2021 has been a strong year for beef prices and the rise in factory quotes this year has filtered its way right down to the weanling mart trade which is in full swing at the moment.

A number of factors came together to create the unforeseen rise in Irish beef price this year – including a strong demand for beef on the global market coupled with a drop in supply on the Irish market.

While heifer and steer price has seen a slight drop in factory quotes at the beginning of August, cow price has continued to hold and, if anything, improve.

Despite the strong factory quotes currently in place for beef cows, it seems that some farmers are managing to secure more money at the mart ring for their cows.

Speaking to Agriland, Kingscourt Mart’s manager Lisa Keenan noted that she has seen a “serious increase” in the number of beef cattle and – in particular – beef cows coming through the mart ring this year.

Keenan believes that the surge in demand for all types of well-fleshed cattle at the mart ring is whats driving the strong prices for beef cows at the mart.

“You have the northern buyers, the factory buyers, the wholesalers and the cow feeders all at the ring competing to secure stock. The competition at the mart ring is just unreal this year”

Another trend which is being observed in marts around the country this year is farmers with heifers or steers which may be over-fat, over-age or ‘out of spec’ in any way are taking their cattle to the mart instead of the factories where they are securing a good price per kilo despite the fact the animal may not match the factory’s specifications.

In a bit to curb this, some factories are offering farmers a ‘flat price’ per kilo where they will be paid a set price per kilo regardless of how the animal grades.

Other farmers who have good working relationships with their procurement officers in the factory may be shown some level of leniency if a few animals out of a larger bunch are presented for slaughter and are out of spec.