Mart trade: The demand for short-keep cows increases

The trend that has been witnessed over the past number of weeks has continued. Where good-quality, short-keep cows have been presented for sale, these lots have met an increased demand.

At the factory gate, deadweight cows’ prices remain steady and this is evident at the ringside. Cows which require further feeding are making up to €1.80-1.85/kg, while mart managers have noted that good-quality cows are touching and breaking the €2.00/kg mark in some cases.

However, while this is welcome news on the cow price front, the value of steers presented for sale has taken a hit in recent days, while their female counterparts are steady – or slightly improved in some instances.

The drop in steers’ prices comes as the factories turn up the ‘heat’ on base quotes with 390c/kg as the general price offered by agents, where 395-400c/kg was more freely available a couple of weeks back.

Moving to the weanling trade, mart managers have noted that prices have remained steady.

Castlerea Mart

Numbers were said to be “good” at Castlerea Mart on Thursday last, May 23, according to the mart’s manager Brendan Egan.

He said: “The trade has remained strong – especially for the short-keep type of stock and quality stores.

“Demand for both the bullocks and heifers was very good for the time of year, while the weanling rings reported some very fancy prices – with one weanling heifer exceeding €4.00/kg.

“The dry cow trade has remained very strong while the breeding stock, calves and runners are commanding a lot of interest at the moment,” he added.

Sample heifer and steer prices:
  • Charolais bullock: 385kg – €1,175 or €3.05/kg;
  • Limousin bullock: 450kg – €1,170 or €2.60/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus bullock: 505kg – €1,085 or €2.14/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 395kg – €1,000 or €2.53/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 425kg – €1,070 or €2.51/kg;
  • Simmental heifer: 435kg – €1,165 or €2.67/kg.

Cows with calves at foot traded for €1,060-1,820/unit, while springers sold for €1,020-1,040/head.

Looking at the calf trade, Brendan noted that while numbers have remained strong, quality and breed type are the main drivers of price.

Dairy-cross calves made €15-110/head, while Hereford-cross and Angus-cross calves sold for €180-285/head; runners made €300-770/head for continental breeds.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Aberdeen Angus heifer: 360kg – €920 or €2.55kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 205kg – €775 or €3.78/kg;
  • Charolais heifer: 295kg – €895 or €3.03/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 380kg – €1,035 or €2.72/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 275kg – €760 or €2.76/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 295kg – €945 or €3.20/kg.

Raphoe Mart

Given the time of year, Raphoe Mart witnessed a “good” entry of cattle on Thursday last, May 23.

The trade was reported to be “good” for all types of stock, while forward stores were a “brisk” trade and in “great demand”, while lighter “quality” lots sold up to and over €3.00/kg.

Bulls weighing 600kg and over sold for €600-955/head, while beef bullocks fetched €600-770 over, while store lots made €400-780/head.

Heavier beef heifers traded for €500-800 along with their weight and lots which require further feeding sold for €350-705 over.

In addition, dry cows sold for €650-1,510/head.

Kilrush Mart

A “reasonable size” sale took place at Kilrush Mart on Wednesday last, May 22. According to the mart manager, Martin McNamara, there were a lot of “small” cattle in both the steer and heifer rings.

Sample steer prices:
  • Hereford: 351kg – €705 or €2.00/kg;
  • Friesian: 345kg – €595 or €1.72/kg;
  • Limousin: 480kg – €1,090 or €2.27/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 425kg – €840 or €1.97/kg.

However, cattle were reported to meet a “good local demand” as grass is in plentiful supply in west Clare.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 335kg – €890 or €2.66/kg;
  • Hereford: 280kg – €5,500 or €1.96/kg;
  • Limousin: 470kg – €1,005 or €2.14/kg;
  • Hereford: 355kg – €675 or €1.90/kg.

A number of dry cows also went under the hammer; samples prices are listed below.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Friesian: 555kg – €800 or €1.44/kg;
  • Friesian: 525kg – €770 or €1.47/kg;
  • Hereford: 507kg – €840 or €1.66/kg;
  • Friesian: 630kg – €970 or €1.54/kg.

Carnew Mart

Again, following the trend that is evident across the country, numbers were quite high at Carnew Mart on Saturday last, May 25. Some 1,135 head went under the hammer which included 180 calves and 120 dry cows.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 685kg – €1,440 or €2.10/kg;
  • Friesian: 702kg – €1,160 or €1.65/kg;
  • Limousin: 512kg – €1,270 or €2.48/kg;
  • Hereford: 722kg – €1,380 or €1.91/kg.

In addition, exporters kept a solid floor under weanling bull prices, while 40 suckler cows met a “good” demand and plenty of interest.

Sample weanling bull prices:
  • Belgian Blue: 382kg – €1,160 or €3.03/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 288kg – €570 or €1.97/kg;
  • Limousin: 515kg – €1,130 or €2.19/kg;
  • Limousin: 360kg – €720 or €2.00/kg.

Quality cattle were reported to be a “very strong” trade, with an “excellent” demand for all store cattle. However, it was noted that there were less farmers in the market for plainer cattle.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 478kg – €1,050 or €2.19/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 529kg – €1,200 or €2.26/kg;
  • Limousin: 560kg – €1,360 or €2.42/kg;
  • Charolais: 350kg – €850 or €2.42/kg.

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