Buzz at Bandon ringside sparks price boost hope

Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

While most marts hadn't yet restarted for the year, some good prices for calves at Bandon Mart yesterday may signal a good start for the year ahead.

Friesian bulls made from €70-150, continental bulls sold for €200-300, Angus and Whitehead bulls made from €60-200, while Continental heifers sold for €200-250 over.

Mart manager Tom McCarthy said there was plenty of farmer activity around the ringside at the sale.

However, he predicts exporters will again remain strong this year.

"The exporters are all gearing up to get back, and demand on the continent seems to be as strong as ever. There could even be an improvement this year," Mr McCarthy said.

"Hopefully, there will be a good strong trade for cattle this year but a lot of people are waiting to see how the new grading system will pan out."

Castleisland mart manager Richard Hartnett said the export trade was one of the few saving graces of last year and he hopes this will remain the case for the coming year.

Already, he said, there were strong indications that this would indeed be the case.

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"We should be very grateful for the live export trade and all the indications are that this will be equally as good for the coming year.

"We've already received some serious inquiries for calves going to Spain and Holland and hopefully this will continue," Mr Hartnett said.

Overall, he predicts that the cattle trade in general will continue to strengthen, but he says that farmers need to see a price increase of at least €100/hd for cattle between 300-600kg.

"Last year has left a very sour taste in people's mouths and there's no confidence out there.

"We saw a lot of killing off of in-calf cows but this could not be helped in the circumstances. Even though it was short-sighted, people had very little choice.

Mr Hartnett said that until the banks saw "wisdom" there would be a crisis in the sector.

"Farmers need money to buy stock and I hope the banks show some wisdom ... recognise that this is one of our most important industries.

Meanwhile, Elphin mart is holding a special sale of in- calf spring heifers next Monday at 8pm.

Irish Independent

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