Mart trade: Large numbers and strong demand for store cattle

In recent weeks, various marts have confirmed that they will be restricting the access of those attending sales to areas where cattle are being moved on a regular basis.

Some marts have indicated that only mart staff will be allowed in the yard during the sale and – in some instances – that only mart staff will be permitted to pen livestock on arrival or to gather livestock in the aftermath of the sale.

Marts across the country have noted an increase in the number of cattle presented for sale. The trade has held firm, with some marts reporting better prices.

The recent spell of good weather generated more farmer activity; these buyers were on the hunt for good-quality store stock.

Tullow Mart

A large sale took place at Tullow Mart on Friday last (April 20). According to the mart’s Eric Driver, the trade was steady with a “very sunny spring feel”. There was continued demand for forward store lots.

Friesian forward bullocks sold for €2.00/kg and up, while traditional types sold from a base of €2.40/kg. Heavier, forward continental bullocks pushed to the €2.50/kg mark.

Friesian store lots sold from a base of €1.95/kg, while good-quality Holstein Friesian, Angus and Hereford types traded for €2.20-2.40/kg. Continental store bullocks made a top price of €3.20/kg, but the majority of these animals traded at €2.60-3.00/kg.

Bull weanlings sold for €2.60-2.90/kg, while good-quality E and U grades broke €3.20/kg.

In the heifer ring, beef lots traded for €2.20-2.60/kg; Hereford and Angus store lots sold for €2.20/kg and up.

On the day, weanling heifers were popular among farmers and these lots sold for €2.45-2.90/kg. Some E and U-grade heifers made in excess of €3.10/kg.

In the cull cow ring, Friesian lots traded for €170 over and continental cows sold for €320-520 over; well-fleshed cows met a brisk trade and these lots sold for €820-980 along with their weight.

A full clearance was achieved in the calf ring. Friesian bulls – suitable for export – sold for €60-110/head. Angus and Hereford bulls traded for €220-380/head, while continental types sold to a top price of €460/head.

Castlerea Mart

A large sale took place at Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon, on Thursday (April 19). The trade was reported to be strong for stores, breeding stock and calves; the prices achieved by these animals improved from the previous week’s sale.

Weanling bulls proved popular among exporters and farmers; some of these lots made in excess of €3.00/kg.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Limousin heifer: 395kg – €1,040 or €2.63/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 280kg – €940 or €3.35/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 370kg – €1,150 or €3.10/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 265kg – €950 or €3.58/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 285kg – €1,000 or €3.50/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 365kg – €1,165 or €2.19/kg.

According to the mart’s Brendan Egan, cows with calves at foot traded for €1,040-1,640.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Charolais: 755kg – €1,670 or €2.21/kg;
  • Limousin: 725kg – €1,750 or €2.41/kg;
  • Limousin: 710kg – €1,630 or €2.29/kg;
  • Charolais: 850kg – €1,440 or €1.69/kg.

A large number of calves were also presented for sale at the Roscommon-based venue. Good-quality calves were reported to be in demand, while plainer types proved to be a more difficult trade.

Sample calf prices:
  • Charolais bull: €590/head;
  • Aberdeen Angus heifer: €190/head;
  • Charolais heifer: €450/head;
  • Aberdeen Angus bull: €265/head;
  • Belgian Blue heifer: €280/head;
  • Friesian bull: €125/head.

200 bullocks also went under the hammer on Monday (April 16). These lots traded for €300-1,030 along with their weight, while the average price paid was €638 over.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 435kg – €1,305 or €3.00/kg;
  • Limousin: 515kg – €1,360 or €2.64/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 495kg – €1,250 or €2.52/kg;
  • Charolais: 640kg – €1,670 or €2.60/kg.

Ennis Mart

Like most of the marts across the country, a large sale took place at Ennis Mart on Thursday last (April 19).

The trade was reported to be steady for both heifers and bullocks, with prices holding and, in some cases, increasing on the previous week’s sale.

‘Grass buyers’ were reported to be out in force, with suitable lots meeting an excellent demand. A very strong trade for forward bullocks was also reported by the mart’s Danny Moran.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 447kg – €1,290 or €2.88/kg;
  • Limousin: 600kg – €1,545 or €2.57/kg;
  • Charolais: 470kg – €1,300 or €2.76/kg;
  • Hereford: 480kg – €1,230 or €2.56/kg.

A top price of €2,160 was achieved by a Limousin bull weighing 1,125kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Aberdeen Angus: 365kg – €805 or €2.20/kg;
  • Charolais: 470kg – €1,300 or €2.76/kg;
  • Charolais: 515kg – €1,325 or €2.57/kg;
  • Hereford: 355kg – €780 or €2.19/kg.

“Once again, cows met an excellent demand with a large number on offer,” Danny explained.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Limousin: 645kg – €1,390 or €2.15/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 775kg – €1,600 or €1.71/kg;
  • Charolais: 585kg – €1,280 or €2.18/kg;
  • Friesian: 675kg – €1,230 or €1.82/kg.

Raphoe Mart

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

The trade was reported to have improved for all types of cattle; however, Friesian animals proved more difficult to sell. Beef bullocks made €720-915 over and lighter store steers sold for €400-830 over.

Meanwhile, in the heifer ring, beef lots made €535-945 over and store heifers traded at €350-900 along with their weight or €2.20-3.20/kg. Fat, well-fleshed cows sold at €615-1,930/head.

Kilkenny Mart

A large cattle sale, consisting of 1,450 animals, was witnessed in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Thursday last, according to the mart’s George Candler.

“The trade is staying remarkably firm for all quality continentals, with more of an edge for the limited forward store heifers and bullocks,” he explained.

Cull cows were reported to sell very well; Friesian lots traded for €1.10-1.91/kg, while continental types sold for €1.30-2.25/kg.

Quality heifers also met a good trade. The heavier lots made €2.00-2.85/kg, €1.80-2.70/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.60-2.75/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 600kg – €1,390 or €2.32/kg;
  • Limousin: 660kg – €1,730 or €2.62/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 450kg – €1,215 or €2.70/kg;
  • Simmental: 450kg – €980 or €2.33/kg;
  • Charolais: 370kg – €1,005 or €2.71/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 345kg – €820 or €2.37/kg.

In the steer ring, George said, quality continental steers were in demand; Friesian bullocks sold for €1.80-2.15/kg – especially those with British Friesian genetics.

“The toughest types to sell are: those plain animals under 340kg; traditional types; and those with Holstein influence,” George added.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Limousin: 700kg – €1,690 or €2.41/kg;
  • Friesian: 615kg – €1,250 or €2.03/kg;
  • Hereford: 565kg – €1,235 or €2.19/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 520kg – €1,070 or €2.06/kg;
  • Charolais: 450kg – €1,190 or €2.64/kg;
  • Limousin: 400kg – €1,130 or €2.83/kg.