Buzz returns to mart trade as numbers start to fall

This April-born Charolais cross bullock weiging 415Kg sold for €890 at Tullow
This April-born Charolais cross bullock weiging 415Kg sold for €890 at Tullow
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

There was a definite buzz about the mart trade last week. Examples of stronger prices included two 507kg Charolais bullocks averaging €2.80/kg, and a 570kg Charolais at €2.73/kg at Roscommon, where buyers kept pushing the boundaries on price.

In Kilkenny a 505kg Limousin made €2.50/kg, while ten 510 kg Friesians found a new home at €1.86/kg as those seeking stock also moved with increased enthusiasm.

Maurice Brosnan, manager of Gortatlea Mart, also noted a surge in price - he put a batch of fourteen 515kg Aberdeen Angus bullocks under the hammer at €920/hd. "Prices for the right animal are up 10-20c/kg from three weeks ago," he told me.

The lighter weanling bull was also up that 10-20c/kg at the Kerry venue, with the better under-300kg type selling from €2.30-2.40/kg.

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What has restored confidence to a trade that for much of the autumn has been in the doldrums?

Brexit being kicked down the road didn't do any harm, but the real driver among the bullocks was the return of factory feedlot buyers to the front line.

While it is reported that the ABP group were a little slow to move, their buyers were out and about, as were a lot of other major players.

On the weanling side prices were helped by the news that a boat with 2,600 400-500kg bulls (mainly Friesian) is scheduled to leave for Libya this week. Trade for the better weanling bull also improved with the sailing of a boat for Turkey.

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Also playing on the minds of those looking to buy is a belief that numbers of stores may slacken following an October of strong sales across the country.

All that said, how far would factory prices have to improve to cover the mart and finishing costs of those Charolais and Limousins that are selling so well?

Leaving the idea that some may be buying gold a little dear, the Ringside returns for last week definitely reflect an increase in confidence, with those 500-599kg forward store bullocks the main beneficiaries.

Prices overall in this section rose 10c/kg or €50-60/hd to €2/kg, with the better animal averaging €60-72/hd stronger at €2.20/kg.

The better Angus bullock averaged €1.85/kg last week on our table.

The Ringside overall average price for the better-made was €1.54/kg.

The lighter 400-499kg bullock, destined in all probability for grass next spring, averaged 4c/kg better last week at €1.78/kg, with the better continental in this division making €2.30/kg.


Despite constant reports that heavy out-of-spec stock continue to find the going tough the average price of the 600kg+ bullock rose 6c/kg to €1.75/kg, with the better animal up 5c/kg to €2.05/kg.

The heifer trade by comparison stumbled backwards, with overall averages losses of 4-10c/kg.

The heaviest hit came among those better 600kg+ heifers as they dropped 19c/kg to sit broadly in line with the price of the better 600kg+ bullock at €2.04/kg.

Weanling bulls averaged 1-5c/kg better overall across all weight divisions as additional buyers edged prices cautiously upwards.

The weanling heifer trade by contrast pushed forward like the South African scrum, gaining serious yards as improved demand drove on prices over the last week.

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