Mart trade: ‘Grass buyers’ begin to emerge at the ringside

Grass buyers are beginning to emerge in certain regions across the country and are playing a vital role in boosting cattle prices.

Some farmers are aiming to source stock before the peak grass buying period kicks into gear and – generally – when cattle prices increase.

In recent days, competition among buyers for quality stock drove the cattle trade and mart managers have reported good clearance rates right across the board and better prices.

Furthermore, mart managers have noted that the prices paid for cull cows have increased. However, the recent spell of bad weather had a negative impact on numbers presented for sale in some regions.

Kilkenny Mart

A smaller yard of cattle was witnessed at Kilkenny Mart on Thursday last, January 31.

The mart’s auctioneer George Candler said: “With no solution regarding Brexit, plus the fact that quotes from factories remain stagnant, there is very little enthusiasm being shown by buyers or sellers.”

However, continental cull cows made €1.20-1.95/kg, while Friesian cull cows went under the hammer for €0.80-1.30/kg.

The heavier heifer lots made €1.75-2.25/kg, €1.60-2.20/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.60-2.50/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Aberdeen Angus: 625kg – €1,220 or €1.95/kg;
  • Charolais: 570kg – €1,280 or €2.25/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 545kg – €1,000 or €1.83/kg;
  • Friesian: 470kg – €780 or €1.66/kg;
  • Hereford: 435kg – €790 or €1.82/kg;
  • Limousin: 355kg – €865 or €2.44/kg.

Bullocks weighing over 600kg sold for €1.65-2.25/kg, while steers falling into the 500-600kg bracket made €810-1,300/head or €1.55-2.35/kg.

Forward store bullocks traded for €650-1,140/head or €1.50-2.50/kg and bullocks weighing <400kg sold for €400-1,050/head or €1.35-2.50/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Limousin: 675kg – €1,350 or €2.00/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 620kg – €1,230 or €1.98/kg;
  • Charolais: 590kg – €1,300 or €2.20/kg;
  • Limousin: 560kg – €1,060 or €1.89/kg;
  • Charolais: 485kg – €1,000 or €2.06/kg;
  • Friesian: 445kg – €750 or €1.69/kg;
  • Friesian: 395kg – €690 or €1.75/kg;
  • Limousin: 245kg: €605 or €2.47/kg.

Castlerea Mart

The recent bad weather was said to have hampered the number of cattle presented for sale at Castlerea Mart on Thursday last, January 31. However, a good trade and a good clearance was reported overall.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 590kg – €1,345 or €2.27/kg;
  • Limousin: 530kg – €1,175 or €2.21/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 455kg – €1,000 or €2.19/kg;
  • Charolais: 560kg – €1,250 or €2.23/kg.

Bullocks and heifers were reported to be a similar trade to weeks gone by, while weanlings were reported to have increased in price and top-quality lots recorded “fancy” prices, according to the mart’s Brendan Egan.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 260kg – €785 or €3.01/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 310kg – €940 or €3.03/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 275kg – €800 or €2.90/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 370kg – €1,025 or €2.77/kg.

According to Brendan, cows with calves at foot made up to €1,190/head and in-calf cows traded for up to €985/head.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Charolais: 695kg – €1,070 or €1.53/kg;
  • Limousin: 790kg – €1,260 or €1.59/kg;
  • Limousin: 675kg – €1,180 or €1.74/kg;
  • Limousin: 685kg – €1,035 or €1.51/kg.

In the calf ring, young calves made €65-100/head, while runner lots traded for €500-800/head.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 470kg – €1,080 or €2.29/kg;
  • Limousin: 465kg – €1,110 or €2.38/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 600kg – €1,200 or €2.00/kg;
  • Charolais: 550kg – €1,355 or €2.46/kg.

Raphoe Mart

Again, the recent inclement weather led to dangerous conditions for travelling on minor roads in the Raphoe Mart region on Thursday last, January 31; this led to a smaller entry of cattle.

However, the trade was reported to be good for the “stronger, suitable, in-spec types, while lighter, plainer types are the most difficult sell” in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, according to the mart’s manager Anne Harkin.

Beef bullocks sold at €580-715 over, the mart manager stated, while store bullocks made €350-385 over.

Beef heifers made €480-655 over and store heifers traded for €300-600. In addition, dry-cows cows traded for €600-1,480/head.