The Monaghan-based Ballybay Mart returned to action on Saturday (January 9). There was a selection of young calves on offer alongside cull cows, bullocks and heifers.

AgriLand spoke with the mart’s manager, Adrian Grimes, after the sale to get his view on the trade. Speaking on the level of online customers at Saturday’s sale, he stated:

“We had a large online attendance logged onto our online bidding platform ‘Marteye’ on Saturday, with 4,858 people tuning in.

Northern Ireland customers were back active and all breathing a sigh of relief that the Brexit deal was done – with the business of buying cattle in the south of Ireland continuing as normal.

“We had three sales rings in operation, with our numbers dramatically impacted due to waking up to -9º weather conditions. Many farmers put off selling their cattle for a week due to the roads being impassible.”

Commenting on the trade for cattle, Adrian explained:

“In our drop calf ring, a large interest was noted from dairy calf-to-beef farmers that were looking for more forward-type calves.

Six-week-old Friesian bull calves were sold at €170-190/head. Younger Friesian bull calves ranged from €70/head up to €100/head.

“Exporter presence is now back around the ring, but farmers were pushing them all the way and winning out in Saturday’s bidding.

“Simmental heifer calves, aged six-weeks-old, achieved up to €360/head. Again, it was farmers that were pushing these quality-type calves into the money.

“Average-quality Belgian Blue bulls were making €300/head. Meanwhile, younger Hereford bulls and heifers made from €210/head up to €260/head – with stronger calves having similar breeding selling from €260/head up to €325/head. Angus calves for both heifers and bulls made similar money.”

Adrian noted how heavy cows, heifers and bullocks were in short supply at Saturday’s sale. He added:

Any factory-fit continental heifers that were present made from €2.25/kg up to €2.40/kg. Angus and Hereford heifers in this section sold at €2.05-2.15/kg.

“Store-type continental heifers made from €2.00/kg rising to €2.24/kg depending on quality, while Angus and Hereford heifers made from €1.85/kg up to €2.00/kg.

“Continental store bullocks made from €2.08/kg up to €2.26/kg, while Angus and Hereford store bullocks traded at €1.80-2.00/kg.

“In the cull cow ring, Friesian cows sold at €1.36-1.53/kg. Light continental cows were selling at €1.69-1.82/kg, while more forward-type continental cows sold at €1.82-2.00/kg.”