the most uncertain period facing agriculture in years.

“People are fed up listening to the word – Brexit, but unfortunately, if we have a negative outcome, the outcome for beef – and perhaps dairy farming – could be catastrophic.

“Hopefully, we will not encounter such a scenario, but we need clarity very quickly,” he added.

Lighter heifer lots peaked at €2.82/kg. In general, the heavier lots made €1.80-2.35/kg, €1.70-2.20/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.60-2.82/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 540kg – €1,030 or €1.91/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 515kg – €1,190 or €2.31/kg;
  • Limousin: 450kg – €920 or €2.04/kg;
  • Charolais: 350kg – €800 or €2.29/kg.

In the steer ring, bullocks weighing over 600kg sold for €1.65-2.25/kg and lots weighing 500-600kg made €1.70-2.40/kg. 400-500kg steers sold for €1.50-2.40/kg and lighter lots made €1.65-2.75/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Charolais: 745kg – €1,360 or €1.83/kg;
  • Friesian: 585kg – €970 or €1.66/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 490kg – €880 or €1.81/kg;
  • Limousin: 350kg – €960 or €2.74/kg.

In the cull cow ring, George outlined that cows were achieving prices similar to the previous weeks’ sale. Friesian lots sold at €0.70-1.55/kg and continental lots made €1.30-1.80/kg.

Furthermore, a number of in-calf suckler cows were also on offer; these sold from €800-1,030/head and cows with calves at foot made €950-1,380/unit.

Maam Cross Mart

The trade was reported to have held well at Maam Cross Mart. The weanling bulls on offer made €2.20-2.88/kg and a top price of €940 was paid for a Charolais bull born in April 2018.

In the heifer ring, these lots made €2.23-2.73/kg. A Limousin heifer weighing 322kg sold for €740; she was born in May 2017.

A number of dry cows were also presented for sale and these cows made €1.43-1.78/kg. The top price went to a Charolais cow; born in December 2011, she sold for €1,255.

In addition to the dry cows, a number of cows with calves at foot were also presented for sale. These made €2.03-2.15/kg. €1,700 was paid for a Limousin cow and her Limousin bull calf.

The bullocks on offer sold at €2.18-2.61/kg. An April-2018 born Limousin steer made the top price on the day in this section; he weighed 300kg and sold for €785.

Carnew Mart

The 38th Annual Fatstock Show and Sale took place at Carnew Mart on Saturday last, January 26. A total number of 1,118 cattle and 70 calves passed through the ring of the Wicklow-based venue.

A very lively trade was reported, with buyers including: local agents, northern buyers, farmers and exporters. The exporters present were in the market for E and U-grade weanlings which saw 400 on offer.

The champion of the day was Melvin Masterson with a Belgian Blue bullock; he weighed 824kg and sold for €2,100.

In addition, beef and forward bullocks made €650-1,276 over, while continental store bullocks went under the hammer for €640-936 along with the weight.

The 400 weanling bulls on offer sold at €380-830 over and cows made €100 under and €750 over the weight.

Castlerea Mart

Quality weanlings were reported to have improved in price, according to Castlerea Mart manager Brenden Egan.

The bullock and heifer rings recorded good clearances, with a good number of buyers in attendance purchasing stock.

Sample heifer and steer prices:
  • Charolais bullock: 590kg – €1,435 or €2.43/kg;
  • Charolais bullock: 615kg – €1,450 or €2.35/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus bullock: 665kg – €1,335 or €2.00/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 405kg – €1,000 or €2.46/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 445kg – €1,180 or €2.65/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus heifer: 520kg – €1,200 or €2.30/kg.

Cows with calves at foot traded for €900-1,440/unit, while in-calf cows sold for €820-1,665/head.

Looking at the calf trade, numbers were said to have increased with young calves making €40-335/head. Stronger runners were reported to sell for €300-845/head.

There was also a number of weanlings presented for sale on the day.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 295kg – €880 or €2.98/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 350kg – €1,035 or €2.95/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 265kg – €735 or €2.62/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 280kg – €785 or €2.80/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 435kg – €1,045 or €2.40/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 375kg – €1,070 or €2.85/kg.

Raphoe Mart

The trade was reported to be brisk at Raphoe Mart on Thursday last, January 24; a bigger yard of cattle was reported.

Bulls weighing 600kg and over sold for €580-825/head, while heavy beef bullocks fetched €580-825 over. Store lots made €400-775 over.

Heavier heifers traded for €480-875 along with their weight and lots which require further feeding sold for €350-705 over.

Looking at prices achieved on a €/kg basis, bulls and bullocks sold for €1.80-2.50/kg and heifers fetched €1.90-2.60kg. In addition, fat cows made €500-1,530/head.