Beef marts: Northern light for local sales

Joe Healy

The mart trade continues to be extremely strong and buoyant thanks in no small way to big numbers of buyers from Northern Ireland competing with active local and midland farmers at ringside.

The good-quality store cattle, especially Continental steers and heifers with breeding potential, are proving to be the most in demand, but factory men anxious for any fleshy cattle are ensuring that the finished animal is making at least as much in the ring as they would if they went straight to slaughter. Competition between exporters and farmers is keeping a solid floor under the weanling trade.

Ballinakill Mart had a flyer of a sale with prices up by €50-80/hd due to large numbers of buyers from the North. The heavy bullocks (550kg+) made €390-540 over. Steers of 380-540kg sold for €470-550 over, while lighter stores made €300-440 over and fat heifers made €310-415 over. Stores sold from €285-375 over. Prices for weanling bulls made €300-400 over the weight, while the best of the heifers made up to €320 over. Plainer heifer weanlings sold back to €260 over. Cull cows made from €210 over. Suckler cow prices ran from €950 up to €1,510/hd.

Prices for store bullocks at Balla Mart were up €10-30/hd. Heifers were similar to the previous week, apart from an improved trade for good breeding heifer prices.

Quality store bullocks made €260-570 over, while plainer lots made upwards of €200 over. In the heifer ring, the best of the stores made €200-550 over. Good-quality cull cows made €100-420 over. Suckler cows with calves at foot made €1,100-1,440 for the best lots, while older cows with calves made from €830 upwards.

Kilkenny reported a bigger sale last week. Heavy continental steers over 600kg made €310-590 over. The forward store bullock from 500-600kg made €220-530 over, while the lighter types sold for €120-425 over. Continentals made €1.77-2.08/kg, while Friesians sold for €1.30-1.40/kg. Beef heifers made €1.40-1.60/kg, or €280-400 over. Butcher types sold for €1.35-1.72/kg.

Friesian cull cows with a bit of flesh made up to €1.20/kg, while the plainer ones sold back to 75c/kg. Charolais and Limousin culls made €1.05-1.40/kg. Suckler cows sold in a range of €750-1,050/hd.

Top-class bulls over 600kg made €300-630 over in Raphoe Mart. Beef bullocks sold for €285-560 over, while stores made €200-505 over. Heavy, fleshy heifers made €250-490.

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Prices held for the larger entry of 825 cattle on offer at Wexford Farmers Mart.

The better forward stores were the best sellers, where bullocks sold for €215-475 over and heifers for €185-395 over. Bull weanlings made €585-910, while weanling heifers made €235-400 over, or €455-795/hd.

At their calf sale, the strong Continental types attracted the best demand, and the bulls made up to €395 and the heifers €365.

Hereford and Angus bull and heifer calves made €115-260/hd and €100-220/hd respectively. Friesian bulls sold for €95-195/hd.

Irish Independent

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