Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Strong demand for cull cows pushes up prices

Published 13/09/2011 | 05:00

Demand for dairy cull cows is currently outstripping demand at marts across the country, with large numbers of customers keen to snap up any stock available.

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Mart managers have described the trade for cull cows as very strong as the numbers being sold in the marts starts to increase.

Plentiful grass, combined with high cattle prices, has resulted in a significant increase in the number of farmer buyers for cull cows.

Kilkenny Mart manager Michael Lynch said there were not enough cows for sale last week to cater for the number of buyers.

"Both factory agents and farmers are buying them for further feeding," said Mr Lynch. "There is a strong trade for Friesian culls, driven by strong demand."

Some 75pc of the customers at Kilkenny were farmer buyers, compared to 25pc factory agents.

"There are far more farmers buying cows for feeding than in previous years," he added.

"The cows are quite well-fleshed this year -- farmers have realised there is something to be made from them."

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Cull cows at Kilkenny Mart sold for anything from €1/kg up to €300 over the weight.

Prices paid for dairy cull cows at both Bandon and Skibbereen marts ranged from €50 under the weight for cows fresh out of the parlour, up to €200 over the weight for cows with more flesh on them.

"Cows that have been dried off for a few weeks are making up to €350 with the weight," said Tom McCarthy, from Bandon Mart.

Mr McCarthy said he expected cull cow numbers on offer to increase in the coming weeks as the quota situation escalates.

"The price for cull cows at the marts is good," he said. "Farmers realise that sending an unfinished cull cow to the factory is a pure waste of time so they are going through the mart instead."

He pointed out that farmers were buying cows to fatten this year because there was plenty of grass to finish them and cattle were so dear.

Helen Kells, of Carrigallen Mart, reported huge demand for cull cows, with factory buyers keen to buy any cows that were ready for the factory.

Prices for Friesian cull cows ranged from €970-1,150/hd at the most recent sale. While numbers on offer were very low, that is expected to increase in the next month.

The number for sale will peak at the mart's special sale in October, where some 350-400 cows will be sold.

Around 90pc of the cull cow buyers at Kilmallock Mart last week were farmers, according to Denis Kirby.

Lighter Friesian culls sold for €850-900/hd or about €1.40/kg, while the heavier animals sold for up to €1,175/hd.

"We've sold about 1,000 more cull cows at the mart this year compared to last year," said Mr Kirby.

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