Mart trade: Grass growth driving demand and resulting in a more positive trade

It seems some of the uncertainty surrounding mart trade has lifted and more positivity can be witnessed at the ringside.

In drier areas, the availability of grass and the favourable grazing conditions has led to an increased demand from farmers purchasing cattle for grass.

The cull cow trade is best described as steady and weanling sales have witnessed another improvement in prices..

Mart managers across the country have also noted an increase in the number of cattle presented for sale; yet, prices remain on the positive side.

Carnew Mart

Some 820 cattle and 400 calves went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last. David Quinn, the mart manager, said that there were more farmers in the market for beef and forward cattle.

Beef and forward store bullocks made €650-1,040 along with their weight. Continental store bullocks made €450-850 over, while Friesian steers sold for €220-560 along with their weight. Angus and Hereford bullocks were reported to sell for €380-650 over.

Looking at the heifer trade, beef lots made €550-1,000 over and store heifers fetched €370-780 over. In addition, beef cows fetched €350-670 over and store cows made between €1.00-350 over.

Furthermore, a number of calves were also presented for sale; some sample prices are listed below.

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €220-380/head;
  • Continental heifers: €130-310/head;
  • Young Friesian bulls: €20-80/head;
  • Older Friesian bulls: €80-160/head;
  • Hereford/Angus bulls: €130-310/head;
  • Hereford/Angus heifers: €100-260/head.

Castlerea Mart

600 cattle were presented for sale at Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon, on Thursday last, February 14. According to the mart’s manager, Brendan Egan, store bullocks, heifers and weanlings were all a good trade.

He also noted that the sale was well attended by farmers in the market for cattle that required further feeding.

Sample heifer and steer prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 420kg – €995 or €2.36/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 400kg – €960 or €2.40/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus heifer: 560kg – €1,325 or €2.36/kg;
  • Charolais bullock: 495kg – €1,230 or €2.48/kg;
  • Limousin bullock: 480kg – €1,200 or €2.50/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus bullock: 570kg – €1,330 or €2.33/kg.

The cow trade was reported to be firm, while the calf sale witnessed an increase in the numbers presented for sale. However, Egan noted that there was a “variance in price between the better-quality lots and plainer calves”.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 270kg – €800 or €2.96/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 335kg – €1,025 or €3.04/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 270kg – €780 or €2.88/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 425kg – €1,020 or €2.40/kg.

Furthermore, springers made €620-1,050/head, while a number of dry cows also went under the hammer at the Roscommon-based venue.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Simmental: 480kg – €885 or €1.84/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 780kg – €1,385 or €1.77/kg;
  • Friesian: 480kg – €590 or €1.22/kg;
  • Limousin: 760kg – €1,560 or €2.05/kg.

Moving to the calf ring, Jersey-cross calves made €5-10/head. Plain Friesian calves were reported to sell for €15-45/head, while better-quality Friesian types made up to €110/head. Hereford and Aberdeen Angus calves sold for €100-285/head.

Raphoe Mart

Last Thursday’s sale (February 14) in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, featured a “large” entry of cattle, according to the mart’s Anne Harkin.

Bulls weighing over 600kg sold for €570-850 over, beef bullocks made €580-775 along with the way; store bullocks went under the hammer for €400-735 over.

On the heifer front, these animals went under the hammer for €480-845 over and store heifers sold at €350-630 along with their weight.

In addition, dry cows sold for €500-1,570/head.

Kilkenny Mart

Kilkenny Mart’s auctioneer George Candler outlined that “some heifers increased by €50-70/head compared to last week’s returns” at the mart on Thursday last, February 14.

“In the heifer ring, some Aberdeen Angus types that would struggle to make €1.70-1.80/kg last week were making €1.80-2.00/kg and – in some cases – in excess of €2.00/kg which has not been achieved in some time.

“The irony here is that the mart trade is excellent while farmers are struggling to get cattle into the factories. Numbers are remaining small in marts, so perhaps farmers should ease up on animals they are offering the factories and give the ring a chance; they might be pleasantly surprised,” George explained.

On the day, the heavier heifer lots made €1.80-2.35/kg or €980-1,400/head; €1.80-2.45/kg or €780-1,170/head was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.70-2.80/kg or €650-1,080/head.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 625kg – €1,300 or €2.08/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 615kg – €1,290 or €2.10/kg;
  • Hereford: 495kg – €960 or €1.94/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 430kg – €1,860 or €2.00/kg;
  • Limousin: 375kg – €980 or €2.61/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 330kg – €730 or €2.21/kg;
  • Charolais: 390kg – €1,080 or €2.77/kg.

In the steer ring, lots weighing 600kg or over sold at €1.70-2.30/kg or €1,000-1,510/head, while bullocks weighing 500-600kg made €1.50-2.45/kg or €900-1,400 head.

In the 400-500kg bracket, steers made €1.50-2.65/kg or €650-1,190/head and the lighter lots – weighing 400kg or less – sold at €1.40-2.75/kg or €450-970/head.

Sample steer prices:
  • Limousin: 625kg – €1,360 or €2.18/kg;
  • Limousin: 590kg – €1,400 or €2.37/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 545kg – €1,150 or €2.11/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 410kg – €880 or €2.15/kg;
  • Limousin: 385kg – €970 or €2.52/kg;
  • Charolais: 345kg – €935 or €2.71/kg.

In the cow ring, Friesian cull cows traded for €0.70-1.40/kg, while continental types sold for €1.20-1.85/kg.