I’m a big fan of the James Bond films.
Especially the ones starring Roger Moore.
He made seven in total, and I’ve watched them all, more times than I’ve had sausages for my breakfast.
Old Roger never took himself too seriously, and neither should we.
I remember one scene in particular, from the Bond film ‘Octopussy’, that took my fancy.
Roger was attending a high brow auction sale in Sotheby’s.
A Fabergé egg was up for grabs.
You don’t hear Fabergé eggs mentioned too often in mart reports!
Anyhow, around about £250,000 was the asking price.
It was an exclusive sale, where only those interested in purchasing the egg were present.
Sotheby’s looked like the kind of joint that doesn’t entertain onlookers.
Roger threw a bid on the egg, but failed to buy it in the end, as the money went even above his reach.
With the egg sold, Roger left the building.
No doubt in hot pursuit of an attractive lady (who could kill him in a flash, if ordered to do so).
But that, my friend, is a story for another day.
The main point that I’m coming to today is, that, with the marts having shut their doors (on account of you-know-what) to curious onlookers, interested bystanders, and general daytrippers, our cattle marts have become as exclusive as Sotheby’s.
Just like Sotheby’s, only without the snobbery.
It was a necessary step to take, of course, with the only parties allowed into the marts this week being those with cattle to buy or sell (or haul), or with cheques to write.
It’s business as usual, but not as we know it.
I went to Bandon mart on Monday, and witnessed at first hand a mart following all the recommended guidelines set by our government and health authorities.
Mart staff limiting the numbers and restricting access, only admitting those buying or selling livestock.
As a consequence, numbers of farmers in attendance on Monday were at an all-time low, but I’m glad to report this had no negative impact of the trade.
Cattle and calves were sold, and sold well.
Bandon mart had 2,000 calves on offer on Monday.
Friesian bulls sold from €15 to €92. Friesian heifers made up to €280 a head.
In Bandon, dry cows sold from €20 to €510 over the kilo.
Friesian bullocks made from €150 up to €300 with the kilo. Hereford and Aberdeen Angus bullocks sold from €300 to €500 with the kilo. Continental bullocks sold from €350 up to €620 with the kilo. Heifers in Bandon on Monday sold for up to €500 with the kilo.
Ann Keane next, and her report from Monday’s sale of weanlings, calves, dairy stock and sucklers at Ennis mart.
“Our normal Tuesday sale was held on Monday, due to St Patrick’s Day, and it operated under the new protocol as advised by the authorities, where numbers were limited in all sales rings, and kept to approximately 70 people at any time in each ring.
“Clare Marts appreciates the co-operation of customers in implementing the necessary changes.
“Trade was very satisfactory all round, with bull weanlings improved, but heifer weanlings a shade back from the very high trade of last week.
“Calves were an improved trade, with farmers realising that calves have to be at least three weeks old, and well fed.
“We had a good trade for dairy stock on Monday, with lots making from €1,160 to €1,510.
“Quality in the suckler ring was more variable on Monday, with pairs making to €1,780.”
And after Thursday’s general cattle sale in Ennis, Geraldine Walsh gave us this report.
“We had a big sale again on Thursday, with over 900 on cattle on offer.
“The trade a shade easier all round. The weather would seem to be the main issue now, as grass buyers are reluctant to buy, due to the severe weather that we have currently.
“However, trade was slightly stronger than this time 12 months despite all the current difficulties.”
On St Patrick’s Day, Kanturk mart held a cattle sale, and mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe gave us the following report.
“We had a good sale on Tuesday, with 1,080 animals, including 540 calves, on offer.
We had a 98% clearance, but a different type of sale on Tuesday, due to Covid-19.
“Sincere thanks to all our customers, buyers and sellers, for co-operating with our staff, and making sure business was carried out in a safe environment.”
In Macroom mart on Saturday, dry cows sold from €80 under to €655 over the kilo.
Friesian bullocks made from €150 up to €425 with the kilo.
Hereford and Aberdeen Angus bullocks sold from €240 to €615 with the kilo.
Continental bullocks sold from €300 up to €655 with the kilo.
Heifers in Macroom on Saturday sold from €205 up to €555 with the kilo.
Kilkenny mart on Thursday last had 1,100 cattle on offer.
Mart manager George Candler gave us the following report.
“We had a bigger sale of cattle, with the trade similar for quality lots.
“Plain cattle were a bit more difficult to sell, not helped by the wet conditions that are now prevailing.
“Cull cows met a good solid trade.
In Kilkenny on Thursday bullocks sold from €1.50 to €3.13 per kilo.
Heifers made from €1.90 to €2.51 per kilo.
In the cull cow trade in Kilkenny, continental cull cows sold from €1.20 to €2.10 per kilo.
Friesian cull cows made from €0.80 per kilo to €1.50 per kilo.