Mart trade: Weanling bulls prove popular as marts brace for reopening

The mart’s across the country have been seriously interrupted due to the severe weather that gripped the country late last week and over the weekend.

Marts – especially in the south and east of the country – decided to postpone auctions from Wednesday, on account of the adverse weather.

Despite these cancellations, a number of marts across the country actually went ahead on Wednesday (February 28). Mart managers in the west of Ireland outlined that very little snow had fallen and it was safe to continue trading. However, the sale numbers were back significantly across a number of venues.

Like the beef processing plants, trading is expected to return to normal now that the thaw has set in and any sales that were postponed are due to be held over the coming weeks.

Looking at the trade, a huge variation in calf prices was recorded in marts that were successful in holding sales last week. As it stands, the trade is being dominated by black and white bull calves and lots suitable for export traded at €70-140/head.

Furthermore, as many sales were cancelled and farm-to-farm trading was limited due to road conditions in many parts, a bumper week of calf sales looks to be on the cards next week.

Again, where quality animals have been presented for sale, these lots have achieved the best prices. As has been the case in recent weeks, forward-type and short-stay cattle have proved popular.

Weanlings have met an improved trade – especially bulls. Quality lots have received prices in excess of €3/kg. This comes as factory agents, farmers and exporters have made their presence felt at the ringside.

Carnew Mart

Some 620 cattle and 510 calves went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday (February 24). The trade was reported as “excellent” for all classes and a full clearance was achieved on the day.

David Quinn, the mart manager, noted that there were more farmer customers for all types of store cattle.

Beef and store bullocks made €630-1,070 over, while Friesian store steers sold for €260-640 along with their weight. In addition, continental store heifers traded for €550-960 over.

Heifers were reported to trade well; stores made €350-850 over, while beef heifer lots sold for €570-980 along with their weight.

In the calf ring, the trade was reported as “super”. However, small Friesian calves and calves with Jersey genetics were slower to sell. Exporters were very active for strong Friesian bulls and 300 calves were bought for export.

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €250-440/head;
  • Continental heifers: €130-380/head;
  • Strong Friesian bulls: €130-185/head;
  • Export bulls: €70-130/head;
  • Lighter bulls: €10-40/head.

Ennis Mart

Ennis Mart’s cattle sale took place on Tuesday last (February 27) . According to the mart’s Danny Moran, numbers were similar to the previous week’s sale. However, there was a slight increase in calf numbers.

Generally speaking, young Friesian bull calves made €30-60/head, while stronger lots traded for €70-150/head.

Moran said: “Friesian calves would want to be at least three weeks old and fed well to meet customer demand.”

Sample bull weanling prices:
  • Charolais: 285kg – €845 or €2.96/kg;
  • Limousin: 249kg – €805 or €3.23/kg;
  • Shetland: 195kg – €425 or €2.17/kg;
  • Charolais: 312kg – €1,075 or €3.44/kg.

On the day, continental heifer calves traded for €320-470/head, while their bull counterparts sold for up to €500/head. Angus and Hereford bull calves made €170-380/head; heifers traded for €160-330/head.

Moran also noted the trade for weanling bulls was “very strong” and a 95% clearance rate was achieved on the day. However, heifers proved to be a slightly easier trade.

Moving to cows, in-calf suckler cows sold for up to €1,770/head, while cows with calves at foot made up to €2,250/head.

Sample heifer weanling prices:
  • Limousin: 160kg – €530 or €3.31/kg;
  • Limousin: 427kg – €1,240 or €2.90/kg;
  • Charolais: 380kg – €1,080 or €2.84/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 297kg – €500 or €1.68/kg.

Raphoe Mart

Last Tuesday’s (February 27 ) weanling sale in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, featured a “good” entry of animals, according to the mart’s Anne Harkin.

She added that the trade was brisk for quality cattle, while plainer types proved more difficult to sell. Bulls sold for €2.10-2.80/kg, while heifers traded for €2.20-2.80/kg.

Ballinrobe Mart

Ballinrobe Mart’s weekly cattle sale took place on Wednesday last (February 28). The number of cattle presented for sale was back due to the very severe weather conditions. However, the trade was reported as “vibrant”.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 315kg – €875 or €2.78/kg;
  • Limousin: 545kg – €1,265 or €3.23/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 435kg – €1,150 or €2.64/kg.

In the weanling ring, a top price of €935 or €3.40/kg was achieved by a Charolais bull weighing 275kg. Two Charolais heifers made the top price of €825/head or €3.24/kg. They weighed 255kg on average.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 490kg – €1,210 or €2.47/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 555kg – €1,275 or €2.30/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 430kg – €1,125 or €2.62/kg.

In the cow ring, a Charolais cow weighing 705kg sold to a top price of €1,430, while a Limousin cow with a heifer calf at foot sold for €1,510.

Roscommon Mart

There was a “large entry of excellent quality” weanlings at Roscommon Mart on Tuesday (February 27), according to the mart’s spokesperson.

The trade for weanling heifers was reported as lively and these lots traded for €2.66-3.44/kg. In addition, the weanling bull trade was reported as brisk with these animals selling from €2.54/kg to €3.33/kg.

Sample heifer weanling prices:
  • Limousin: 385kg – €1,130 or €2.93/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 410kg – €900 or €2.19/kg;
  • Charolais: 365kg – €985 or €2.69/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 460kg – €1,020 or €2.21/kg.

“There was an excellent demand from the large number of buyers present, resulting in a very high clearance rate,” the spokesperson explained.

Sample bull weanling prices:
  • Limousin: 445kg – €1,275 or €2.86/kg;
  • Simmental: 490kg – €1,345 or €2.74/kg;
  • Charolais: 345kg – €955 or €2.76/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 445kg – €905 or €2.03/kg.