Steers and light heifers leading the way as cattle marts enjoy an upturn in fortunes

Joe Healy

It was a better week at the cattle marts with prices improved for most categories compared to previous weeks, especially for steers and lighter heifers.

Bull weanlings were relatively steady but the heavier heifers, especially the better heavy weanling heifers struggled at times. Average prices across the board for the bull weanlings ranged from €2.23-2.31/kg, with the top quarter selling for an average of €2.52-2.95/kg. Some top lots exceeded the €3/kg. The bottom 25pc varied from €1.46-1.92/kg. Heifer weanlings averaged €2.28-2.37/kg, which reflected the top quarter making an average of €2.58-2.81/kg and the bottom quarter selling for €1.95-2.01/kg. All categories and weights of steers were up by 3-24c/kg, with the best of the 500-600kg steers showing an increase of 24c/kg from the previous week.

Bullocks over 400kg averaged €2.11-2.14/kg, with prices of €2.40-2.60/kg paid for most of the better types and €1.40-1.70/kg for the plainer types. Lighter steers sold from €1.32-2.60/kg to give an average of €2.03/kg. All the heifers averaged out in a range from €2.13/kg to €2.18/kg. The top 25pc made from €2.40-2.50 on average, while the bottom quarter balanced out at €1.80-1.90/kg. The heifers were the best of the sellers in Kilkenny where the presence of a number of buyers from Northern Ireland helped generate quite a buzz at ringside. In all there were more than 830 cattle for sale. Bullocks over 500kg were making €1.70-2.70/kg reflecting a price of €580-960 over the weight. Lighter steers varied from €1.40-2.85/kg.

SALES

Factory heifers ranged from €2.00-2.50/kg or €700-1,035 with the weight. Butcher lots sold for €1.90-2.40/kg or €450-730 over. Stores made from €1.80-2.65/kg. The Continental cull cows were selling for €1.50-2.16/kg, with the Friesians making from €1.15-1.75/kg. Pedigree Charolais suckler cows with a calf at foot sold from €1,500-2,950, while the pedigree Limousin sucklers with a calf at foot ranged from €1,150-1,700. Ordinary commercial sucklers with their calves also met with good demand and sold in a price-range of €1,050-1,160/unit.

Kilkenny also had a small but lively sale of weanlings. Bulls over 400kg sold in the main at €2.20-2.55/kg. The 300-400kg types made €2.25 to €3.00/kg, with the lighter lots making €2.20-2.85/kg. The heifer weanlings between 300-400kg were selling from €2.05-2.40/kg or €320-490 with their weight. Lots less than 300kg made from €2.25-2.75/kg.

Dowra Mart had 810 cattle on offer last Saturday. Trade was improved from previous weeks especially for the quality lots. Heifers over 550kg made from €2.00-2.45/kg, while stores over 400kg were making from €1.80-2.80/kg.

Weanling heifers moved at €2.00-3.00/kg. Some of the top lots sold from €3.00-3.30/kg. A very strong trade for in-calf heifers saw the quality lots making from €1,800-2,300, while the lesser lots made from €1,200 -1,600 each.

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Balla Mart had 500 lots of bullocks and 400 lots of heifers. Store bullocks were up by €30-50 on the previous week. In the main, bullocks were making €800-1,100 with their weight.

Lighter heifers under 400kg were making €1.82-2.86/kg with the heavy heifers making €1.45-2.98/kg. There were 172 cows offered for sale. One three-year-old second calf Limousin cow due to calf to a purebred Limousin topped the sucklers at €1,530 while the best cull cow, a five year-old 760kg Limousin sold for €1,690.

Balla also had over 500 bulls and 200 heifers at their weanling sale, where the trade was well improved. Light bulls under 350kg were selling for €500-750 over their weight or €1.62-3.12/kg. Heavy bulls made €1.65-3.25/kg. Light heifers sold for €1.82-3.38/kg or €400-570 with their weight.

Carnew had a large entry of 770 on offer at their show and sale. A strong trade saw prices up €50/hd. The first prize-winning heifer, a 364kg Belgian Blue, sold for €1,380, while a prize-winning 500kg Charolais bullock made €1,360.

Keen demand resulted in bulls suitable for export making up to €3.70/kg in a range from €550 to €1,050 over the €1/kg. Feeding bulls sold for €350-850 with the weight. Beef heifers were selling for €550-970 over the weight. Stores made €250-750 over. The fleshed cull cows made up to €850 with the €1/kg, while plainer types sold back to €200 over.

In the calf ring, the Friesian bull calves ranged from €80-155. Continental bull calves sold for €220-440 with the heifers making from €180-400/hd.

The 450 cattle at Ballinakill met with a lively trade for the bullocks but the heifers were a shade quieter. Heavy steers moved at €1.95-2.45/kg. Stores were selling for €1.75-2.60/kg. Beef heifers made €1.90-2.50/kg, with the stores making €1.65-2.40/kg.

In the weanling section, the bulls sold for €1.95-2.45/kg, while the heifers made €1.70-2.22/kg.

Top-class bulls over 600kg at Raphoe Mart were making €315-1,010 over the weight. Beef bullocks sold for €565-860 with the €1/kg. Stores ranged from €400 to €905 over their weight. Well fleshed heifers were selling for €555-970 over. Store heifers made €300-855 with the weight. Prices for cull cows ran from €700 to €1,960.

The annual weanling show and sale brought a large turnout of quality stock and buyers to Athenry.

Plainer bulls made from €2.00-2.30/kg, with the second rate lots moving at €2.50-2.75/kg.

If anything, the heifer sales were an even livelier trade than the bulls with the lots suitable for export making around the €3/kg mark, with some very good prices for the lighter farmer types of 250kg which were selling for €550-650/hd.

Quality continental steers between 400kg and 600kg at Mayo/Sligo Mart were selling for €2.40-2.78/kg, with the good bull weanlings of 270-450kg making €2.50-3.15/kg.

In the heifer ring, the prices for the better types varied from €2.45/kg to €2.71/kg,, while the good weanlings ranged from €2.40/kg to €3.04/kg. Cull cows peaked at €1,515.

There will be a market forum at the mart at 8.30pm on Wednesday, October 9, with Joe Burke of Bord Bia.

Irish Independent


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