Plainer cattle are taking more hits than Foreman versus Ali

“Oh man,” said the late great Muhammad Ali when he found George Foreman fading fast in the eighth round of their thrilling Rumble in the Jungle encounter, “This is the wrong place for you to get tired.”

And just like Foreman back in 1974, this week on our farms we have all been finding the going a little tough.

It’s like a jungle out there with the heat and humidity. It has been extremely difficult to work the land, with many choosing the evening and night time hours to do their chores.

One man I spoke to at the start of the week said that he had to endure the rumbling of silage trailers passing his door at two in the morning on the previous night. And while this is a bit extreme, if not a tad inconsiderate, few would argue it hasn’t been a knockout of a week for weather.

And so, on that sunny note, we will pick ourselves up off the ground and take a look at the mart trade.

If you talk to cattle farmers this summer, particularly those who are selling cattle, most will agree that while there has been a notable pick up in the trade since the price drop in April, the price rise has benefited quality cattle more than plainer stock. And this is certainly the case with regard to the Friesian. The lighter Friesian is the bargain beast at the moment.

At his lowest, I have seen Friesian stores of about 300kg selling for €150 with their weight. But of course having said that, you will also find Friesians hitting the magic €2/kg at times.

Talking to Thurles mart manager Martin Ryan on Tuesday evening about the plight of the Friesian, he had this interesting observation to add. “Looking at the Friesian bullock, one aspect of the present trade I find interesting is that, regardless of the weight of the Friesian bullock the price per kg remains relatively the same (shown below in a chart courtesy of Martin Ryan and Thurles Mart). Whereas if you look at the continental bullock or Hereford or Angus, you will see a variation in price per kg over a range of weights.”

Then going on to report in general on Monday’s cattle sale in Thurles, Martin added: “Forward stores were in demand here on Monday despite it being a bank holiday. Cull cow numbers were down but met with strong demand. Calf numbers here were back on Monday with quality having a huge reflection on the price.”



2 Lm steers 322kg 760

2 AA steers 295kg 700

6 Fr steers 297kg 600

2 Hr steers 262kg 700

1 Lm heifer 400kg 1060

2 AA heifers 357kg 840

1 Lm cow 485kg 840

And whatever of the plain animal being hit harder than Foreman in Zaire, in Corrin on Tuesday, Mourneabby farmer Maurice Kelly had little to complain about.

“I was very happy with the price I got for my cattle,” Maurice told me, fresh from selling his stock. One lot, a Simmental-cross bullock born in March 2015 weighing 470kg made €970, while another two Aberdeen Angus bullocks weighing 527kg made €1,160. The good weights were achieved by feeding beet and ration to his bunch of 20 stores over the long winter. “They cost me €300 a piece as calves, and I put another €300 each into them since.”

Maurice believes strongly in buying a quality animal. “I think when you buy calves you should buy quality, with the Simmental in my view the best for thriving.”

In Corrin on Tuesday, store bullocks sold from €200 to €510 over the kilo, with beef bullocks making up to €850 over the kilo.

Store heifers in Corrin made from €260 to €560 over the kilo with butcher types making up to €735 over the kilo. Dry cows, mart manager Sean Leahy told me, were scarce, with all types meeting a strong demand. And in Corrin on Tuesday dry cows sold from €600 to €1,420.



No Breed Sex Weight €

4 Lm steers 525kg 1245

6 Hr steers 370kg 880

4 Hr heifers 490kg 1105

1 Lm heifer 505kg 1240

4 AA heifers 280kg 695

1 Hr cow 885kg 1420

1 Fr cow 780kg 1160

And the trade for dry cows was good in Kanturk mart on Tuesday also, as mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe told us in his report.

“We had a smaller sale today, with 520 animals including 293 calves on offer. There was certainly a flying trade all round with calves and dry cows achieving exceptional prices. Dry cows here on Tuesday made from €250 to €600 with their weight.”



No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Lm steers 595kg 1210

1 Fr steer 575kg 1140

2 AA steers 372kg 800

7 Fr steers 360kg 780

4 Lm heifers 200kg 660

1 Ch cow 705kg 1200

1 Fr cow 810kg 1270

“We had over 1,200 cattle, including 600 calves, on offer here on Monday,” Denis Kirby of Kilmallock mart told me after the cattle sale. “Mart prices in all rings reached new heights, with buyers from every corner of the country here to purchase stock. In the suckler cow ring for example, a four-year-old purebred Limousin and her bull calf made €2,800. In the calf ring, good strong beef breeds made up to €615 each.

An entry of some Friesian heifer calves hit €400 in the dairy ring, while calved stock sold for up to €1,220.”

Bullocks in Kilmallock on Monday sold for up to €2.78 per kg, while weanlings hit €2.76 per kg. Heifers sold to a high of €2.70 per kg. Dry cows went to a high of €2.35 per kg.



No Breed Sex Weight €

7 AA steers 398kg 1105

2 Ch steers 363kg 950

4 Hr steers 345kg 855

2 Ch heifers 450kg 1200

1 Sim heifer 610kg 1290

1 BB cow 540kg 1270

1 Fr cow 415kg 725

Next we turn to Macroom mart on Saturday, and to mart manager John O’Mahony, who gave us the following report. “We had a smaller sale of cattle here on Saturday with a great trade for all types of stock across the board.”

On Saturday, dry cows sold from €50 under to €695 over the kilo. Hereford and Aberdeen bullocks sold from €280 to €685 over their weight. Continental bullocks made from €325 to €725 over their weight. Heifers in Macroom mart sold from €300 to €610 over the kilo.



No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Lm steers 560kg 1280

3 Ch steers 470kg 1135

5 Hr steers 380kg 880

5 AA steers 300kg 760

1 Ch heifer 360kg 885

1 Hr cow 820kg 1515

1 Fr cow 715kg 1115



No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Fr steers 702kg 1340

2 Fr steers 637kg 1355

1 AA steer 700kg 1620

1 AA steer 640kg 1310

3 Ch heifers 486kg 1125

6 Ch heifers 423kg 1015

1 Fr cow 785kg 1370

In Dungarvan on Monday last, suckler cows with calves at foot sold from €1,100 to €1,680.

And finally for this week, in Skibbereen on Friday, dry cows sold from €55 to €780 with the kilo. Continental bullocks made from €365 to €765 with their weight.

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €310 to €620 with the kilo.



No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Ch steer 450kg 1160

2 Lm steers 450kg 1100

2 Hr steers 377kg 870

4 Fr steers 436kg 740

1 Ch heifer 590kg 1380

1 Lm cow 690kg 1470

1 Ch cow 755kg 1330

Friesian bullocks sold from €180 to €305 with their weight.

Heifers in Skibbereen made from €305 to €790, with suckler cows selling from €1,000 to €1,400 each.


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