Throughput 'steady' at co-op marts in 2016 as more dairy stock comes on stream
During 2016, ICOS marts throughput were steady compared to 2015 and nationally the number of cattle traded in the marts was up by 1.5pc to over 1.79 Million animals, according to the organisations Annual Report.
It says most of this increase has been in the dairying strongholds as more cull cows and calves are been sold in co-operative marts.
ICOS also cites the removal of the requirement for pre movement brucellosis testing in 2015 saw increased trading of all cow types in the marts in 2016.
"2016 will be remembered by all dairy farmers as being a difficult milk price year and many depended on the good prices achieved for their calf sales in the co-operative livestock marts to enhance overall income.
"It was a positive year for all store and calf prices even with the decrease in beef prices that slid from €4.15 to €3.70 over the course of the year," it said in the report.
Co-operative marts in the south and east of the country in particular saw significant increases in dairy bred livestock of all classes, but especially calves coming through the auction process.
The significant decrease in live exports of calves was mainly due to buoyant sales prices being paid by Irish farmers and exporters could not compete.
Meanwhile, sheep numbers grew during 2016 by a modest 1pc but prices increased by 4pc. Sales of factory finished lambs continue to fall in most marts but breeding stock and store lambs increased slightly in many marts.