Quality gap widens
The widening gap between quality and plainer lots was evident at the marts this week where the effects of the factory quality payment system have continued to impact.
There was a big entry of 775 cattle and 80 calves at Saturday's cattle mart in Carnew. A strong trade was reported for all classes with more farmer customers around the ring. Live exporters were also very active for weanling bulls and heifers.
Beef and forward store bullocks made €265-510 over, store bullocks made €215-435 over, beef heifers made €245-410 over and store heifers made €145-365 over. Weanling bulls were making €270-770 over, continental bulls sold for €190-365 over, continental heifers made €135-265 over and Friesian bulls made €60-145 over.
There were big prices on offer for quality cattle at Headford mart on Saturday where bullocks were making €200-520 over and heifers sold for €150-430 over. Suckler cows made €700-1,150/hd and cull cows made €200-860/hd. Weanling bulls sold for €200-630 over and weanling heifers made €130-430 over.
Dowra mart had 780 cattle on offer on Saturday where trade was slightly easier all-round than the previous week. Strong demand from Northern Ireland helped prices for forward store bullocks and heifers, which were making €250-450 over while the plainer lots made €100-250 over. Lighter stores and weanlings made from €200-400 over with the best quality lots making up to €500 over. Plainer bulls and heifers made €100-200 over. Dry cows met with a very strong trade, making from €1/kilo up to €300 over for the better quality lots.
Although not quite as big a sale as last week, prices held firm at Maam Cross mart, especially for weanlings. Bullocks made €178/100kg on average and up to €204, heifers made €177/100kg and up to €200/100kg. Dry cows averaged €510-695 and suckler cows made €626-875.
There was a lively trade for the quality lots at Kilkenny mart on Thursday where an increased number of Northern buyers were active.
Heavy bullocks over 600kg made €230-485 over, bullocks between 500kg and 600kg made €135-445 over, bullocks from 400-500kg made €45-390 over, bullocks under 400kg sold for €50-360 over. Beef heifers made €265-430 over, butcher heifers €180-330 over and store heifers €100-325 over. Continental cull cows made €20-350 over and Friesian culls cows from €200 under to €120 over.