Mart trade: Numbers entered slightly up, but emphasis on quality

Unfortunately, the mart trade has remained on par with last week in the majority of cases. The uncertainty hanging over the entire industry is in no doubt having an impact ringside.

Numbers were reported to have increased marginally, with some mart managers noting that quality cattle are achieving high prices.

Tom Maguire – Ballinrobe Mart manager – said: “The trade has followed the pre-Christmas period, with the emphasis very much on quality. Anything ‘nice’ is making plenty and anything plain is a bad trade – the very same as before Christmas.”

Also Read: Heifers sell to a top price of €1,600/head at Ballinrobe Mart

However, this has led to a significant price difference between quality cattle and the poorer-quality lots.

Kilkenny Mart

Kilkenny Mart’s auctioneer George Candler said: “Considering all the negatives at the moment – Brexit, sensational reports from The Lancet and depressed factory quotes – the trade remained very steady.”

Some 520 head of cattle were entered into the sale with a slightly sharper trade reported compared to the previous week.

On the day, the heavier heifer lots made €1.90-2.25/kg or €980-1,450/head; €1.80-2.55/kg or €780-1,090/head was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.80-2.55/kg or €580-960/head.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 705kg – €1,450 or €2.06/kg;
  • Hereford: 650kg – €1,330 or €2.05/kg;
  • Limousin: 500kg – €1,090 or €2.18/kg;
  • Charolais: 445kg – €1,040 or €2.34/kg;
  • Hereford: 485kg – €885 or €1.82/kg;
  • Limousin: 395kg – €960 or €2.43/kg;
  • Continental: 360kg – €620 or €2.53/kg;
  • Charolais: 300kg – €750 or €2.50/kg.

In the steer ring, lots weighing 600kg or over sold at €1.70-2.30/kg or €840-1,490/head, while bullocks weighing 500-600kg made €1.70-2.30/kg or €850-1,300 head.

In the 400-500kg bracket, steers made €1.60-2.45/kg or €700-1,170/head and the lighter lots – weighing 400kg or less – sold at €1.50-2.45/kg or €400-1,010/head.

Sample steer prices:
  • Hereford: 795kg – €1,480 or €1.86/kg;
  • Limousin: 755kg – €1,490 or €1.97/kg;
  • Friesian: 585kg – €980 or €1.68/kg;
  • Simmental: 545kg – €1,020 or €1.87/kg;
  • Limousin: 485kg – €1,170 or €2.41/kg;
  • Charolais: 345kg – €880 or €2.55/kg.

In the cow ring, Friesian cull cows traded for €0.70-1.45/kg, while continental types sold for €1.25-1.80/kg.

Castlerea Mart

Numbers were reported to have increased from the 240 lots entered in last week’s sale at Castlerea Mart, according to the mart’s manger, Brendan Egan.

He said: “Despite all the uncertainty about Brexit, prices and the trade held firm, and in some cases, well improved with more customers in attendance trying to source stock.

Sample heifer and steer prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 480kg – €1,185 or €2.46/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 455kg – €1,130 or €2.48/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 645kg – €1,340 or €2.07/kg;
  • Charolais bullock: 540kg – €1,385 or €2.56/kg;
  • Limousin bullock: 510kg – €1,090 or €2.13/kg;
  • Hereford bullock: 570kg – €1,100 or €1.92/kg.

“Quality still remains a big factor in the prices obtained, with some top prices recorded for the top-quality lots on offer.”

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 370kg – €880 or €2.37/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 295kg – €820 or €2.77/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 265kg – €705 or €2.66/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 385kg – €1,000 or €2.59/kg.

Furthermore, springers made €1,070-1,550/head, while cows with calves at foot made €1,570-1,870/unit. In addition, a number of dry cows were also on offer.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Limousin: 875kg – €1,655 or €1.89/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 785kg – €1,355 or €1.72/kg;
  • Charolais: 810kg – €1,485 or €1.83/kg;
  • Charolais: 805kg – €1,445 or €1.80/kg.

Again, like other marts dotted across the country, young calves are beginning to come on stream. On the day, calves sold for €90-325/head, while runners sold at €250-825/head.

Carnew Mart

Some 875 cattle and 90 calves went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last. David Quinn, the mart manager, said that there were more farmers which led to a full clearance.

Beef and forward store bullocks made €600-940 along with their weight. Continental store bullocks made €420-780 over, while Friesian steers sold for €220-560 along with their weight.

Sample steer prices:
  • Hereford: 509kg – €900 or €1.76/kg;
  • Limousin: 880kg – €1,820 or €2.06/kg;
  • Friesian: 490kg – €790 or €1.61/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 399kg – €710 or €1.77/kg.

Looking at the heifer trade, beef lots made €550-900 over and store heifers fetched €280-660 over. A number of weanling bulls also went under the hammer and these animals sold for €350-660 with their weight.

In addition, beef cows fetched €320-630 over and store cows made between €100 under the weight and €330 over.

Sample heifers prices:
  • Charolais: 520kg – €1,120 or €2.15/kg;
  • Simmental: 590kg – €1,210 or €2.05/kg;
  • Limousin: 466kg – €1,010 or €2.16/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 477kg – €870 or €1.82/kg.

Furthermore, a number of calves were also presented for sale; some sample prices are listed below.

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €210-405/head;
  • Continental heifers: €150-310/head;
  • Friesian bulls: €40-210/head;
  • Hereford/Angus bulls: €150-320/head;
  • Hereford/Angus heifers: €100-305/head.

Raphoe Mart

Last Thursday’s sale (January 17) in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, featured a larger entry of cattle, according to the mart’s Anne Harkin, with an improved trade for all lots.

“There was an excellent attendance of buyers, with quality cattle most in demand. Aberdeen Angus cross and Hereford cross were also in better demand,” she explained.

Bulls weighing over 600kg made €580-855 over and beef bullocks sold for €560-952 over, while store lots made €360-795 along with their weight.

On the heifer front, beef lots went under the hammer for €480-845 over and store heifers sold at €350-605 along with their weight.

In addition, dry cows sold for €525-1,290/head.