Friesian bull calf back in fashion amid hopes of beef clouds lifting

Friesian bull calf back in fashion amid hopes of beef clouds lifting

Bandon mart manager Tom McCarthy, never one to shy away from a good headline, had one for me on Monday. I hit Bandon mart at the closing of the calf sale, Tom was the first man I met.

“The Friesian bull is back in fashion,” he told me, with farmer buyers purchasing the much talked about, and fretted-over calf.

Bandon had 200 calves on offer and the Friesian bull calf was selling for €50-110 a head. There was good news of larger animals too. Tom said, “Quality assured cattle, with one or two movements, are selling very well.

“Farmer buyers, feedlot purchasers, were all back here today in force with prices up by €70 to €80 a head. It seems the dark cloud that had surrounded beef farming since the factory blockade, has lifted.

Farmers who perhaps wondered about their future in beef farming, and if they might ever return to the business, have returned. Good quality cattle are selling well, with prices returned to the level they were at this time last year.

In Bandon, dry cows sold from €100 under to €320 with the kilo. Friesian bullocks made from €170 to €350 with the kilo. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €250 to €500 with the kilo. Heifers sold from €250 to €360 with their weight.

Bandon

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

5 AA steers 450kg 930

2 Hr steers 500kg 915

7 Fr steers 560kg 800

6 Fr steers 544kg 800

3 Lm steers 603kg 1035

1 Fr cow 835kg 1150

1 Hr cow 710kg 990

Here in Ireland, we have few persons of royal lineage. The only royalty I know of are our beef barons, fierce exciting people altogether, we never stop talking about them, and with great passion. Keeping our barons in comfort and style can be a very costly business. I wish our barons were like Prince Andrew, one of the dullest men in the world.

According to himself, he doesn’t dance, he doesn’t buy drinks, he doesn’t put his arms around people in public (he’s very careful on that front, he says). He doesn’t sweat, or at least he didn’t sweat much until this week.

And to round it off, the highlight of his life seems to be the occasional purchase of a pizza. He could well be the dullest man of all time, if his recent interview is to be believed. I wish out beef barons were happy to live on pizza and little else. Alas, it’s not so.

Now, with the factory trade in the dumps to provide for the lavish jet set lifestyle of the beef industry elite, we have only the marts to bring us some level of dependability. The marts never believed in royalty, only farmers. That’s what makes them so popular.

750 cattle were on offer at Kilmallock mart on Monday, with Denis Kirby of GVM reporting, “Our trade overall was very lively, with 113 buyers in attendance.”

Bullocks sold for up to €2.33 per kg. Dry cows made up to €1,230, or €1.84 per kg. Heifers sold for up to €2.20 per kg. Up to €335 was paid in the calf ring (for a 16-week-old Hereford heifer). A two-year-old Limousin suckler cow and her Limousin bull calf sold for €1,120.

On Monday, November 25, a special Kilmallock mart dairy sale begins at 12 noon,with over 80 winter and spring calving stock on offer.

Kilmallock

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Lim steers 395kg 860

4 Hr steers 390kg 760

5 AA steers 374kg 655

4 Sim steers 520kg 935

2 AA heifers 345kg 630

3 Lim heifers 268kg 590

1 Jer cow 495kg 775

After Monday’s cattle sale in Dungarvan, mart manager Ger Flynn said, “We had a very good trade for forward stores, with prices stronger than last week.”

Skibbereen mart had over 300 cattle on offer Friday. Mart manager Tom McCarthy, reported an improved trade for dry cows, making €150 under to €400 with the kilo. Continental bullocks sold for up to €700 with the weight. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €300 to €440 with the kilo.

Heifers in Skibbereen on Friday sold from €250 to €465 with their weight. Weanling heifers made from €250 to €380 with the kilo.

Skibbereen

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Ch steer 505kg 1050

4 AA steers 492kg 860

2 Hr steers 532kg 920

1 Ch heifer 575kg 1040

1 Lm heifer 510kg 950

1 Lm cow 720kg 1110

1 Hr cow 580kg 800

Castleisland mart manager John Humphreys said this week, “We had a big increase in the number of cows through the ring, with continental cows making up to €1.80/kg. Friesian cows made up to €1.28/kg. A complete clearance was recorded.

“Continental bullocks made up to €2.27/kg. Hereford bullocks made up to €1.86/kg. Heifers were making up to €2.17/kg for continental types and €1.79/kg for Hereford heifers.” After their sale of weanlings Monday, John said, “Whereas weanling numbers are beginning to get a bit tighter, we had a good sale here in Castleisland with a complete clearance. There was a big number of farmers around the ring competing for stock.”

Castleisland

Wednesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

4 Ch steers 368kg 835

8 Hr steers 482kg 895

3 AA steers 557kg 975

2 Lim heifers 424kg 920

3 Ch heifers 402kg 845

5 Hr heifers 453kg 810

1 Lim cow 518kg 930

Kanturk mart manager, Seamus O’Keeffe said, “We are all in great form here in Kanturk after celebrating our mart’s 60th anniversary in Charleville on Friday night with 420 guests. “We are very grateful to Charleville Park and to all our customers, sponsors and Cathal Cronin, Kanturk for supplying the beautiful beef which he had bought in our mart.

Kanturk

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

5 Hr steers 600kg 1035

2 Hr steers 630kg 1000

3 AA steers 531kg 990

3 Ch heifers 550kg 1100

2 AA heifers 660kg 1020

1 Hr cow 810kg 980

“Back to our sale on Tuesday, we had 580 cattle on offer. All selling well, with plenty of customers in attendance.”

Sean Leahy, Corrin mart manager, has reported “A strong trade for bullocks on Tuesday, an improved trade for all weights.”

Store bullocks here sold from €150 to €415 with the kilo, forward store bullocks made up to €550 with the weight. Looking at heifers, Sean reported “a good steady trade”. Heifers in Corrin ranged from €220 to €400 with the kilo. Stronger butcher types sold for between €250 and €520 with the kilo.

Sean reported “a lively trade for dry cows.”

Corrin

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Sim steer 600kg 1150

2 Lm steers 495kg 1140

5 Hr steers 500kg 860

2 BB heifers 545kg 1065

1 Ch heifer 480kg 950

1 Fr cow 750kg 880

1 Fr cow 710kg 810

Ann Keane of Clare Co-Op marts, reporting on the suckler and weanling sale in Scariff mart on Saturday, said “We had a good entry of stock on Saturday, with a good mix of stock available.

“A good trade for both one and a half year old cattle and weanlings. The trade could only be described as good.”

Ann also had a report from the more recent sale of sucklers and at Ennis mart on Tuesday.

“Numbers are beginning to drop off a bit, we had just over 600 weanlings and sucklers on offer. There were more customers about on Tuesday for both bulls and heifers.

“The trade was generally better by €20 per head, and some quality lots making some very attractive prices. Runner heifers made up to €695, with runner bulls making up to €825.

“More shipper activity on Tuesday for bulls, at the upper end of the market. A small entry of suckler stock on Tuesday with pairs making up to €1,380.

“A very small entry of calves, with month old Hereford bulls making up to €345, and Charolais heifer calves making up to €400.”

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