Farm Ireland

Saturday 25 November 2017

Weather sparks rise in number of bidders

Joe Healy

It must be at least 20 years ago that an elderly dry stock farmer said to me that "the farmer panics twice a year -- when the grass starts to grow and when the grass starts to go".

A lack of available cash has prevented anyone from panic buying, but most marts around the country have noticed increased buyer numbers and activity around the rings in the past week. The huge improvement in the weather and, as a consequence increased growth, has been the main reason.

Dowra Mart had 800 cattle on offer last Saturday, with a similar trade to the previous week and some of the plainer cattle proving harder to sell. A strong demand was also felt, with a lot of Northern buyers especially for the heifers.

Good quality store bullocks and heifers made €300-500 with their weight, while a few fancy lots made up to €650 with the weight. The plainer lots made from €100 over up to €200 with the weight. Weanling bulls made €200-500 over, while weanling heifers achieved €200-450 over for the top lots. Plainer lots made €100-200 over the weight. Dry cows met a very strong trade and the best of the cows sold for €200-350 with the weight.


There was also a strong farmer and export demand for cattle at Carnew Mart where 1,435 cattle were offered. Plainer stock was back by €10/hd. Beef and forward store steers sold for €180-460 over the weight. Plain weanlings made €200-300 over, while the better-quality weanling bulls made as high as €550 over their weight. Beef heifers sold for €230-465 with the weight, while the stores made €155-345 over. Some good quality weanling made up to €570 over, while the rest sold from this back to €130 over for plainer stock. Store cull cows sold as low as €130 under the €/kg, while well-fleshed cows sold up to €315 over. Continental bull calves made €175-325. Heifer calves made €125-245, while Friesian bull calves posted €65-155.

The pedigree Limousin sale in Athenry last Saturday met a tough enough trade as only 38 out of the 55 bulls sold. The top price was €3,300 for the champion, but the majority of the bulls were sold for €1,500-1,900.

Cattle numbers were up in Ennis, with 1,147 animals on offer last Thursday. Trade was good and the bullocks were up again by €20-25/hd.

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The better-quality continental forward store bullocks sold for €350-500 over the weight with as much as €565 over paid for some exceptional lots. The plainer types made €200-350 over. Tops for heifers was €525 over for a 615kg Charolais. The 500kg + R-grade types made €400-500 over, while the lighter heifers (400-500kg) sold for €300-400 with their weight. Plainer stock sold from this back to €160 over. Heavy continental cull cows over 650kg made €1,000-1,150 (€300-450 over the weight). Fat Friesian cows sold for up to €230 over, while the more storeish-type cows made upwards of €1/kg. Aged bulls made up to €520 over the weight, while others sold down to €30 over.

Kilkenny also reported a bigger sale, where a larger presence of exporters and Northern buyers created an excellent trade for the continental cattle. Bullocks over 600kg sold for €350-580 with their weight (or from €1.64-1.84/kg). Cattle between 500-600kg made €220-450 over, with one extraordinary price of €1,300 (2.60/kg) paid for a 500kg Belgian Blue bullock. Continental steers under 500kg sold for €1.80-2.10/kg (or up to €480 over the €/kg). Beef heifers between 550-650kg made up to €400 over the weight (or €1.50-1.61/kg).

Irish Independent