Marts holding ground in spite of factory slippage

I hear Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger is going under the knife this week. His heart is giving him trouble.

I hope he will be OK. I like Mick. And in fairness to Mick, for a man who should be dead with about 50 years, he’s doing remarkably well to be here at all.

For Mick to hit 75, is I guess the same thing as a normal fellow, like you or I, hitting about 175. Mick has covered a lot of ground in 75 years.

I’d like to write Mick a letter, to wish him well. But busy as I am with farming and mart reports, I simply don’t have the time to write to pop stars. So I’m hoping the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar might do so instead. He’s good at that sort of thing.

Anyhow we will roll onto the marts, where the trade is a bit like Mick Jagger. It’s doing remarkably well, all things considered.

And the things to consider are the meat factories’ insistence on spreading the gloom and lowering the price for finished cattle.

Honestly, sometimes it can be hard to love them.

But as Skibbereen mart manager, Tom McCarthy, once said; “It’s hard to beat the eternal optimism of the beef farmer.” And in the mart this week this sure is the case.

The mart trade remains firm, buoyed up with the great expectations of the beef farmer. Based on nothing but a belief that things will get better eventually.

Anyhow, after mentioning Tom, we may as well start with Skibbereen mart where on Friday after the sale Tom reported; “a big sale of cattle with over 700 on offer.” And the report from a farmer attending was one of “a great trade for quality store cattle.”

In Skibbereen on Friday dry cows sold from €1/kg to €400 with the kilo. Continental bullocks made from €350 to €750 with the kilo. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €250 to €700 with the kilo. Friesian bullocks in Skibbereen sold from €120 to €420 with the kilo.

Skibbereen - Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Ch steers 477kg 1165

2 BB steers 385kg 995

2 Hr steers 540kg 1210

2 Ch heifers 305kg 870

6 Ch heifers 415kg 900

1 Ch cow 780kg 1170

1 Sim cow 695kg 1060

Kilkenny Mart on Thursday held the biggest sale of 2019 so far with 1600 cattle on offer. Mart manager,

George Candler, reported a trade remaining remarkably firm for continental bullocks and heifers.

“With prices for quality lots ranging from €2.35 to €2.75 per kilo and up to €2.85 per kilo for the best stock on offer,” said George. “The best of the Friesian bullocks here in Kilkenny saw prices range from €1.65 to €2.00 per kilo.

“The bulk of beef type bullocks and heifers saw prices range from €2.00 to €2.40 per kilo. The cut in beef factory quotes,” George remarked, “had no negative effect on the trade.”

And this is something that has been replicated in many marts this week.

Kilkenny - Thursday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Sim steers 800kg 1520

3 Lim steers 655kg 1270

4 Hr steers 580kg 1180

5 Fr steers 550kg 1000

3 Fr steers 395kg 750

1 Ch heifer 705kg 1630

1 Lim heifer 620kg 1300

Grass buyers out in force at Kilmallock Mart.

It was a case of plenty of cattle (2500 to be exact) and plenty of buyers (272 to be exact, again) driving on the sale at Kilmallock mart on Monday.

Denis Kirby of GVM reported “grass buyers were out in force from all over the country.”

On Monday Kilmallock mart had 111 pens of weanling bulls and bullocks on offer to satisfy the hunger of buyers.

Bullocks here sold for up to €2.63 per kg. Weanling bulls made up to €2.70 per kg. Dry cows sold to €1200 or €2.26 per kg. Heifers sold for up to €2.36/kg.

Once again this week Denis reported, “a flying trade for dairy stock.” In Kilmallock dairy stock sold for up to €1,680 a head.

On this coming Saturday, April 6, the Munster Branch of the Irish Angus Society have a Premier Bull Sale lined up for Kilmallock mart. This sale will consist of 57 bulls.

Kilmallock - Thursday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Lm steers 510kg 1340

5 Hr steers 524kg 1160

8 AA steers 533kg 1135

2 Fr steers 545kg 1020

2 Sim steers 645kg 1315

2 AA heifers 335kg 635

1 Fr cow 485kg 1100

We go to Ennis mart next and to Anne Keane of Clare Co-Op marts for all the details on an interesting sale.

“Numbers were back slightly in the bullock ring on Thursday, and dearer by €20 per head, with cows a slightly improved trade also. The €2 per kg was breached a number of times in the cull cow ring.

“Heifers again held very strong. A great farmer demand in all rings, with good grass and weather driving the appetite for stock. We had a good entry of aged bulls on Thursday with a top call of €1,850 for 1,160kg Charolais.”

Big sale in Ennis

Looking at the more recent sale of weanling and sucklers in Ennis on Tuesday Anne added: “We had a very big sale on Tuesday with over 1,150 head on offer which included 300 calves.

“Overall calves met a good trade, with an exceptional Charolais bull calf making €750 and another made €630 both by the same seller.

“Trade for Friesian bull calves went from €30 to €200, with a little more life in shippers for these. Hereford bulls sold from €200 to €305. A strong weanling trade again with exporters and farmers competing for stock. Dairy cows met a good trade and made up to €1,630. Suckler pairs made up to €1,860, in-calf lots made up to €1,250.”

Ennis - Thursday

No Breed Sex Weight €

6 Ch steers 489kg 1335

2 Ch steers 607kg 1490

5 Hr steers 597kg 1220

1 Lm heifer 365kg 1050

2 Ch heifers 452kg 1150

1 AA cow 805kg 1470

1 Fr cow 615kg 750

Kanturk mart on Tuesday had a big sale of cattle also. Mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe gave us the details.

“A big sale once again in Kanturk with 1,540 cattle on offer, this number including 680 calves. The bad morning on Tuesday kept some buyers and sellers at home, but never the less, cattle were in great demand especially forward store cattle.”

Sales for Kanturk to look out for include a breeding heifer sale on Saturday next, April 6, and a dairy and bull sale on Saturday, April 13.

Kanturk - Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

8 Ch steers 452kg 1060

6 AA steers 640kg 1200

6 Fr steers 593kg 1200

1 AA heifer 610kg 1150

8 Hr heifers 400kg 840

1 Lim cow 670kg 1070

1 Fr cow 520kg 620

Dungarvan - Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Sim steer 685kg 1510

6 Hr steers 450kg 905

4 Ch heifers 432kg 1005

2 Hr heifers 412kg 765

1 Fr cow 715kg 1160

1 Fr cow 790kg 950

1 Fr cow 715kg 890

After Monday’s cattle sale in Dungarvan, mart manager, Ger Flynn, reported “A very big sale with a great demand for cattle and prices holding well for all stores.”

Macroom - Saturday

No Breed Sex Weight €

5 AA steers 520kg 1130

2 Lm steers 470kg 1190

4 Ch steers 290kg 830

1 Lm heifer 570kg 1350

4 Ch heifers 325kg 850

1 Ch cow 885kg 1370

1 Lm cow 755kg 1300

In Macroom on Saturday dry cows sold from €20 under to €545 over the kilo. Hereford and Aberdeen Angus bullocks sold from €240 to €625 with their weight. Continental bullocks made from €330 to €720 with their weight. Heifers in Macroom made from €210 to €780 with the kilo.

Turkish battle begins at sale in Castleisland

And finally for this week, it’s to Castleisland mart we go, where we finish on a high with Monday’s weanling and calf sale report. Auctioneer Noel Corcoran gave us the latest.

A large presence of international and domestic buyers including farmers and feedlot agents made it a pleasure to sell at one of our largest sales week of the year so far. We had over 2,500 head passing through our sales ring.

“The procurement of mainly continental weanlings bulls for the Turkish market has well and truly commenced here, but had very strong opposition from our own feedlot buyers, exporters and grass men alike. Another big sale of calves on Monday resulted in an increase in prices, especially for the Friesian calf.

“Some beautifully bred British Friesian bulls, from local producers, saw prices from €250 to a top of €290.

“The shipping Friesian bull was up in price again on last week. Some nice Charolais bull calves sold to €450 a head with a price of €442 procured for Charolais heifers.

“Overall, a great trade with big numbers and plenty of buyers for all types of stock.”

More on this topic

22.5 acres for sale near Skibbereen Rowing Club

Growing trend of farm businesses being no longer viable, unless subsidised by off-farm income

Lower debt profile makes Irish farmers more resilient

72-acre grass farm for sale in sought-after zone near Mallow

More in this Section

Lower debt profile makes Irish farmers more resilient

72-acre grass farm for sale in sought-after zone near Mallow

ICSA: €100m Brexit fund can’t have conditionality

Farmers warned July is worst month for fatalities


Lifestyle

Stereolab: The right band at the wrong time

Kaleidoscope: The festival that is Electric Picnic for families

The High Priestess of Punk on 40 years in showbusiness ahead of Irish gig

Orla O’Regan: ‘I treasure the way my life has turned out’

More From The Irish Examiner