Mart trade: Grass men and feeders out in force

The recent warm temperatures have boosted grass growth, which has in turn increased prices for grass-type stock. In addition, mart managers across the country have reported large sales with plenty of farmers in the market for all types of stock.

The improved price achievable at the factory gate has been beneficial at the ringside. While there is scope for more improvement, this will help farmers when it comes to purchasing cattle.

Both the heifer and bullock trade have remained strong. While lighter stock are proving popular, so too are the heavier lots.

Like recent weeks, exporter demand has kept a solid floor under weanling prices, but managers have noted that farmers are also very active around the weanling rings.

Again this week, the cow trade is best described as firm, with a wide variation in prices achieved by better-quality continental cows and Friesian lots.

Maam Cross Mart

The trade was reported to have held well at Maam Cross Mart with a high clearance recorded. The weanling bulls on offer made €2.61-3.32/kg; a top price of €1,110 was paid for a Charolais bull – weighing 435kg – born in April 2018.

In the heifer ring, these lots made €2.50-3.31/kg. A Charolais heifer weighing 440kg sold for €1,090; she was born in June 2017.

A number of dry cows were also presented for sale and these cows made €1.61-1.77/kg. The top price went to a 2008-born Charolais cow; she sold for €1,270.

In addition to the dry cows, a number of cows with calves at foot were also presented for sale. These made €1.77-2.49/kg. €1,560 was paid for a Limousin cow and her Aberdeen Angus bull calf; she was also in calf again to a Limousin bull.

The bullocks on offer sold at €2.42-3.02/kg. A March-2017 born Limousin steer made the top price on the day in this section; he weighed 565kg and sold for €1,240.

Carnew Mart

Some 1,175 cattle and 415 calves went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last. David Quinn, the mart manager, said that the trade for all types of stock was strong, with improved factory and farmer demand.

In addition, there was a strong export demand for calves, while 200 dry cows met an improved trade with prices reported to have increased by €30-40/head.

Beef and forward store bullocks made €650-830 along with their weight. Continental store bullocks made €450-830 over, while Friesian steers sold for €130-560 along with their weight.

Looking at the heifer trade, beef lots made €550-880 over and store heifers fetched €350-790 over. In addition, beef cows fetched €330-660 over and store cows made between €80-450 over.

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

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €210-440/head;
  • Continental heifers: €120-380/head;
  • Friesian bulls: €85-215/head;
  • Hereford/Angus bulls: €130-325/head;
  • Hereford/Angus heifers: €80-210/head.

Raphoe Mart

There was a bigger sale held at Raphoe Mart on Thursday last, April 25. The mart manager Anne Harkin noted that there were plenty of buyers for the quality stock on offer.

Friesian cattle proved to be the most difficult sell and prices ranged from €1.50/kg to €1.90/kg. In addition, quality cattle sold for €2.20-2.70/kg, while lighter lots went under the hammer for €3.00/kg upwards.

Bulls weighing over 600kg sold for €600-745 over, beef bullocks made €695-805 along with the weight; store bullocks went under the hammer for €400-820 over.

On the heifer front, beef lots went under the hammer for €500-830 over and store heifers sold at €350-830 along with their weight.

In addition, dry cows sold for €550-1,460/head.

Kilkenny Mart

Kilkenny Mart’s auctioneer George Candler outlined that “the most difficult animals to sell were the light plain types under 340kg – mostly Aberdeen Angus, Hereford and Friesian” at the mart on Thursday last, April 25.

“Friesian bulls also are difficult to sell with €1.40-1.60kg being the norm. However, it’s good to see more life for heavier bullocks, heifers and cull cows,” he added.

On the day, the heavier heifer lots made €1.80-2.46/kg or €1,050-1,330/head; €1.80-2.46/kg or €850-1,230/head was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.60-2.75/kg or €680-1,000/head.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Friesian: 625kg – €1,150 or €1.84/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 600kg – €1,330 or €2.22/kg;
  • Limousin: 525kg – €1,190 or €2.27/kg;
  • Charolais: 505kg – €1,230 or €2.44/kg;
  • Limousin: 485kg – €1,140 or €2.35/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 360kg – €790 or €2.19/kg;
  • Limousin: 290kg – €720 or €2.48/kg.

In the steer ring, lots weighing 600kg or over sold at €1.70-2.25/kg or €930-1,435/head, while bullocks weighing 500-600kg made €1.60-2.55/kg or €850-1,300 head.

In the 400-500kg bracket, steers made €1.40-2.85/kg or €700-1,310/head and the lighter lots – weighing 400kg or less – sold at €1.40-2.55/kg or €450-1,110/head.

Sample steer prices:
  • Friesian: 660kg – €1,120 or €1.70/kg;
  • Charolais: 645kg – €1,435 or €2.22/kg;
  • Simmental: 610kg – €1,235 or €2.02/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 530kg – €1,220 or €2.30/kg;
  • Limousin: 560kg – €1,285 or €2.29/kg;
  • Friesian: 490kg – €960 or €1.96/kg;
  • Limousin: 425kg – €1,210 or €2.85/kg;
  • Charolais: 395kg – €1,110 or €2.81/kg;
  • Simmental: 305kg – €800 or €2.62/kg.

In the cow ring, Friesian cull cows traded for €0.80-1.85/kg, while continental types sold for €1.35-2.05/kg.