Cattle markets: Excellent spring sales and healthy bidding help put traders in mood for romance

Last Friday, in a last desperate bid to find a suitable Valentine’s Day present for my wife, I went to Skibbereen mart in the hope of securing that perfect gift.
Cattle markets: Excellent spring sales and healthy bidding help put traders in mood for romance

And sure enough, I spotted a nice pen of calves of the Norwegian Red variety, a gift of calves I felt would do the trick nicely.

The Norwegian Red are a beautiful looking animal and because of their exquisite colouring and placid nature, many women I’m sure would be very fond of them.

And seeing as how they weren’t particularly big, I felt most importantly of all that the money involved in purchasing them might be appealing to a fellow like myself.

So eventually they came into the ring and yes the money being touted was at a level where a fellow could bid without having a stroke.

But better again I quickly realised that they had come from nearby Darrara Agricultural College. So they were educated calves to boot.

I threw up my old hand to join in the bidding foray and a short time later auctioneer Jonathan O’Sullivan came down hard with the gavel.

I purchased four of them for a sum that was pleasing to myself and on Valentine’s Day my wife woke up to the beautiful sound of hungry calves. She told me that she honestly couldn’t have wished for a better surpise and I’d love to believe that she was telling the truth.

But romance aside and back to business, in Skibbereen on Friday dry cows sold from €50 to €745 over the kilo. Heifers here sold from €450 to €750 with their weight.

Continental bullocks made from €450 to €800. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks ranged in price from €450 to €700 with the kilo. Sucklers in Skibbereen made from €1,090 to €1,330 a head.



No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Lm steer 545kg 1300

1 Ch steer 475kg 1180

1 Lm heifer 570kg 1300

1 Ch heifer 505kg 1210

1 AA heifer 490kg 960

1 Fr cow 645kg 1390

1 Lm cow 720kg 1390

And I missed the Valentine’s Day sale of cattle in Macroom on Saturday, but mart manager John O’Mahony as always was on hand to tell us about it.

“We had a big sale here today with an increase on cattle and calf numbers, once again there was an excellent trade for all types of stock across the board.”



No Breed Sex Weight €

6 Fr steers 760kg 1470

1 AA steer 785kg 1570

1 Lm steer 595kg 1370

1 Ch steer 515kg 1205

1 Lm heifer 485kg 1155

3 Ch hifer 360kg 985

1 Ch cow 700kg 1330

Bandon mart on Monday had a good scattering of calves with 1,250 on offer. Mart manager Tom McCarthy reporting on the trade had this to say, “we had a strong demand for calves on Monday with prices up on last week”.

And indeed, in general at the marts the calf trade is holding well, except for the fellow who might have the misfortune of having a bit of Jersey blood coursing through his veins.

In Bandon mart on Monday, dry cows sold from €150 to €655 over the kilo. Heifers sold from €300 to €750 with their weight.

Continental bullocks made from €500 to €825.

There was a great demand for Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks, and in Bandon on Monday they ranged in price from €400 to €700 with the kilo.

While Friesians sold from €250 to €600 with the kilo.

Dairy stock were in very strong demand, making from €1,200 to €1,700 with the majority selling for €1,500.



No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Ch steers 615kg 1440

1 Sim steer 580kg 1150

2 AA steer 537kg 1160

3 Hr steers 581kg 1260

1 BB heifer 510kg 1230

2 Lm heifers 358kg 780

1 Ch cow 816kg 1480

And while love was certainly in the air at the end of last week, it will be interesting to see what love will be around in farming circles when the Department of Agriculture issues us with our entiltlements under the new Basic Payment Scheme.

Like many more, I believe it’s high time the love, or more importantly the money, was shared around more evenly.

When those of us with a small Single Payment go to a mart and eye up a bit of stock, when we bid on many occasions we are competing with farmers who have a single payment of five or perhaps six times our sum.

And isn’t it nice for such fellows to have a nice soft cushion under their backsides? Should matters go a little pear shaped in the beef game, they always have a soft landing.

I think that those farmers on a small single farm payment — those of us who have survived in a deeply uneven farming environment — really deserve credit for still being around.

In spite of being greatly handicapped, we are still here.

And speaking for those with a small single farm payment, I would ask the minister one final time, for goodness sake shake it up.

Let’s have a level playing field and give a fair crack to every farmer who raises his hand in the market place.

And turning once more to the market place, in Corrin cattle mart on Tuesday mart manager Sean Leahy reported an excellent trade for bullocks.

Store bullocks in Corrin made up to €600 over the kilo, with forward and beef bullocks making up to €785 over the kilo.

Store heifers here made from €280 to €550 over the kilo with butcher types making up to €735 over their weight.

Dry cows in Corrin sold from €550 up to €1,480 a head.



No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Ch steers 620kg 1405

6 Hr steers 540kg 1170

2 AA steer 590kg 1340

1 Lm steer 366kg 960

1 Ch heifer 566kg 1300

2 Lm heifer 311kg 860

1 Ch cow 816kg 1480

There was a large sale of stock in Kilmallock on Monday. The mart had 1,734 cattle including almost 800 calves.

Denis Kirby of Kilmallock mart had this to say on the days trading.

“Trade in all rings was flying on Monday, the appetite of buyers for stock is huge. Compared to the same sale last year, our numbers were up 66% while prices have increased by up to €300 a head.”

In Kilmallock bullocks sold for up to €2.45/kg. Heifers went to a high of €3.31/kg.

Dry cows hit €1.80/kg.

Looking at dairy stock, a two-year-old calved heifer sold for €1,620 while a three-year-old in-calf heifer, time up to Aberdeen Angus next week made €1,550. In general in Kilmallock €1,350 upwards was common place.

And looking at the suckling trade, a three-year-old Charolais heifer, March calver to an Aberdeen Angus, sold for €1,420. While a three-year-old Limousin heifer, time up in ten days to Charolais, made €1,380.

The calf trade is strong in Kilmallock with the majority of calves being bought by Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland buyers.



No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Fr steers 358kg 730

1 BB steer 540kg 1180

2 Ch steers 510kg 1175

3 AA steers 547kg 1155

1 Hr heifer 495kg 1050

1 BB heifer 400kg 1125

1 Fr cow 475kg 740

And finally we go to Dungarvan where after Monday’s cattle sale, Ger Flynn gave us this summing up.

We had a very good trade for all types of forward stores, we also had an exceptional dry cow trade.



No Breed Sex Weight €

4 Ch steers 555kg 1280

6 Fr steer 549kg 1100

3 AA steers 528kg 1160

2 Lm steers 462kg 1085

1 Hr heifer 450kg 1010

3 BB heifer 461kg 940

1 Fr cow 755kg 1220

More in this section


Keep up-to-date with all the latest developments in Farming with our weekly newsletter

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up
News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up