Mart trade: Numbers ease and quality comes under pressure

There has been a slight decrease in the number of cattle presented for sale at cattle marts across the country.

Beef and factory-fit cattle have remained a firm trade, while plainer cattle – particularly lots of dairy origin – have proved more difficult to move.

Good-quality, forward continental cattle have remained a steady trade. Buoyed by exporter demand, weanlings – being sourced for the Turkish market – are proving popular among these buyers.

The bullock trade has remained steady, with heavier lots proving to be the most popular among buyers.

The heifer trade seems to have eased slightly. However, where quality heifers and bullocks have been presented for sale, these lots recorded the highest prices.

Castlerea Mart

900 cattle were presented for sale at Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon, on Thursday (May 10). Exporters were reported to be out in force sourcing weanlings for Turkey.

The dry cow trade remained strong – especially for the forward store lots.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 370kg – €1,065 or €2.87/kg;
  • Limousin: 380kg – €1,200 or €3.15/kg;
  • Charolais: 580kg – €1,665 or €2.87/kg;
  • Limousin: 515kg – €1,495 or €2.90/kg.

A good clearance rate was achieved in the weanling rings and the mart manager Brendan Egan outlined that there were some “very fancy prices” achieved by quality lots.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 350kg – €1,100 or €3.14/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 260kg – €800 or €3.07/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 285kg – €1,190 or €4.17/kg;
  • Belgian Blue bull: 295kg – €1,090 or €3.69/kg.

According to Brendan, cows with calves at foot made up to €2,270 and in-calf cows traded for €1,010-1,350/head.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Charolais: 770kg – €1,655 or €2.14/kg;
  • Limousin: 700kg – €1,615 or €2.30/kg;
  • Limousin: 720kg – €1,715 or €2.38/kg;
  • Simmental: 730kg – €1,535 or €2.10/kg.

In the calf ring, dairy cross calves traded for €20-125/head. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford types sold for €150-325/head, while continental calves made up to €450/head on the day.

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 – for all cattle – was reported to be strong, with improved grass growth bringing extra buyers around the sales ring.

Top-class bulls weighing in excess of 600kg sold for €645-875 along with their weight, while beef bullocks traded at €600-795 over; store bullocks fetched a top call of €900 over.

Meanwhile, in the heifer ring, beef lots made €645-775 over and store heifers traded at €350-775 along with their weight. Furthermore, fat, well-fleshed cows sold at €690-2,200/head. The top price of €2,200 was achieved by a cow weighing 900kg.

Balla Mart

Over 1,000 cattle were on offer at Saturday’s (May 12) sale at Balla Mart. There was a lot of store cattle presented for sale and a “smashing” trade was reported by the mart’s Anthony Murphy.

Heavy bullocks (>500kg) sold for an average price of €2.43/kg; the heavier store lots (400-500kg) traded at an average price of €2.49/kg, while bullocks weighing 300-400kg averaged €2.77/kg.

Over 400 heifers went under the hammer at the Mayo-based venue. Heifers weighing up to 400kg averaged €2.53/kg and those weighing 400-500kg averaged €2.47/kg. In addition, beef heifers (>500kg) also sold for an average price of €2.53/kg.

In addition, over 190 cows went under the hammer on Saturday last. The best of these, he said, was a January-2014 born Limousin cow. Accompanied by her bull calf, this pair sold for €2,000. Dry cows sold to a top call of €1,945.

A weanling sale also took place at Balla Mart on Monday last; a fine trade was reported. Looking at the bull sale, these animals (200-350kg) averaged €2.79/kg, while heavier lots (350-400kg) traded for €2.51/kg.

100 weanling bulls were also presented for sale; the trade was reported as good with the majority of bulls selling in the region of €2.40-2.60/kg. Some “special” lots broke the €3.00/kg mark.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Limousin: 310kg – €1,000 or €3.23/kg;
  • Charolais: 510kg – €1,285 or €2.52/kg;
  • Limousin: 185kg – €515 or €2.78/kg.

Macroom Mart

Macroom Mart’s sale took place on Saturday last (May 12). Dry cows traded at €20-665 along with the weight and a Shorthorn cow – weighing 765kg – made the top price on the day; she sold for €1,400.

Moving to the bullock trade, early-maturing lots sold for €255-670 over, while continental types made €320-670 over. Two Hereford steers – weighing 650kg on average – made €1,320/head.

In the heifer ring, heifers traded for €250-775 along with the weight. A Limousin heifer, weighing 545kg, sold for €1,320, while a 480kg Limousin heifer traded for €1,135/head.

In the calf ring, Friesian bulls – suitable for export – sold for €60-135/head, while farmers were willing to pay up to €205/head to secure lots. Hereford and Angus bulls made €150-385/head, while their female counterparts traded for €110-280/head.

Furthermore, continental bull and heifer calves sold for up to €450/head and €300/head respectively.

Carnew Mart

Some 1,165 cattle and 275 calves went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last (May 12).

The mart’s Joe O’Brien said that cattle met a firm trade and prices edged upwards for all types – particularly beef and forward stores.

Beef bullocks made €720-1,070 over, while forward stores sold for €180-450 along with their weight. Continental store lots traded at €550-1,060 over.

In the heifer ring, beef lots made €640-1,620 over, while forward heifers sold for €350-810 along with their weight. Beef cows fetched €460-880 over, while store cows made €100-520 over.

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €240-460/head;
  • Continental heifers: €180-415/head;
  • Friesian bulls: €60-240/head;
  • Hereford/Angus bulls: €140-350/head;
  • Hereford/Angus heifers: €80-260/head.