Oversupply of bulls remains a threat but signs trade is picking up

Oversupply of bulls remains a threat to prices but €3,050 paid for 16-month-old at opening Limousin Show and Sale of the year offers cause for optimism, writes Martin Ryan

William Hogan of Gortnahoe, Thurles with the Reserve Champion, Oldtown Mossy, at the Limousin Cattle Society Show and Sale at Gort Mart
William Hogan of Gortnahoe, Thurles with the Reserve Champion, Oldtown Mossy, at the Limousin Cattle Society Show and Sale at Gort Mart

Martin Ryan

After a very slow start to the 2019 season for pedigree sales, the trade is gradually building up and breeders are becoming more positive about regaining some of the momentum of previous seasons.

All continental breeds are experiencing the pressure from the over-supply of bulls within herds, which remains one of the biggest threats to sales delivering prices on par with previous years.

The breed societies are all aware that large entries for the shows and sales can have a diluting effect on sale average prices.

In the current demand for bulls, sale entries of 100 head and more will challenge the delivery of a good clearance, but the breed societies remain under a lot of pressure from their breeders to get bulls accepted into the sales.

Quality bulls will always find demand, but the second run and plainer lots struggle to meet the expectations of their vendors when customer demand fails to match the turnout.

It will be a critical tightrope walk for societies to achieve balance in the entries for the shows and sales over the coming weeks.

William Scanlon, of Furmoyle, Carrowniskey, Westport, Co Mayo and Rebecca Gavin with Brackhoney Milan, which sold for the top price of €3,050 at Gort Mart
William Scanlon, of Furmoyle, Carrowniskey, Westport, Co Mayo and Rebecca Gavin with Brackhoney Milan, which sold for the top price of €3,050 at Gort Mart

Bulls for cross-breeding in the dairy herds is a growing market for the beef breed bulls.

All the indications for 2019 are that the calving season is later by up to 15pc for the opening months of the year. In the aftermath of the late spring and fodder shortage last year dairy farmers have pushed back the 2019 calving date and are likely to come to the market for bulls up to a month later than last year.

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Paul Sykes, secretary of the Irish Limousin Cattle Society, agrees, saying: "The trade is picking up but I think closer to the end of the season could be the best for sales this year, because the breeders are holding back on buying because they are not ready yet."

Last year the society added the Livestock Mart at Gort, Co Galway to the venues for the spring sales for the first time.

Close to the M18, the venue offers excellent facilities and is accessible for breeders from a wide area of the country.

For the opening Limousin Show and Sale of 2019 at the weekend, it was a case of less being more when the small entry attracted a full ringside and returned a clearance of close to 70pc at an average of €2,468, which was regarded as very satisfactory - within €574 of the average for last year at the venue.

Two-thirds of the bulls sold realised €2,500 or better, among them two bulls hitting €3,000.

Taking home the top price of €3,050 was William Scanlon, of Furmoyle, Carrowniskey, Westport, Co Mayo for his 16-month-old Brackhoney Milan with a Euro Value of €138, five-star Terminal and four-star Replacement Index and calving difficulty at 5pc.

The second prize winner in his class, he was bred from the dam Fermoyle Hope 2 and the sire Castleview Gringo of the renowned genes of Castleisland vet Sean O'Sullivan's Limousin herd. Gingo has Wilodge and Castleview genes in his pedigree.

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