Farm Ireland

Thursday 23 November 2017

Mart trade: Bullocks and cull cows achieve the top prices in a bright start to 2017

Farmers gather for cattle sales at Milford Mart in Co Donegal
Farmers gather for cattle sales at Milford Mart in Co Donegal
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

A bit like the GAA inter-county matches over the weekend where managers got to trial many of their panel and fringe players and make notes on their progress, the resumption of the cattle marts also saw much note-taking.

While the numbers of those actually intent on buying were limited, there were plenty of potential buyers who turned out to observe proceedings.

Those who were there to buy generated enough interest to push prices upwards by .20-40/hd for both heifers and cull cows, while the limited supply of bullocks on offer saw their prices at some marts also hardening by up to .20-30/hd.

That said, this time of year always generates more questions than answers.

Some of the big questions right now include; when..marts numbers of bullocks begin to swell at marts in the spring will those extra numbers be largely of a dairy variety?

Will we see progress on the movements issue? Will the dairymen succeed in watering down the genetics of both Hereford and Aberdeen Angus breeds to the point where none will get a bonus at slaughter?

And with the announcement that Egypt is once again to take processed beef from Ireland, are we seeing a return to a 1980s-typemarket when Middle Eastern and North African countries were touted as the potential saviour of the Irish beef business?

The answers to these and other questions will be what will largely define the mart trade in 2017.

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Looking at the specifics of some of last week’s trade it was noticeable that the much maligned Friesian bullock cracked on well last week with Carnew reporting that they averaged from €250-650 over the €1/kg.

Down the road at New Ross lighter Friesians madefrom €175-370 over the weight, while heavier Friesians sold from €430-630 with the €1/kg.

Among the weanlings there wasn’t that much movement with prices very close to where they hadbeen pre-Christmas.

Weanling bulls in Dowra under 300kgs returned the highest prices at €3.10/kg, with Balla coming in second at €2.78/kg and the remainder of the marts coming in at from €1.70-2.60/kg. Heifers, along with cows comprised the majority of stock sold last week, with prices in Kilkenny being typical at €2.00-2.50/kg for forward and beef heifers, while lighter store heifers were a shade stronger at €1.80-2.60/kg with.

These prices were much the same as the the heifer averages from Balla which ranged from €1.80-2.63/kg. The cull cow probably had the best of it overall last week with prices rising up to €40/hd on the back of stronger demand from the factories.

Prices increased another 5c/kg to see O grades stand on €3.15-3.05/kg. This translated into a very serious trade for top of the range continental culls at places such as Roscrea where the locals took on north of Ireland buyers at prices from €2.00-2.05/kg.

Online Editors

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