Cattle marts report: A bit of calmness is needed in marts and on the farm this week

A beef farmer from Curraghawaddra whom I met in Macroom over the weekend asked me if this business of writing something for the paper every week was “a bit like a priest putting together his sermon?” 

And I had to acknowledge that he was talking sense.

You have to begin with something sparkling. Throughout the piece, you cannot stray too far from the main theme, and to wrap up you must offer hope of salvation to those in need. There must be some glimmer of hope, otherwise all is lost.

It’s very similar indeed to a sermon, I could so easily have strayed into priestly life.

Sstaying on the subject of priestly matters, over the weekend I was reading John B Keane’s ‘Letters of an Irish Parish Priest’ and the famous line “your posterior has me intoxicated” came jumping out from the page at me.

And so I would like to begin today not on the subject of posteriors or intoxication, but on the matter of excitability.

Because I feel there is a lot of it in the lives of farmers at the moment. It’s there at the marts, and it’s there on the farm. 

In the marts, there seems to be a fear developing that cattle numbers are starting to decrease, that they might start to get scarce, there is certainly a degree of excitability on the issue. And there is no reason for such jitters. 

Cattle numbers are staying as firm as the trade. Many of us have yet to sell our stores this year, so calm down, you will get your chance.

And on the farm, some light crops of silage are being hurriedly cut from the ground, crops that really should be given more time. While at the same time I’m hearing reports of heated competition amongst farmers to get silage analysis work done quickly. And then to top it all some have now started crying aloud for the want of rain.

A bit like the man intoxicated by the posterior, many farmers have started to lose the run of themselves. A little calmness all round would be most advisable.

This is only the second week of May, calm down, don’t someone do themselves, or someone else, an injury. And now hopefully with a bit of calm restored, we’ll begin our ramble through the marts, starting first with Thurles. Mart manager Martin Ryan gave us this report.

“Numbers overall here in Thurles are still holding up, cull cow numbers are very surprising given the high turn out since last September,” said Martin.

“Calf numbers are again ahead of last year with prices seeing a dip on previous weeks. Exporters have not had a significant impact on calf prices this season only managing to purchase a small number of calves within their parameters.

“There has been a noted surge in demand for bulls of all breeds recently, we have seen exporters active for both Libya and Turkey. We have seen strong heifer prices in recent weeks particularly at lower weights.

“Steer prices have been reasonably steady in recent weeks although numbers have been well ahead of last year.”

Thurles

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Ch steers 285kg 810

3 Hr steers 436kg 930

4 Fr steers 330kg 620

2 Lm steers 430kg 1070

6 Hr heifers 293kg 740

2 Lm heifers 302kg 770

7 AA heifers 270kg 670

And there was keen competition for all stock in Kilmallock mart on Monday, from four key sources.

These mighty four were the Irish farmer, the stud farmer, buyers for Libya, and buyers for Turkey. The end result had vendors “going home very happy” according to Denis Kirby of GVM.

Bullocks in Kilmallock sold for up to €2.54 per kg. Weanlings hit €3.09 per kg. Dry cows sold to a high of €1.92 per kg. Heifers went to €2.60 per kg.

Dairy stock sold for up to €1,510 a head, while in the suckler ring €1,240 was paid for a six-year-old Limousin and her Charolais bull calf.

This Saturday, May 13, the Irish Angus Munster Branch will hold a bull Sale at Kilmallock mart beginning at 1pm. This sale will have approximately 40 bulls on offer.

Kilmallock

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Fr steers 325kg 665

1 Hr steer 490kg 1235

1 BB steer 520kg 1160

5 AA steers 557kg 1210

1 Lm heifer 390kg 935

2 Hr heifers 475kg 1000

1 Fr cow 480kg 830

In Macroom on Saturday, dry cows sold from €60 to €705 over the kilo.

Continental bullocks made from €325 to €760 over the kilo. Hereford and Aberdeen Angus bullocks sold from €250 to €650 over their weight. Heifers sold from €235 to €930 over their weight.

Macroom

Saturday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 AA steer 580kg 1220

2 Hr steers 540kg 1190

1 Ch steer 570kg 1330

1 BB heifer 550kg 1480

2 Lm heifers 455kg 1160

1 Hr cow 775kg 1280

1 Ch cow 635kg 1340

Bandon mart on Monday had 1,100 calves on offer with prices holding well for all breeds.

Dry cows here sold from €120 to €740 with the kilo. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks made from €275 to €660 with the weight. Continental bullocks sold from €335 to €690 with the kilo. 

Friesian bullocks in Bandon made from €200 to €655 with the kilo. Heifers in Bandon sold from €245 to €690 with their weight.

Bandon

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

5 Fr steers 405kg 825

4 Hr steers 370kg 910

3 AA steers 350kg 830

3 Lm steers 500kg 1190

3 AA heifers 390kg 835

1 Ch cow 850kg 1590

1 Fr cow 795kg 1240

We switch next to Kanturk mart in Cork where mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe gave us all the details after Tuesday’s cattle sale.

“We had a big entry of cattle here again on Tuesday. We had 1,320 animals on offer this number included 520 calves,” said Seamus.

“Cattle prices were much the same as last week, however Friesian bullocks were back a bit. A special entry of 20 calved Friesian heifers sold for an average price of €1,400.”

Kanturk

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Hr steers 665kg 1460

4 Ch steers 581kg 1205

1 Fr steer 580kg 1110

5 Ch heifers 540kg 1180

4 AA heifers 545kg 1160

6 Lm heifers 430kg 1060

1 Fr cow 800kg 1470

In Dungarvan mart on Monday, Friesian bull calves sold from €90 to €130, with €220 a head paid for weaned Friesian bull calves. Hereford bull calves made up to €320 a piece, with €300 a head being paid for the continental heifer calves.

Dungarvan

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Hr steers 612kg 1290

3 AA steers 576kg 1235

2 Hr steers 437kg 950

8 Ch heifers 476kg 1180

3 AA heifers 413kg 870

3 Fr cows 745kg 1190

1 AA cow 715kg 1330

And there were plenty of cattle on offer in Corrin on Tuesday. The mart had 1,300 stock on offer. Mart manager Sean Leahy reported “a steady trade” for bullocks, with “a good strong trade” reported by Sean for both heifers and dry cows. 

In Corrin on Tuesday bullocks sold from €150 to €680 with their weight, with beef bullocks making up to €740 with the kilo. Store heifers sold from €200 to €600 with the weight with butcher types making up to €935.

Corrin

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Lm steers 665kg 1400

2 AA steers 490kg 1020

2 Hr steers 550kg 1180

1 BB heifer 605kg 1540

2 Hr heifers 550kg 1180

1 Lim cow 700kg 1370

1 Fr cow 850kg 1350

In Skibbereen on Friday Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €350 to €700 with the weight. Continental bullocks sold from €400 to €750 with the kilo. Friesian bullocks in Skibbereen sold from €200 to €500 with the kilo. 

Heifers in Skibbereen sold from €250 to €850 with their weight. In Skibbereen weanling bulls made from €260 to €605 with the kilo. Dairy stock in Skibbereen sold from €900 to €1450, with suckler stock selling from €900 to €1,470.

Skibbereen

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Ch steer 485kg 1235

4 AA steers 383kg 885

4 Fr steers 343kg 640

1 BB heifer 525kg 1230

3 Lm heifers 435kg 1280

1 Lmx cow 720kg 1330

1 Hr cow 780kg 1340

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