Mart trade: Good grass growth bringing farmers to the sale rings

The favourable grass growing conditions have boosted grass supplies on farms across the country which, in turn, has seen farmers busy sourcing cattle for grass in the past week.

Speaking to mart managers, most have described the trade as firm, with a lot of farmer activity sourcing lighter stock for grass.

But, heavier steers and heifers are still proving popular which is helped by an improvement in prices achieved at the factory gate.

In addition, exporters and farmers have continued their battle for weanlings which is keeping prices on the healthy side.

Carnew Mart

Some 1,560 cattle and 330 calves went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last, May 4.

David Quinn, the mart manager, said the trade remained strong for all classes, with the calf trade “very strong” with plenty of farmer customers and exporters.

100 suckler cows with calves at foot met an “excellent demand” and made prices of 1,920/unit for the better-quality types.

Beef and forward bullocks traded for €650-980 over, while continental store bullocks made €450-830 over.

In addition, weanling bulls were reported to sell in the region of €420-760 along with the weight.

Heifers were reported to trade well; stores made €330-740 over and beef lots traded for €550-910 along with their weight.

Beef cows fetched €320-680 over, while store cows made €100-360 over the weight.

Ennis Mart

Some 850 lots were presented for sale on Tuesday last, May 7, at Ennis Mart, Co. Clare, which included a larger than expected entry of calves with 220 on offer; these lots were reported to meet a good trade overall.

Friesian bull calves made €60-180/head, while whitehead calves were reported to make €280/head. Continental bull calves reached a top price of €470/head.

Sample weanling bull prices:
  • Charolais: 250kg – €830 or €3.32/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 270kg – €800 or €2.96/kg;
  • Limousin: 274kg – €895 or €3.27/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 540kg – €1,000 or €1.85/kg.

Moving to the cow ring, cow and calf pairings made €2,000/unit, with a few lots breaking this mark. In addition, the trade for weanling heifers and bulls was strong also.

Sample weanling heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 295kg – €915 or €3.11/kg;
  • Charolais: 370kg – €1,110 or €3.00/kg;
  • Charolais: 295kg – €895 or €3.03/kg;
  • Limousin: 401kg – €1,000 or €2.49/kg.

Kilkenny Mart

On Thursday last, May 2, Kilkenny Mart hosted a sale of 950 cattle which was smaller in size to the previous week’s sale.

George Candler – the mart’s auctioneer – noted that there was more positivity about the trade – especially for quality continentals.

He said: “Plain Friesian and Aberdeen Angus – under 360kg – with dairy influence were the most difficult to sell.

“Cull cows and beef and forward store types were in demand,” he added.

In the bullock ring, steers (<400kg) sold for €350-€1,125/head or €1.40-3.05/kg, while the heavier lots (400-500kg) made €580-1,260/head or €1.40-2.70/kg.

Lots falling into the 500-600kg category sold for €890-1,405/head or €1.70-2.45/kg and lots weighing 600kg upwards made €1,100-1,520/head or €1.80-2.30/kg.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Limousin: 730kg – €1,520 or €2.08/kg;
  • Charolais: 660kg – €1,510 or €2.29/kg;
  • Charolais: 575kg – €1,405 or €2.44/kg;
  • Limousin: 540kg – €1,250 or €2.31/kg.

In addition to the normal cattle sale, a 30 head suckler dispersal sale also took place.

The bulk of cows with calves at foot ranged from €1,250/unit to €1,650/unit, with the better types making up to €1,720/unit. The top price was for a cow with a strong Charolais calf at foot; they made €2,160.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 650kg – €1,410 or €2.17/kg;
  • Limousin: 620kg – €1,480 or €2.39/kg;
  • Charolais: 540kg – €1,260 or €2.33/kg;
  • Charolais: 420kg – €1,000 or €2.38/kg;
  • Simmental: 380kg – €970 or €2.55/kg.

In the cow ring, Friesian cull cows sold for €0.90-1.65/kg and the continental types made €1.20-1.95/kg.