Mart trade: Prices steady as marts prepare to close up for Christmas

While some marts have held their last sale of 2018 already, the remainder are expected to follow suit this week. In recent days, mart managers have noted that the number of cattle has continued to tail off.

In addition to the lower numbers, the quality of cattle has also decreased. However, prices are still holding firm despite this.

Forward store bullocks and heifers have become popular; this increased demand and the reduced numbers have helped to bolster prices.

Some mart managers have also continued to indicate that buyers are particularly interested in traditional breeds for further feeding. Naturally, it is the quality cattle that are achieving the best prices.

While the cow trade remains variable, there has been reports of continental cull cows breaking the €2.00/kg mark.

The weanling trade continues to be steady. The lower number of bulls on offer has led to improved prices in some cases.

Castlerea Mart

On Thursday last (December 13), it was reported that a large number of lots were presented for sale at Castlerea Mart.

It was noted that the sale attracted a significant number of farmer and feedlot buyers attempting to source stock.

The trade was reported to be similar to the previous week, with demand strongest for the quality lots on offer. Overall, a good clearance was noted for all cattle presented for sale.

Sample weanling heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 290kg – €915 or €3.15/kg;
  • Limousin: 280kg – €730 or €2.60/kg;
  • Charolais: 300kg – €870 or €2.90/kg.

In the weanling ring, demand continued to be strong and naturally many buyers were focusing on quality when making purchases.

Sample weanling bull prices:
  • Charolais: 295kg – €940 or €3.18/kg;
  • Limousin: 275kg – €740 or €2.69/kg;
  • Charolais: 410kg – €1,095 or €2.60/kg.

Delvin Mart

It was reported that there was a big entry of cattle for the last sale of the year at Delvin Mart, Co. Westmeath, on Thursday last (December 13).

In the main ring, lighter store bullocks made from €1.54/kg to €2.38/kg. The top price on the day was achieved by a Belgian Blue steer weighing 315kg; he sold for €750.

The heavier bullocks weighing over 500kg averaged €1.73/kg and €2.03/kg or €1,110/head was paid for a 545kg Limousin steer.

In addition, there was also a good trade reported for Friesian bullocks with prices of €835/head paid for lots weighing 545kg.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 605kg – €1,440 or €2.38/kg;
  • Limousin: 608kg – €1,335 or €2.19/kg;
  • Hereford: 615kg – €1,140 or €1.85/kg;
  • Friesian: 685kg – €1,080 or €1.57/kg.

On the day, there were some stronger prices reported for heifers. These ranged from €1.28/kg to €2.18/kg.

Heifers falling into the 300-400kg category fetched €1.24-2.09/kg, while the heavier store heifers made €1.08-2.08/kg.

A large entry of dry cows was also reported to have met a very sharp trade, with an average price of €1.03/kg achieved.

Fat cows fetched from €735/head to €1,220/head. The top price of €1,220 was achieved by a Charolais cow weighing 685kg.

Ennis Mart

Some 700 lots were on offer last Thursday (December 13) at Ennis Mart, Co. Clare, with reports suggesting that the number of cattle on offer was up on the previous week’s sale.

Again, for another week, there was a big entry of cull cows reported, with 240 lots on offer. In addition, there were a number of aged bulls presented for sale; a Limousin bull weighing 815kg made €1,575.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 485kg – €1,160 or €2.39/kg;
  • Charolais: 615kg – €1,410 or €2.22/kg;
  • Limousin: 420kg – €1,050 or €2.50/kg;
  • Limousin: 527kg – €1,170 or €2.22/kg.

There was a good demand reported for forward beef-type stock, while cull cows – on average – fetched €1.68-1.93/kg for continental types and €1.11-1.17/kg for dairy-origin stock.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Limousin: 547kg – €1,405 or €2.57/kg;
  • Charolais: 515kg – €1,260 or €2.45/kg;
  • Limousin: 636kg – €1,340 or €2.10/kg;
  • Charolais: 877kg – €1,865 or €2.13/kg.

Kilkenny Mart

On Thursday last (December 13), Kilkenny Mart attracted some 680 cattle with a similar trade to the previous week’s sale reported.

George Candler – the mart’s auctioneer – noted that there were more customers in the market for bullocks weighing 370-430kg.

In addition, some quality Aberdeen Angus and Hereford lots in this weight range breached the €2.00/kg mark on a number of occasions.

George also noted that beef bullocks and heifers were in short supply on the day.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Limousin: 365kg – €840 or €2.30/kg;
  • Charolais: 495kg – €1,230 or €2.48/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 510kg – €1,065 or €2.09/kg;
  • Limousin: 805kg – €1,670 or €2.07/kg.

In the bullock ring, steers (<400kg) sold for €550-850/head or €1.50-2.50/kg, while the heavier lots (400-500kg) made €820-1,230/head or €1.70-2.60/kg.

Lots falling into the 500-600kg category sold for €850-1,350/head or €1.70-2.45/kg and lots weighing 600kg upwards made €1,000-1,670/head or €1.80-2.30/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 390kg – €940 or €2.41/kg;
  • Limousin: 510kg – €1,050 or €2.06/kg;
  • Charolais: 525kg – €1,250 or €2.38/kg.

In the cow ring, Friesian cull cows sold for €0.60-1.55/kg and the continental types made €1.30-1.90/kg.