Mart trade: Lower factory quotes fail to deter farmers’ appetite at the ringside

Up to 15c/kg has been knocked off the value of the average base steer since Christmas. In addition, heifer prices have also suffered; the average base heifer price has also dropped by 15c/kg over this period.mart

As it stands, factory buyers are offering 390c/kg for steers and heifer negotiations are starting at 400c/kg.

However, weakening factory prices have failed to have an impact on farmers’ appetite for weanling and stores and these buyers remain very much in the driving seat when it comes to mart purchases.

Along with farmer demand, mart managers have also noted that factory agents continue to remain active at the ringside. The combined efforts of these two groups are helping to maintain store cattle prices.

Raphoe Mart

Last Thursday’s sale in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, featured a large entry of cattle, as weather and road conditions returned back to normal, according to the mart’s Anne Harkin.

The trade, she said, was excellent from start to finish, with great demand around the ring. Quality weanlings sold for €2.80-3.20/kg, while plainer types made €1.80-2.20/kg.

Top class bulls, weighing over 600kg, sold for €600-925 along with their weight. Beef bullocks traded at €670-955 over and lighter store steers sold for €400-825/kg.

Beef heifers made €500-915 over and store heifers traded at €2.20-2.90/kg. Fat, well-fleshed cows sold at €600-1,860/head.

Ennis Mart

Numbers were reported to be strong in the steer and heifer rings at Ennis Mart on Thursday last (January 25). A strong trade in the cull cow ring – with a good mix of both beef and store types – was reported by the mart’s Danny Moran.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 757kg – €1,730 or €2.28/kg;
  • Limousin: 620kg – €1,555 or €2.51/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 695kg – €1,425 or €2.05/kg;
  • Hereford: 473kg – €1,000 or €2.11/kg.

“Heifers and bullocks were a slightly easier trade, with prices decreasing by €10/head on the previous week’s sale,” he explained.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 530kg – €1,270 or €2.40/kg;
  • Charolais: 510kg – €1,320 or €2.59/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 490kg – €1,420 or €2.90/kg;
  • Hereford: 440kg – €1,080 or €2.45/kg.

He added: “A number of aged bulls were also on offer and these made a top price of €2,180/head. Generally speaking, bulls sold for €1.50-2.00/kg.”

Sample cull cow prices:
  • Limousin: 705kg – €1,550 or €2.20/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 630kg – €1,170 or €1.86/kg;
  • Charolais: 685kg – €1,370 or €2.00/kg;
  • Friesian: 700kg – €1,070 or €1.53/kg.

Balla Mart

Approximately 700 cattle were on offer at Saturday’s (January 27) sale in Balla Mart. There was some good stock on offer and the trade was reported to be strong for heifers.

The mart’s manager, Micheal Murphy, reported an increased demand; clearance rates were better than the previous week. However, heavier bullocks weighing 600-700kg proved to be scarce.

Cattle were – on average – €30/head dearer than the same period last year.

Store bullocks (up to 400kg) sold for an average price of €2.45/kg; the heavier lots (400-500kg) traded at €2.35/kg. Murphy added that over 300 heifers were on offer and prices were well up on the previous week’s sale.

In addition, some 150 cows went under the hammer last week and Murphy said that quality lots met a great demand.

The best of these, he said, was a September-2015 born Limousin cow. Accompanied by a Limousin heifer calf, this pair sold for €2,410.

Castlerea Mart

Some 430 cattle were presented for sale at Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon, on Thursday (January 25). The trade was reported as strong for quality store and weanling lots.

An increased number of buyers at the sale resulted in improved prices. Quality weanlings, in particular, proved to be very popular with some “fancy” prices achieved for some lots.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 260kg – €765 or €2.93/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus heifer: 260kg – €730 or €2.80/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 285kg – €875 or €3.07/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 420kg – €1,245 or €2.96/kg.

According to the mart’s Brendan Egan, cows with calves at foot made €1,040-1,900/head and in-calf cows made up to €1,460/head.

Dry cows sold well, he added, and a top price of €1,450 was achieved for a Limousin cow weighing 760kg.

Kilkenny Mart

A larger cattle sale, consisting of 720 animals, was witnessed in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Thursday last. The sale featured approximately 200 more cattle than the same sale in 2017, according to the mart’s auctioneer George Candler.

Continental animals were scarce, with Friesian and Aberdeen Angus being the dominant breeds on offer.

Cull cows met a good selling trade. The continental culls, he said, on offer made €1.20-2.15/kg and the Friesian types made €0.83-1.75/kg.

In addition, he said, quality heifers also met a good trade. The heavier lots (500-600kg) made €2.00-2.41/kg, €2.00-2.42/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.80-2.87/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 675kg – €1,520 or €2.25/kg;
  • Charolais: 595kg – €1,390 or €2.34/kg;
  • Limousin: 515kg – €1,130 or €2.19/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 490kg – €1,050 or €2.14/kg;
  • Charolais: 305kg – €750 or €2.46/kg;
  • Limousin: 345kg – €990 or €2.87/kg.

In the steer ring, Candler said quality beef and forward store lots sold well and the majority sold at €1.50-2.62/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Hereford: 755kg – €1,550 or €2.05/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 745kg – €1,540 or €2.07/kg;
  • Friesian: 580kg – €1,050 or €1.81/kg;
  • Aubrac: 560kg – €1,380 or €2.46/kg;
  • Charolais: 405kg – €1,060 or €2.62/kg;
  • Limousin: 495kg – €1,180 or €2.38/kg.