There was a large showing of just under 1,000 cattle at the sale of calves, runners and weanlings at Gortatlea Mart in Co. Kerry on Wednesday (July 13).

Speaking to Agriland after the sale, mart manager Maurice Brosnan gave a run down on what was on offer.

“We had 350 calves and runners, 220 bulls and bullocks and 400 heifers on offer at the sale, and the prices for some of the stock was exceptional,” he said.

Brosnan said that the first 10 animals into the ring at the sale “all made top prices”, securing from €4/kg up to a top price of €8.71/kg for a “smashing Limousin-cross heifer”.

“A lot of the quality heifers were bought by suckler farmers for breeding and some exporters were on hand for certain types of muscly weanling heifers and bulls also,” he said.

A range of cattle featured in the sale, from muscly E and U-grade weanlings to plainer-type dairy-bred Angus and Hereford runner-type cattle.

Brosnan said that dairy-bred animals were making anything from €2.30-2.70/kg for the better types, while plainer lots were down to €2.10/kg.

Export buyers were active at the sale for plain bulls weighing between 200-400kg, he said, adding that this was “a great help to the trade”.

Bulls were a good trade too it seems, with a 420kg Charolais bull calf making €1,470 or €3.50/kg, and three Limousin bull calves, together with an average weight of 325kg, making €1,070 or €3.30/kg.


The Gortatlea Mart manager believes that the autumn-born weanlings are coming out for sale “one month earlier this year”.

“Farmers getting over €3.00/kg for any sort of a nice continental weanling. It is a fine price coming off a cow,” he said.

“All stock are making a fine price with the exceptional weanling making €4/kg and above.”

Farmers selling cattle have very few complaints he said.

Friday’s sale

The mart’s sale of heavier cattle on Friday (July 15) witnessed good continental cattle making “well over €3/kg”. Brosnan also gave a brief rundown of the day.

“Numbers [are] still maintaining very high,” he said.

“We had 850 cattle at the sale last Friday but we would usually have over 1,000 cattle in the sale.”

He noted that feedlot buyers are only “going at half cylinder”, but added that customers from Northern Ireland are becoming very active for forward stores, beef heifers and heavy cull cows.

“There’s also an exceptional trade for heavy stockbulls which are making from €2-2.30/kg,” he said.

Dairy business

Gortatlea Mart hosts a dairy sale every Friday along with the general sale.

“It’s easy to know milk prices are good, with any cows in-milk making from €1,500 up to €2,200,” Brosnan added.

“Cows are nearly making as much as prime beef – within maybe 10c/kg of it,” he said.

“I see cows making up to €3/kg here. We had a Limousin cow weighing 840kg that made €2,530 or €3.01/kg. The very best she would make as a prime bullock is another 10-20c/kg.”