Farm Ireland

Sunday 21 January 2018

Northern raiders set trade on fire

Martin Ryan

THE likes of it hasn't been seen since Queen Maeve sent her army east to capture the brown bull of Cooley.

A small army of buyers from Donegal Meat Processors (DMP) has descended on marts throughout the southwest in recent weeks, "setting the trade on fire", said local observers.

The Northern raiders were particularly active in Castleisland, Listowel and Kilmallock.

"They were buying up everything at premium prices and the locals did not get a look in as they cleaned up, which was a real boost for the trade," said one farmer.

Kevin Leahy of Golden Vale Mart, Kilmallock, confirmed that buyers for DMP were "active" at the sale, but refused to comment on reports that they had purchased a high percentage of the animals sold.

"We did have a very good trade for cows, heifers and bullocks and it was helped by the competition. Some of the dry cows sold for more than €300 over [€1/kg]. And any cows with weight made €200-300 over. There were good prices paid for any good stock on offer.

"It is obvious that there is a good trade for beef because some of the cattle would not have made the same money in local factories," he added.

A Castleisland Mart spokesman said DMP buyers were among the attendance at sales in recent weeks and "were very anxious" for cattle and cows.

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"We had Friesian dry cows that were making up to €200 over and continentals were selling for up to €250 over. There was a Limousin weighing 745kg which sold for €995 and a Friesian that weighed 762kg fetched €940. The Friesian cows at 700kg were selling at €800- 900/hd," he said

The DMP buyers also gave a similar boost to trade at Listowel Mart.

The DMP appetite for stock can be explained by the changes in the value of sterling in recent weeks which have boosted returns by 10pc for exporters selling into the UK market.

DMP, Liffey Meats and Dunbia are strong competitors for good cows, and have been paying factory averages of up to 294c/kg for R grade cows in recent weeks, while O/P grades are averaging up 283c/kg.

DMP has paid a factory average of 334c/kg for U3 steers, slightly ahead of Slaney Meats and Kepak (Kilbeggan). Kepak (Clonee) has paid a factory average of 348c/kg for U-grade heifers, according to pay sheet returns compiled by the Department of Agriculture.

Irish Independent