January has probably been one of the strongest months ever for the cattle mart trade, with pre-Christmas prices improving further in the past few weeks. The best cull cows hit a high of €2,320 this week, while finished steers and heifers generally made €2.20-2.50/kg and stores sold for €2-2.70/kg.
Good weanling bulls sold for more than €3/kg, with the majority making €2.40-2.80/kg. Suckler cows, either in-calf or with a calf at foot, sold for €1,000-1,700. Suckler calves remain quite scarce as cows, in the main, haven't started calving yet and even on farms where calves were born, they were being held to drink excess milk on over-quota farms.
However, the small number of dairy cows offered for sale have met with excellent demand. Top prices of €2,000 were paid in Ennis this week, while calved Friesian heifers and young cows sold for €1,400-1,880 at Kilkenny Mart. In-calf dairy heifers made €1,050-1,500 and maiden heifers traded for €700-960 each.
There were 166 calves at Castleisland Mart, where Continental bulls sold for €430-550 each. Hereford and Angus bulls made €350-470 and heifers sold for €230-310/hd. Light Holstein-type Friesians made €185-200, while stronger three-week-old Friesians sold for €220-310.
At Ennis Mart, Continental bull calves sold for €400-600, with the heifers making €300-500. Nice Friesian bull calves made €200-290, but plainer Friesians sold for €150. Prices at the Ennis weanling sale increased by €40-50/hd to €400-1,005 over the weight for bulls. Heifer prices improved by €20-30/hd for heifers to €300-775 over.
Ballinakill Mart had 350 cattle on offer, with prices up by €10-20/hd for heavy cattle. Bullocks over 600kg sold for €2.10-2.45/kg, while forward stores made €2.15-2.55/kg and backward stores sold for €2.25-2.76/kg. Weanling bulls achieved €2.20-2.65/kg.
Store heifer prices improved by €10-15/hd at Kilkenny Mart. Demand for cull cows far outstripped supply, resulting in Continental cow prices of €1.70-2.05/kg and Friesian cull prices of €1.45-1.98/kg.
Heavy steers sold for €2.20-2.54/kg, while Friesian steers made up to €1.86/kg. Bullocks from 400-600kg generally made €2-2.59/kg and lighter lots traded for €2.50-3.08/kg. Beef heifers sold for €2-2.48/kg, butcher types made €2.10-2.32/kg and stores sold for €2.20-2.75/kg.
Light steers on offer at Balla Mart sold for €2.32-3.17/kg, while heavy steers made €1.95-2.69/kg. Forward store heifers sold for €2.60-3.03/kg. Weanling bulls made €2.10-3.47/kg, depending on weight and quality.
The best sellers at Ballymote Mart this week were heavy cattle over 500kg, which sold for €500-720 with their weight. Lighter types made €440-680 over the €/kg.
Well-fleshed heifers sold for €450-650 over the weight, while stores hit a high of €620 with the weight.
In Raphoe Mart, the best of the heavy bulls made €655-1,458 over the weight. Stores sold for 675-830 over. Cull cows made €700-2,320/hd.
Carnew Mart had 700 cattle on offer, where beef and forward store bullocks made €650-1,020 over the weight. Stores traded for €410-830 over. Weanling bulls sold for €420-850 with the €/kg. Beef heifers sold for €550-950 with their weight and stores made €450-800 over.
At Tuam Mart, 520-630kg heifers sold for €2.11-2.48/kg. The 400-450kg lots sold for €2.15-2.59/kg.
Heavy steers over 630kg made €2.26-2.40/kg. Weanling bulls over 400kg sold for €2.73-3.67/kg. Bulls of 330-400kg made €3.05-3.51/kg.