Farm Ireland

Tuesday 25 July 2017

A massive drop in mart entries due to cold snap

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Freezing conditions have played havoc with the transport of animals to and from the country's marts and meat plants over the past week.

However, feed supplies appear to be holding steady on farms, with additional fodder supplies available nationwide.

Up to 75pc of the 33,000 animals that would normally have been put through the ring in the past week have remained unsold due to the treacherous conditions of the country's roads, according to ICOS.

Mart managers believe that many will now miss their sale window due to stock moving out of test for disease purposes.

Beef plants were also affected with the national kill back by 7,000hd -- nearly 20pc -- on the previous week. However, almost all the meat plants operated normally with only Kepak Hacketstown forced to shut temporarily.

Many marts simply cancelled their sales, with events throughout Donegal, Wexford, Kildare and Carlow particularly badly hit. Those that stayed open saw numbers back by up to 90pc, even in areas not particularly affected by the snow.

Bandon Mart reported a turnout of 10pc of their norm last week. Roscrea, Ennis, Castleisland, Ardee and Tullow were are all back by at least 50pc on numbers.

Kilmallock appeared to get off lightest as no cancellations and a good turnout was reported for its bullock and heifer sale last Monday week.

Conditions in south Leinster have been described as even more serious than last January by some mart managers.

"This has been much worse than last January," said Tullow Mart manager John Murphy. "We had up to 16in of snow and the only good thing about it was the fact that it didn't start to drift."

Fodder supplies have remained plentiful around the country, despite a surge in movement of bales. The cold snap didn't stop loads of straw, hay, silage and maize moving over the past week, although some hauliers have found it difficult to access some farmyards because of icy conditions.

However, good growing conditions throughout the summer have ensured that there is no shortage of forage supplies.

The big freeze has had no impact on hay, silage or maize prices and 4X4 bales of hay are still available for €18-22 each ex-yard. Maize is on offer at €50/t delivered, silage is making €25/bale in the midlands and barley and wheaten straw is being delivered at €38/bale for 8X4X3-sized varieties.

Irish Independent