Mart trade: Quality stock getting scarce as numbers drop back

Many mart managers across the country have noted a reduction in the numbers of cattle being presented for sale in recent days.

The poor prices achieved by cows in the factories recently has filtered down to mart level and cull cows from the dairy herd continue to be a hard sell – especially those lacking flesh.

However, there seems to have been a slight lift in the prices achieved by heifers – especially the quality lots, while the bullock trade is described as steady.

Moving to the weanling trade, reports from mart managers suggest that quality bulls are holding their own. However, as has been the case over the last number of weeks, the quality of weanlings presented for sale has decreased.

Continental lots are reported to be the best trade, but dairy-origin stock are more difficult to get away.

Ballinrobe Mart

On Wednesday last (November 28), it was reported that the number of stock presented for sale at Ballinrobe Mart was similar to previous weeks.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 595kg – €1,500 or €2.52/kg;
  • Limousin: 475kg – €1,335 or €2.32/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 485kg – €1,070 or €2.21/kg.

The top price in the dry cow category went to a Hereford cross cow. She weighed 755kg and fetched €1,240 or €1.64/kg. Furthermore, a young Charolais cross cow with a bull calf at foot made €1,600.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 455kg – €1,165 or €2.66/kg;
  • Limousin: 380kg – €1,040 or €2.74/kg;
  • Charolais: 577kg – €1,245 or €2.16/kg.

Carnew Mart

On Wednesday last (November 28), 250 weanlings were on offer at Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow. A good trade was noted for quality weanling bulls and heifers. In addition, there was good export demand for Aberdeen Angus and Hereford-bred bulls.

Weanling bulls weighing over 400kg reportedly fetched €820-1,320, while those weighing under 400kg made €560-1,080.

Moving to weanling heifers, buyers paid from €740-1,180 for those weighing over 400kg and €470-880 was given for those weighing less than 400kg.

There were 750 lots presented for sale on Saturday (November 1), with good trade reported. Naturally, demand was greatest for good-quality, suckler-bred stock. However, light and plainer-type animals were much harder to get away.

Sample prices:
  • Beef and forward bullocks: €600-880 over;
  • Continental store bullocks: €380-810 over;
  • Continental beef heifers: €550-860 over;
  • Store heifers: €210-715 over;
  • Beef cows: €350-680 over;
  • Store cows: €150 under to €280 over.

Ennis Mart

Some 580 lots were presented for sale on Tuesday last (November 27) at Ennis Mart, Co. Clare, with reports suggesting that the number of cattle on offer each week are beginning to tail off.

Unsurprisingly, the trade for quality weanling bulls was noted to be good, with average-quality lots much harder to get away.

Sample weanling bull prices:
  • Charolais: 340kg – €1,055 or €3.10/kg;
  • Charolais: 390kg – €1,000 or €2.56/kg;
  • Limousin: 250kg – €760 or €3.04/kg;
  • Limousin: 360kg – €900 or €2.50/kg.

It was also reported that weanling heifers were an easier trade with buyers focusing on quality.

There was a good demand for quality in-calf heifers with suckling potential. A top price on the day of €2,120 was paid for a heifer in calf to a Limousin bull.

Sample weanling heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 260kg – €765 or €2.94/kg;
  • Charolais: 320kg – €830 or €2.59/kg;
  • Charolais: 406kg – €980 or €2.41/kg.

Kilkenny Mart

On Thursday last (November 29), Kilkenny Mart hosted a sale of 800 cattle which was similar in size to previous weeks. George Candler noted that the quality of the stock was more variable and that good-quality cattle are getting scarce.

It was reported that there were more plain and average stock on offer, and naturally these were a tougher trade.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Limousin: 395kg – €985 or €2.49/kg;
  • Charolais: 495kg – €1,225 or €2.47/kg;
  • Charolais: 595kg – €1,370 or €2.30/kg;
  • Limousin: 610kg – €1,410 or €2.31/kg.

In the bullock ring, steers (<400kg) sold for €380-€985/head or €1.40-2.70/kg, while the heavier lots (400-500kg) made €450-1,225/head or €1.40-2.70/kg.

Lots falling into the 500-600kg category sold for €700-1,370/head or €1.70-2.55/kg and lots weighing 600kg upwards made €900-1,460/head or €1.70-2.31/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 300kg – €630 or €2.10/kg;
  • Limousin: 455kg – €1,040 or €2.29/kg;
  • Charolais: 720kg – €1,500 or €2.08/kg.

In the cow ring, Friesian cull cows sold for €0.60-1.76/kg and the continental types made €1.20-2.10/kg.