Mart trade: Numbers ease as field work takes priority

Mart managers have reported smaller sales in recent days; this is mainly due to the recent fine weather as farmers switched their intentions to making good-quality silage.

However, continued grass growth has kept farmers’ appetites for good-quality store type animals high; beef finishers – with large numbers of stock – have also been busy refilling slatted houses.

Beef and factory-fit cattle have remained a firm trade; prices for these types of animals have increased slightly, while plainer cattle – particularly lots of dairy origin – have proved more difficult to move.

Cull cows are still a super trade at the marts. However, it has been mooted that cow prices in the beef processing plants are coming under pressure; this hasn’t filtered down to mart level yet.

Carnew Mart

Some 840 cattle and 170 calves went under the hammer at Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last.

David Quinn, the mart manager, said that there was a very good trade for all classes of cattle.

Factory-fit cattle were also reported to be in great demand; butcher bullocks sold for €740-1,180 over. Continental store bullocks made €550-910 over, while Friesian store steers sold for €220-660 along with their weight.

Heifers were reported to trade well; stores made €350-765 over and beef types traded for €650-1,220 with their weight.

The top price on the day was €1,700; this was achieved by a heifer weighing 480kg. Beef cows fetched €560-970 over, while store cows made €50-510 over.

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €220-440;
  • Continental heifers: €150-380;
  • Friesian bulls: €60-210;
  • Hereford/Angus bulls: €160-330;
  • Hereford/Angus heifers: €130-280.

Kilkenny Mart

A smaller cattle sale – consisting of 680 animals – was witnessed in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill on Thursday last, according to the mart’s auctioneer, George Candler.

He said: “Many farmers engaged with on-farm work and as the old saying goes, make hay when the sun shines, although most farmers were making silage.”

An improved trade was reported for quality forward stores and the lighter continental bullocks and heifers, with these animals achieving prices ranging from €2.40/kg to €3.20/kg.

Quality Friesian bullocks traded for €1.80-2.15/kg. However, George noted that lighter Friesians – with Holstein influence – and light Hereford and Angus steers and heifers were difficult to sell.

In addition, he said, there were 100 cull cows on offer and these animals peaked at €2.35/kg.

The heavier heifer lots made €2.25-2.80/kg, €2.00-2.70/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.80-2.70/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 675kg – €1,640 or €2.43/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 625kg – €1,750 or €2.80/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 520kg – €1,050 or €2.02/kg;
  • Charolais: 490kg – €1,240 or €2.53/kg;
  • Hereford: 500kg – €1,100 or €2.20/kg;
  • Limousin: 380kg – €1,060 or €2.79/kg.

Bullocks weighing over 600kg sold for €1.85-2.70/kg, while steers falling into the 500-600kg bracket made €900-1,670 or €1.80-2.85/kg.

Forward store bullocks traded for €650-1,360 or €1.50-2.85/kg and bullocks weighing <400kg sold for €500-1,220 or €1.50-3.17/kg.

Sample steer prices:
  • Charolais: 770kg – €1,800 or €2.34/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 685kg – €1,450 or €2.12/kg;
  • Charolais: 585kg – €1,670 or €2.85/kg;
  • Limousin: 505kg – €1,350 or €2.67/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 390kg – €840 or €2.15/kg;
  • Friesian: 355kg – €740 or €2.08/kg.

Castlerea Mart

800 cattle were presented for sale at Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon, on Thursday (May 31); the trade was reported to be strong.

Bullocks, heifers, weanlings, dry cows and breeding stock were reported to achieve good clearance rates.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Limousin heifer: 280kg – €885 or €3.16/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 285kg – €870 or €3.05/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 300kg – €925 or €3.08/kg;
  • Charolais bulls: 280kg – €990 or €3.53/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 280kg – €960 or €3.42/kg;
  • Belgian Blue bull: 465kg – €1,200 or €2.58/kg.

According to the mart’s Brendan Egan, cows with calves at foot made a top price of €2,220/unit.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Charolais: 815kg – €1,820 or €2.23/kg;
  • Limousin: 770kg – €1,865 or €2.42/kg;
  • Limousin: 735kg – €1,860 or €2.53/kg;
  • Limousin: 780kg – €1,695 or €2.17/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.

Dairy cross calves made €30-125/head, Hereford and Angus types traded for €150-335/head; continental calves sold for €385-460/head.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 490kg – €1,410 or €2.87/kg;
  • Limousin: 510kg – €1,370 or €2.68/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 465kg – €1,280 or €2.75/kg;
  • Charolais: 620kg – €1,580 or €2.54/kg.

Raphoe Mart

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

All classes of stock were reported to trade well, with bullocks selling for €1,080 over and heifers for €970 along with their weight. In addition, dry cows sold to a top price of €1,615.

Top-class bulls sold for €615-800 over and beef bullocks made €600-1,080 over; lighter store steers sold for €400-915 over.

Meanwhile, in the heifer ring, beef lots made €530-970 over and store heifers traded at €350-795 along with their weight. Fat, well-fleshed cows sold at €615-1,930/head.

Ennis Mart

Farmers were reported to be active around the sale rings at Ennis Mart on Thursday last (May 31).

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.

Good quality bullocks met an exceptional trade with forward store types proving popular, according to the mart’s Michael Martin.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 460kg – €1,380 or €3.00/kg;
  • Limousin: 765kg – €1,865 or €2.44/kg;
  • Charolais: 600kg – €1,550 or €2.59/kg;
  • Hereford: 495kg – €1,100 or €2.24/kg.

Heifers were also reported to be a good trade, with forward lots meeting an exceptional demand.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Simmental: 410kg – €1,190 or €2.49/kg;
  • Charolais: 440kg – €1,260 or €2.86/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 530kg – €1,120 or €2.12/kg;
  • Hereford: 540kg – €1,100 or €2.24/kg.

Both feeder and beef cows were reported to sell well; however, the number of these animals on offer decreased on the previous week’s sale.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Limousin: 553kg – €1,350 or €2.44/kg;
  • Charolais: 460kg – €1,190 or €2.59/kg;
  • Charolais: 880kg – €1,940 or €2.20/kg;
  • Friesian: 575kg – €1,090 or €1.90/kg.

Carnaross Mart

The trade was reported to be steady for all types of stock at Carnaross Mart on Monday last. Over 850 animals were on offer.

The mart’s manager Hugh McNern outlined that factory-fit stock are in great demand; he also noted that dry cows are proving very popular among buyers.

Some 270 bullocks went under the hammer at the Meath-based mart. Good-quality bullocks proved popular among farmers, while plainer types proved a more difficult trade.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 410kg – €1,205 or €2.93/kg;
  • Charolais: 310kg – €900 or €2.90/kg;
  • Limousin: 370kg – €1,080 or €2.91/kg;
  • Limousin: 450kg – €1,255 or €2.78/kg;
  • Charolais: 580kg – €1,460 or €2.51/kg;
  • Limousin: 650kg – €1,560 or €2.40/kg;
  • Charolais: 700kg – €1,740 or €2.48/kg.

Moving to heifers, the trade was reported to be steady. Again, good-quality lots achieved the highest prices, while plainer lots were more difficult to sell. Like last week, beef heifers presented for sale were few and far between.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 305kg – €830 or €2.72/kg;
  • Limousin: 515kg – €1,375 or €2.66/kg;
  • Charolais: 415kg – €1,035 or €2.49/kg;
  • Limousin: 560kg – €1,455 or €2.59/kg;
  • Limousin: 545kg – €1,440 or €2.64/kg;
  • Charolais: 630kg – €1,555 or €2.46/kg.

On the day, 100 cows were on offer.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Charolais: 890kg – €2,070 or €2.32/kg;
  • Limousin: 650kg – €1,475 or €2.26/kg;
  • Limousin: 825kg – €1,710 or €2.07/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 830kg – €1,740 or €2.09/kg;
  • Charolais: 775kg – €1,520 or €1.96./kg.

Some 312 calves were also on offer and Friesian bull calves – suitable for export – sold from €70-190/head. Farmers paid a top call of €265/head to secure Frisian bull calves.

Sample calf prices:
  • Angus bull: €325;
  • Hereford bull: €370;
  • Hereford heifer: €360;
  • Limousin bull: €440;
  • Charolais heifer: €430;
  • Charolais heifer: €600;
  • Belgian Blue bull: €435.