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Surge in cull cows at marts as dairy farmers get jitters

Kerry dairy farmers anxious to cut their winter feed bills have been sending over 200 cull cows to the mart every week for the past three weeks.

Castleisland Mart manager Richard Harnett reported a surge in the number of dairy cull cows going through the ring, with around 50pc of those sold coming straight out of the parlour.

Cull cow prices at the mart have ranged from €100 under the €1/kg to €100 over, depending on the weight and flesh cover of the cows.

Cull cows ready for the factory have sold for up to €200-400 with the weight, while cows that have been dried off for a short number of weeks made around €1/kg.

In neighbouring Limerick, dairy farmers are sending their cull cows to the mart earlier than normal, according to Denis Kirby of Kilmallock Mart.

"About 50pc of these cows are coming straight out of the parlour, at an earlier stage than they would normally send them," he said.

"They will save a bit of money on feeding them that way."


Around 120 cows per week are currently being sold in Kilmallock, with prices ranging from €0.90-1.30/kg for cows out of the parlour and €1-1.68/kg for cows that have been dried off and fed for a number of weeks.

However, it appears that dairy farmers in other parts of the south are holding onto their cull cows for a little longer.

Enniscorthy Mart manager Tommy Harrington said he had a number of enquiries from farmers about selling cull cows but this had not materialised into more than 50 cows/week at the mart.

He added that there was still a demand for quality dairy stock in the Wexford region, with prices of €1,300-1,4000 paid last week for top quality first and second lactation cows, freshly calved.

In Tipperary, Martin Ryan of Mid Tipperary Mart in Thurles said many dairy farmers had already culled the cows during the exceptionally wet summer.


"In May and June we had a rush of cull cows due to the weather but they were also making a better price then, at up to €600-700 over the weight for factory-ready cows," he said.

Prices in Thurles are currently running at €100-150 over for cows out of the parlour and €250-300 over for cows that were fed for a month before selling.

Meanwhile, Dungarvan Mart manager Ger Flynn said he wasn't expecting cull cow numbers to increase until well into October.

Indo Farming