Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 March 2018

Weather lifts mood and prices at marts

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Marts reported a €20/hd increase in the price of plain cattle last week as sunshine and high temperatures made a welcome return after more than 12 months of cold and rain.

The improvement in the weather boosted trade for all cattle, with more customers at the ringside but, crucially, also lifted the price of plain stores.

Ennis Mart manager Martin McNamara said farmers' spirits had lifted in the sunshine and described the atmosphere at Thursday's sale as slightly more positive. "Prices increased by €20/hd across all categories of stock," he said. "But plain cattle are still harder to sell."

Prices for forward cattle of 650kg or more were in the range €2.20-2.40/kg, while lighter cattle of 500kg sold for €2.40-2.70/kg. Two-year-old bullocks weighing 400kg sold for €2-2.20/kg, but well fleshed younger bullocks of 14-15 months old sold for €2.50/kg.

Mr McNamara added that the surge in cull cow numbers continued last week.

Some 700 suckler and dairy cull cows have been sold in the last three sales. The mart manager maintained that, while demand was in line with the weather, many traditional summer buyers of cattle were not buying as many animals.

"I would say those buyers are down 30pc on what they would usually buy," he said.

In Castlerea on Thursday, prices for quality bullocks and weanling bulls rose by €20/hd on the previous week.

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"There was more farmer activity as the first fine spell encouraged them to buy, but most demand is still for the short keep animals," remarked mart manager Brendan Egan.


Store bullocks sold for €2.15-2.70/kg, while weanling bulls sold for between €2.50/kg and €3.29/kg depending on quality.

Demand was strong from exporters for the quality Continental weanlings.

Store heifers sold for €2.10-2.70/kg.

Tullamore Mart manager Antoinette Doran reported a very strong trade on Thursday, with prices of over €1,100 with the weight for quality heavy bullocks.

"Cattle were very dear today, with prices for heavy bullocks up €50-100/hd on last week but there were some great quality animals in the ring," she said.

Good quality store bullocks also sold well, with top prices of €690-720 over the weight for Continentals of around 400kg.

In Kilkenny, the trade for Friesian bullocks improved by €10-20/hd on last week, while the cull cow trade was described as "outstanding", despite a large number on offer.

Irish Independent