I had a positive experience when I visited Kilkenny mart for its reopening last Thursday, but I’ve had mixed reports from other locations, with tales of some Department of Agriculture officials being overzealous in the application of their authority.
Mart staff continue to make every effort to facilitate the matching of those with cattle to sell and those wishing to buy. Apart from trying to get deals closed, managers are also fielding a constant stream of phone calls.
The decision by the Department of Agriculture to allow marts to reopen under very stringent operating procedures is a welcome one, but it has generated some stress for those tasked with trying to make the system work.
At 650, numbers in Kilkenny Mart last Thursday were less than previous weeks. Trade, however, was in general not hurt by the smaller entry with the large selection of heavy bullocks between 600-700kg making from €1.60-2.35/kg, while the 500kg+ forward bullock sold from €1.50-2.55/kg.
Part of the reason mart prices have started so strongly this year is that those buying fear the traditional spring mart price bounce - and as suckler numbers continue to fall, perhaps they are also afraid that if they wait too long those better animals just won't be there.
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