The news around the mart rings continues to be positive, with prices moving from strength to strength in cases for some classes of cattle.

Speaking to Antoinette Daly, manger of Tullamore Mart, after Thursday’s sale (March 25), she was quick to highlight a further strengthening of the store heifer trade. She said:

“Overall, we had 500 cattle here on Thursday, with a nice selection of both heavy cattle over 600kg and stores.

In terms of the trade, I have to say the store heifer in the 400-550kg bracket was averaging around €20-30/head more than prices paid in previous weeks.

“The tops of the continental stores sold up to €2.60/kg. There was one outlying price of €3.00/kg for a 550kg Limousin heifer.

“It’s great to see the farmers that are selling these type of store cattle finally getting these good returns – but obviously it is getting more difficult for the customers.”

Heavy cattle

“The heavy bullocks over 600kg were snapped up fairly quickly and were hotly contested by northern customers and feedlots,” she added.

“We even had a few farmers buying these heavy bullocks to put out to grass and then plan to kill them towards the end of the summer. The heavy bullocks sold over €2.40/kg on a few occasions.

The dry cows were also seeing improvements this week; the tops of these cows were making €900-1000 with their weight. One sample price for an 11 year-old cow weighing 880kg sold for €1,790 or €2.03/kg.

“Out of the 95 dry cows we had, about 70% of them were store cows coming in from the dairy herd. In general the store cows were selling at €1.40-1.65/kg, with the real heavy cows fit to make over €2.00/kg.”

Commenting on last Monday evening’s weanling sale, she added:

“At Monday night’s weanling sale there was nearly a 100% clearance, with a lively trade seen also particularly for the heifers. We were seeing about five or six bidders on nearly each heifer coming into the ring. They were a better trade than the bull weanlings.”