Farmers, feedlot buyers and exporters have made their presence felt at the ringside over recent days; weanlings and cows are still particularly in demand.

The poor weather conditions, in some parts of the country, experienced last week failed to dampen the trade with mart managers reporting good clearances all round.

Weanling bulls – in particular – have remained in demand, as exporters and farmers battle to secure these lots. In addition, finished cow prices have also remained steady and many of the quality continental types have achieved prices exceeding the €2/kg mark.

Moving to the calf trade, the demand for Friesian bull calves has picked up again. Looking at prices, ‘black and white’ bull calves and lots suitable for export traded at €50-130/head.

Meanwhile, the lighter, younger calves are selling anywhere from €5/head to €50/head. Calves with Jersey genetics generally realise the lower of these prices.

Castlerea Mart

Some 800 cattle were presented for sale at Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon, on Thursday (March 29). The trade was reported as good for all categories of stock, despite the unfavourable weather.

Weanling heifers and bulls, in particular, proved to be very popular with these lots achieving the highest prices on the day. Heifers made up to €3.74/kg, while bulls sold to a top price of €3.73/kg.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Limousin heifer: 295kg – €840 or €2.84/kg;
  • Belgian Blue heifer: 405kg – €1,085 or €2.67/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 340kg – €1,270 or €3.73/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 265kg – €990 or €3.73/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 265kg – €845 or €3.18/kg;
  • Saler bull: 280kg – €800 or €2.85/kg.

Store heifers and dry cows also sold well. A good clearance rate was achieved, while an increased demand for breeding cattle led to higher prices for these lots.

140 bullocks also went under the hammer on the day. These lots traded for €400-935 along with their weight, while the average price paid was €688 over.

Sample heifer and bullock prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 470kg – €1,300 or €2.76/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 470kg – €1,225 or €2.60/kg;
  • Charolais heifer 590kg – €1,480 or €2.50/kg;
  • Charolais bullock: 435kg – €1,290 or €2.96/kg;
  • Limousin bullock: 540kg – €1,390 or €2.57/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus bullock: 565kg – €1,450 or €2.56/kg.

According to the mart’s Brendan Egan, cows with calves at foot made up to €1,900/unit and in-calf cows traded for €550-1,710/head.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Charolais: 780kg – €1,565 or €2.03/kg;
  • Limousin: 610kg – €1,465 or €2.40/kg;
  • Limousin: 460kg – €940 or €2.04/kg;
  • Charolais: 810kg – €1,585 or €1.95/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, with plainer types proving to be a more difficult trade.

Sample calf prices:
  • Hereford heifer: €385/head;
  • Aberdeen Angus heifer: €120/head;
  • Charolais bull: €570/head;
  • Aberdeen Angus bull: €170/head;
  • Belgian Blue bull: €265/head;
  • Friesian bull: €95/head.

Raphoe Mart

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

She added: “There was a great trade for all stock from start to finish.”

Top-class bulls weighing over 600kg sold at €520-985 over, the mart manager stated. Beef bullocks made €465-1,080 over and lighter stores made €450-940 along with their weight.

Beef heifers made €590-1,080 over and store heifers traded at €350-840 over or €2.20-2.95/kg. Fat, well-fleshed cows traded for €630-1,845 head.

Ennis Mart

A large sale took place in Ennis Mart on Thursday last; over 900 animals went under the hammer. The trade was reported to be very strong. However, quality was more variable in the bullock ring.

According to the mart’s Danny Moran, heavy cattle were in good demand and prices were improved by €30/head.

“In the heifer ring, both light and heavy heifers were commanding a good trade. Prices were improved on previous weeks with more feedlot buyer activity,” he explained.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 405kg – €1,250 or €3.08/kg;
  • Limousin: 700kg – €1,690 or €2.41/kg;
  • Hereford: 700kg – €1,350 or €1.90/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 600kg – €1,540 or €2.56/kg.

The number of aged bulls passing through the ring on Thursday was similar to the previous week. The best of these made a top price of €2,160 (Charolais bull).

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 515kg – €1,410 or €2.73/kg;
  • Hereford: 605kg – €1,150 or €1.90/kg;
  • Charolais: 450kg – €1,160 or €2.41/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 665kg – €1,330 or €2.00/kg.

In the 4-star and 5-star heifer sale, lots weighing 300-400kg proved to be very popular. These animals sold for €1,000-1,260/head. Furthermore, cows were met with a very strong demand – especially store lots.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Limousin: 585kg – €1,380 or €2.35/kg;
  • Charolais: 440kg – €915 or €2.07/kg;
  • Hereford: 670kg – €1,300 or €1.94/kg;
  • Friesian: 755kg – €1,380 or €1.78/kg.

Kilrush Mart

There was a large turnout at the Kilrush Mart on Wednesday, March 28. Dry cows – both Friesian and continental types – passed through the ring. An increased number of heifers and bullocks also went under the hammer.

The calf trade was reported to be improved; calves were stronger and in better condition. Friesian bull calves suitable for export traded for €50-130/head, while Friesian lots purchased by farmers sold up to €200/head.

Sample steer prices:
  • Hereford: 313kg – €720 or €2.30/kg;
  • Charolais: 345kg – €900 or €2.60/kg;
  • Limousin: 350kg – €910 or €2.60/kg.
  • Friesian: 395kg – €730 or €1.84/kg.

Furthermore, whitehead and Angus calves traded for €120-250/head, while continental calves made a top price of €350/head.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 298kg – €850 or €2.85/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 280kg – €860 or €3.07/kg;
  • Charolais: 470kg – €1,100 or €2.35/kg;
  • Friesian: 455kg – €800 or €1.76/kg.

The mart’s manager Martin McNamara reported that there was an increased number of yearlings on offer.

Sample cow prices:
  • Simmental: 565kg – €935 or €1.65/kg;
  • Hereford: 530kg – €880 or €1.66/kg;
  • Charolais: 800kg – €1,310 or €1.63/kg;
  • Friesian: 590kg – €1,090 or €1.84/kg.

Kilkenny Mart

A large cattle sale, consisting of 1,250 animals, was witnessed in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill on Thursday last (March 29), according to the mart’s auctioneer, George Candler.

An excellent trade for all quality cattle was reported – especially continentals. However, Aberdeen Angus and Hereford type heifers, weighing 250-340kg, proved a more difficult trade.

In addition, he said, continental cull cows peaked at €2.10/kg, while Friesian cull cows traded for €0.90-1.80/kg.

Quality heifers also met a good trade. The heavier lots made €2.15-2.70/kg, €1.80-2.50/kg was paid for the forward store lots and the lighter store classes (<400kg) made €1.70-2.80/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 620kg – €1,670 or €2.69/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 610kg – €1,430 or €2.34/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 565kg – €1,260 or €2.23/kg;
  • Hereford: 480kg – €900 or €1.88/kg;
  • Limousin: 395kg – €1,060 or €2.68/kg;
  • Charolais: 330kg – €865 or €2.62/kg.

In the steer ring, Candler said quality beef and forward store lots sold well and the majority sold at €1.70-2.70/kg.

In addition, a number of cows with calves at foot also passed through the ring at the Kilkenny-based venue. These lots traded for €1,080-1,760/unit; in-calf cows sold for €900-1,690/head.

Sample steer prices:
  • Limousin: 780kg – €1,830 or €2.35/kg;
  • Charolais: 685kg – €1,740 or €2.54/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 560kg – €1,120 or €2.00/kg;
  • Friesian: 555kg – €1,070 or €1.93/kg;
  • Simmental: 485kg – €1,210 or €2.49/kg;
  • Limousin: 300kg – €815 or €2.72/kg.