Marts are “proving to be the best option for many farmers” as cattle remain scarce, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has claimed.

ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham has encouraged farmers to use the mart system to pursue the best cattle prices while supplies remain tight.

Commenting, he said:

“It’s important to know what your animals are worth no matter where you sell them – but looking at the trade over the last few weeks it appears that mart prices are beyond those quoted at factory level.

“It is also worth noting that out-of-spec cattle are achieving just as much as in-spec cattle in the marts.”

The ICSA chair said that, “while factory agents are doing their best to keep cattle out of the marts”, there is “no harm in letting them compete” for stock in the open market.

“With cattle as scarce as they are, the opportunity is there for farmers to chase a decent price through whatever means possible.

“Upwards of €2.50/kg live weight has been achieved regardless of spec – with northern buyers helping to keep the trade buoyant also.

“The marts should remain a good option for the coming weeks at least, and particularly so if you happen to be facing quality assurance penalties in the factories,” Graham concluded.

Meanwhile, this week’s factory quotes for beef cattle appear to be more variable in nature with mixed messaging coming from different factories countrywide.

The variability is most apparent in the cull cow category. Many factories are quoting the same as last week for cows, and would likely give more where numbers of suitable cows are on offer.