Cattle marts: Quality stock in demand

Joe Healy

There is no let up in the mart trade for almost all classes of cattle. Quality lots, especially out-lying stock, are probably the best sellers at the moment. Suckler calf prices are also staying strong, with exporters active for suitable Friesian types.

Despite quota worries, there is plenty of competition for dairy cows and heifers, especially those that are calved down.

At Ennis Mart, calved heifers sold for €1,250-1,850 and cows made €1,000-1,550 each. Suckler cows with a calf at foot made €1,200-1,620 while cows in-calf sold up to €1,530. Friesian suck calves around 50kg and ideal for the Spanish market made €110-130. Lighter types sold for €75-95 while better British Friesian bull calves made €170-230.

Due to the change of sale day, Kilkenny Mart had a small sale and with supply unable to match demand, trade was reported as excellent. Heavy continental steers of more than 600kg made €1.85-2.01/kg and heavy Friesians sold to €1.69/kg. Continental stores weighing 400-600kg made €1.80-2.00/kg and Friesian lots sold to around €1.50/kg. Lighter steers made as high as €2.40/kg while three Limousins weighing 275kg sold for €660. Beef and butcher heifers made €1.65-1.99/kg and store heifers €1.80-2.15/kg.

Out-lying store bullocks were the best sellers at a lively Ballinakill Mart with prices at €1.68-2.17/kg. Heavier steers made €1.80-2.10/kg, beef heifers €1.70-2.05/kg and stores €1.60-1.85/kg. Weanling bull prices made €1.80-2.15/kg, heifers sold for €1.75-2.10/kg and suckler cows made €1,000-1,370.

Dowra Mart had a big entry of cattle on Saturday and a strong demand for all classes. Heavy store bullocks over 600kg made €700-750 over the weight, while lighter stores sold for €400-650 over. Heavy weanling bulls over 500kg sold for €400-600 with the weight while lighter bulls made €350-550 over. In the heifer ring, the best stores made €400-550 over, while a few breeding lots made up to €700 over. Lighter stores made €300-550 over and weanling heifers €300-500 over.

There were 953 cattle on offer at Balla Mart. Store bullocks made €230-530 with the weight, while plainer lots sold for €230-380 over. The best store heifers made €420-640 over and heavier heifers topped out at €720 over. Bull weanlings made €320-555 with their weight and heifer weanlings €280-450.

Balla is moving the weanling sale to Tuesday evenings from next Tuesday. It will start at 6pm with a special U- and R-grade sale and prizes for the best classes based on price/kg.

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At Wexford Farmers' Mart, demand and prices for all cattle held strong with plenty of customers, especially for the quality stock. Beef steers made €325-680 over, stores sold for €290-605 over, well-fleshed heifers made €260-640 over and stores €250-545 over.

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