Mart trade: Lighter cattle take a hit, but quality lots hold firm
In recent days, the prices achieved by good-quality cattle have remained firm, while lighter cattle – particularly those with dairy influence – have met a more difficult trade.
The number of cattle in sales yards are small and this reflects the time of year. However, good clearances have been achieved.
Heavier cattle – both heifers and bullocks – are a steady trade and short-keep and beef cattle have seen little change from last week.
Farmers and exporters drove the trade when it came to weanlings. Factory-fit cows and feeder types – on the back of the price cuts implemented by the beef processors – have struggled to breach the €2.00/kg mark.
However, some mart managers have noted that the quality lots have managed to do so; but, these numbers are small in the grand scheme of things.
The number of cattle presented for sale – on Thursday, June 21 – was reported to have increased on the previous week’s sale in Ennis Mart.
In the bullock ring, lighter stores were a slightly easier trade, according to the mart’s Michael Martin. However, heavy bullocks and forward-type steers sold well and both farmers and agents drove the trade on the day.
- Charolais: 680kg – €1,600 or €2.35/kg;
- Limousin: 452kg – €1,300 or €2.87/kg;
- Aberdeen Angus: 655kg – €1,520 or €2.32/kg;
- Hereford: 670kg – €1,460 or €2.18/kg.
In the heifer ring, good-quality heifers were reported to be a strong trade. Aged bulls sold to a top call of €1,520; this was a Charolais bull and he weighed 905kg.
- Limousin: 320kg – €845 or €2.64/kg;
- Charolais: 470kg – €1,270 or €2.70/kg;
- Aberdeen Angus: 525kg – €1,060 or €2.01/kg;
- Belgian Blue: 525kg – €1,480 or €2.82/kg.
Despite procurement managers talking down the trade in recent days, feeder and beef cows were reported to have met a strong demand. According to Michael, many of these quality lots broke the €2.00/kg mark.
- Limousin: 680kg – €1,520 or €2.23/kg;
- Belgian Blue: 500kg – €1,050 or €2.10/kg;
- Charolais: 830kg – €1,660 or €2.00/kg;
- Friesian: 620kg – €1,180 or €1.90/kg.
Last Thursday’s sale in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, featured a good entry of cattle, according to the mart’s Anne Harkin.
She said: “Friesian cattle sold for up to €2.00/kg and Aberdeen Angus lots sold up to €2.15/kg; continental cattle sold up to €2.80/kg.”
Top-class bulls, weighing >600kg, sold at €545-700 over, the mart manager stated. Beef bullocks made €630-760 over.
In the heifer ring, beef heifers sold for €675-815 over and store heifers traded for €350-730 over. Moreover, fat, well-fleshed cows traded for €600-1,335/head.
Some 350 cattle were on offer at Tullow Mart on Friday, June 22. According to the mart’s Eric Driver, the trade seems to be “struggling” and prices were back €10-20/head. However, a full clearance was achieved.
Friesian forward store bullocks sold for €1.90/kg, while store Hereford and Angus types – weighing >400kg – traded for €1.95-2.20/kg – depending on quality.
In general, continental forward bullocks traded for €950-1,020/head. Continental stores weighing >400kg traded for €2.20-2.90/kg.
Moving to heifers, store types traded for €2.00-2.70/kg; Hereford and Angus store lots sold for €2.00-2.90/kg.
In the cull cow ring, Friesian feeder-type cows traded for €150-400 over and continental cows sold for €250-700 over.
Friesian bull calves – suitable for export – sold for €110-190/head. Angus and Hereford heifer calves traded for €120-320/head, while continental types sold to a top price of €380/head.
A slightly larger sale was witnessed at Balla Mart on Saturday last, June 23. Prices were reported to have increased for lighter bullocks; these animals proved popular among farmers.
Bullocks weighing 300-400kg sold to an average price of €2.68/kg and the heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at €2.31/kg on average. The mart’s Michael Murphy added that beef bullocks (>500kg) averaged €2.18/kg on the day.
According to Michael, there was a good demand for these stronger, heavier bullocks and prices remained firm.
- Belgian Blue: 365kg – €1,105 or €3.03/kg;
- Charolais: 455kg – €1,250 or €2.75/kg;
- Belgian Blue: 620kg – €1,500 or €2.42/kg.
- Charolais: 530kg – €1,385 or €2.61/kg.
180 heifers went under the hammer and lots weighing up to 400kg sold for an average price of €2.41/kg; the heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at €2.41/kg on average, while heifers (>500kg) made an average price of €2.40/kg.
- Limousin: 230kg – €880 or €3.83/kg;
- Limousin: 385kg – €1,060 or €2.75/kg;
- Charolais: 615kg – €1,575 or €2.56/kg;
- Limousin: 435kg – €1,270 or €2.92/kg.
Michael also outlined that some cows and calves were a “great touch”. The best of these, he said, was an October-2013 born Limousin cow. Accompanied by her heifer calf, the pair sold for €2,000.
The best of the dry cows, he said, was a 925kg, January-2007 born, Charolais cow; she made €1,960. In general, dry cows averaged €1.88/kg.