As the end of the year approaches, the numbers witnessed at cattle marts across the country are on the decline. In addition, many marts have already had their final sale of 2017.

However, where factory-fit cull cows and good-quality store cattle have been presented for sale, demand has remained strong. This is evident in the prices achieved by these lots.

As cattle are finished, farmers have been eager to replace finished animals with good-quality forward cattle. Stores falling into this category have achieved the best prices over recent days.

Marts in heavily-populated dairy regions continue to witness vast amounts of dairy-origin cull cows coming on stream. However, mart managers have reported a steady demand for these Friesian animals.

In the weanling rings, quality remains the main driver of price, with high prices achieved by premium lots.

Kilrush Mart

There was a good turnout at the Kilrush Mart, on Wednesday, December 13, with over 50 cull cows going under the hammer.

Sample steer prices:
  • Hereford: 452kg – €900 or €1.99/kg;
  • Charolais: 460kg – €1,500 or €3.26/kg;
  • Limousin: 460kg – €1,020 or €2.22/kg.
  • Aberdeen Angus: 335kg – €650 or €1.94/kg.

Martin McNamara, the mart’s manager, noted that the trade was very strong in all of the rings on the day.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 285kg – €810 or €2.84/kg;
  • Hereford: 411kg – €800 or €1.95/kg;
  • Charolais: 470kg – €1,100 or €2.34/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 443kg – €920 or €2.07/kg.

In addition, Friesian cull cows traded for €1.26-1.69/kg.

Sample cull cow prices:
  • Friesian: 735kg – €1,245 or €1.69/kg;
  • Simmental: 630kg – €930 or €1.48/kg;
  • Limousin: 520kg – €885 or €1.70/kg;
  • Friesian: 590kg – €745 or €1.26/kg.

Ennis Mart

Numbers were reported to be stronger that expected at Ennis Mart on Thursday last (December 14); over 600 animals went under the hammer. A very strong trade was reported by the mart’s Danny Moran.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 775kg – €1,890 or €2.44/kg;
  • Limousin: 500kg – €1,240 or €2.49/kg;
  • Charolais: 477kg – €1,200 or €2.51/kg;
  • Hereford: 820kg – €1,780 or €2.17/kg.

“There was great demand for all types of forward stock and quality stores were much sought after in the bullock and heifer rings,” he said

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 465kg – €1,200 or €2.58/kg;
  • Charolais: 560kg – €1,410 or €2.52/kg;
  • Charolais: 522kg – €1,250 or €2.39/kg;
  • Hereford: 472kg – €910 or €1.92/kg.

He added: “There were a large entry of over 200 cull cows with some top class stock. Some of these lots exceeded €2/kg.”

Sample cull cow prices:
  • Limousin: 800kg – €1,710 or €2.14/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 795kg – €1,420 or €1.79/kg;
  • Charolais: 905kg – €1,960 or €2.16/kg;
  • Friesian: 595kg – €860 or €1.45/kg.

Castlerea Mart

Some 600 cattle were presented for sale at Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon, on Thursday (December 14) at the last sale of 2017. The trade was reported as being strong for quality store lots.

Heifers, in particular, proved to be very popular with prices exceeding €3/kg in some cases. Good clearances were achieved in both the heifer and bullock rings.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 260kg – €895 or €3.44/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 375kg – €995 or €2.65/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 268kg – €820 or €3.05/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 455kg – €1,045 or €2.29/kg.

According to the mart’s Brendan Egan, cows with calves at foot made €1,000-1,800/head and in-calf cows made up to €1,380/head.

Dry cows sold well, he added, and a top price of €1,640 was achieved for a Limousin cow weighing 595kg.

Raphoe Mart

Last Thursday’s sale in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal – the last sale of the year – featured a “good” entry of cattle, according to the mart’s Anne Harkin.

There was an improved trade for all types of cattle and bidding was brisk on the day.

Top-class bulls (weighing over 600kg) sold at €675-1,015 over, the mart manager stated. Beef bullocks made €720-975 over and lighter store steers sold for €2.10-2.70/kg.

Beef heifers made €520-825 over and store heifers traded at €350-765 over or €2.20-2.80/kg. Fat, well-fleshed cows sold at €740-1,615/head.

Carnew Mart

Some 640 cattle went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday (December 16) at the venue’s final cattle sale of the year.

David Quinn, the mart manager, said that all cattle met a strong trade, but demand was best for beef and quality store cattle.

On the day, store bullocks made €660-980 over, while Friesian steers sold for €140-560 along with their weight. Heifers were reported to trade well; stores made €320-740 over.

Beef cows fetched €420-840 over, while store cows made €40-380 over. Quinn said: “A number of calves were also on offer and these lots traded between €70 and €380/head.”

In addition, cows with calves at foot traded for €1,030-1,400/head, while in-calf suckler cows made €1,000-1,500/head.

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €200-400/head;
  • Continental heifers: €130-380/head;
  • Friesian bulls: €70-205/head.