This year's mart trade has so far has been very encouraging, with buoyant prices available for all classes of livestock.
As usual, demand for E and U grade stock -- be that calves, weanlings or cows -- has been particularly strong, with some very fancy prices being paid.
This year has seen a renewed optimism in the beef sector with most marts seeing more buyers at ringside looking to invest in all classes of store cattle and hoping to make a reasonable return from the cattle bought.
Marts saw an increase of almost 10pc in throughput during the first three months of this year but this trend waned in the period from April to June. Farmers appear to have sold their livestock earlier this year due to, perhaps, a lack of winter fodder.
With marts returning better prices week-on-week during the January to March period, farmers were happy to cash in and move cattle on.
A welcome and positive development during the year has been the number of farmers returning to the ringside to buy and sell their cattle.
Indeed, many farmers who had sold their cattle off the land in previous years were glad to have the co-operative mart structure in place this year.
I have heard reports of farmers getting in excess of 50pc more for the same type of calf when they sold their comrades through the mart ring compared to selling to directly from their farm. If ever a year demonstrated the true value of the transparent auction mart system operated by the co-operative marts it was this year.
With credit ever more difficult to get and the old saying of "every penny is a prisoner", farmers need to be vigilant when selling livestock.
Over the past 50 years the co-operative livestock marts have an unrivalled record of honouring payments for livestock and continue to provide a transparent, fair and safe method of selling both cattle and sheep.
Co-operative marts are owned by Irish farmers, for Irish farmers, so support yourself and your fellow farmers by using the co-operative livestock mart network to buy and sell your animals.