Mid-Kerry’s re-booted mart at Gortatlea is efficient, no-frills operation

I went to Gortatlea mart in mid-Kerry on Friday, in the company of local farmer Paddy Flynn.
Mid-Kerry’s re-booted mart at Gortatlea is efficient, no-frills operation

Before we saw any animals, Paddy insisted we have a cup of tea and a bite to eat in the mart’s canteen.

I left the mart canteen fully charged and ready to view Gortatlea mart for the first time.

It’s almost a year since the mart got a reboot.

Now under the command of Maurice Brosnan, who took over from his uncle Sean, Gortatlea’s reputation for good prices and large sales has spread far and wide.

One of its large evening sales of weanlings in the autumn even saw the mart operating until one in the morning.

Gortatlea has certainly arrived, and it is putting it up to other cattle marts.

“Competition is a very healthy thing,” Maurice Brosnan told me on Friday, “and I feel once you look after the customer, a business can succeed.”

Maurice has been in the cattle business with years, and this is clearly evident in the way Gortatlea is run.

It’s an efficient, no-frills operation.

It’s a cattleman’s mart. If you want soft seats, you will have to go elsewhere. If you want cattle, Gortatlea could well be your spot.

On Friday last, the mart had 160 dry cows on offer, and here’s what Maurice Brosnan had to say on the overall trade.

“Store cows met a very firm trade, with midland farmers keen to purchase.

“Quality store bullocks and heifers met a very firm trade, with plainer stock a bit tougher.

At our calf and weanling sale on Wednesday night, we saw a great trade, with super numbers on offer.”

Gortatlea

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

8 Hr steers 460kg 970

2 Hr steers 700kg 1248

2 BBx steers 610kg 1290

5 BB heifers 430kg 865

2 Lm heifers 470kg 1000

5 Fr cows 744kg 1025

1 Fr cow 790kg 1105

Next, we move to Skibbereen mart, which also took place on Friday, and here, dry cows sold from €150 under to €530 over the kilo.

Heifers in Skibbereen made from €390 to €645 with the kilo. Bullocks ranged in price from €300 to €680 with the kilo.

Weanling bulls in Skibbereen sold from €300 to €600 over the kilo, with weanling heifers selling from €260 to €530 with their weight.

Skibbereen

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Lm steers 522kg 1180

4 Hr steers 450kg 935

1 Ch steer 610kg 1290

1 Sim heifer 635kg 1280

2 Hr heifers 390kg 800

1 Lm cow 780kg 1310

1 AA cow 755kg 1220

In Bandon on Monday, dry cows sold from €150 under to €620 over their weight. Heifers in Bandon made from €350 to €530 with the kilo.

Friesian bullocks sold from €250 to €480 with the kilo.

Bandon

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Lm steer 695kg 1390

2 Ch steers 440kg 900

4 AA steers 455kg 960

2 Hr steers 600kg 1130

1 Lm steer 440kg 910

1 AA cow 730kg 1350

1 Fr cow 690kg 1140

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks ranged in price from €340 to €550 with the kilo. Continental bullocks made from €400 up to €700 with the kilo.

While the skies over Kilmallock might have been overcast on Monday, for at least one buyer attending the sale, the future must look very bright indeed, because the plucky fellow paid €500 for a two-week old Charolais bull calf.

God bless his optimism, and let’s hope 2016 is as promising as he believes.

Elsewhere in the mart, bullocks made up to €2.50 per kg.

Heifers went to a high of €2.43 per kg. Dry cows (190 on offer) made up to €1,145 a head or €1.93 per kg.

Kilmallock

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

5 Hr steers 391kg 905

2 Lim steers 355kg 800

1 Ch steer 500kg 1155

4 AA steers 509kg 1040

1 BB heifer 495kg 1125

1 Sim heifer 485kg 1030

1 Fr cow 405kg 780

Weanlings were again “very dear”, according to Denis Kirby, with bulls making up to €2.95 per kg and heifers hitting €3.08 per kg.

Looking at dairy stock, a 2½-year-old calved heifer sold for €1,320, while a 4-year-old calved cow made €1,250.

In suckling, a 2½-year-old in-calf Friesian (due Febuary to a Charolais) made €1,000.

Kilmallock on Monday had 845 stock (including 133 calves) on offer. This is our second last mart report of 2015.

We will be carrying a report in next week’s paper, but it being Christmas Eve, there is every chance that you will be too busy or too bleary eyed to notice.

Very few next week will be keeping abreast of the cattle trade, I imagine.

The only breast on the mind will be the turkey.

So this is really the last sober account of the cattle trade for 2015, next week will merely be window dressing.

The trade overall this week in the marts could best be summed up as being a bit like Conor McGregor’s fight on Saturday night.

The sales are finishing very strong, and the sales are finishing very quickly.

And my sentiments on the trade were echoed by Thurles mart manager Martin Ryan when he spoke to me about Monday’s cattle sale in Thurles.

“Yes I think it’s safe to say that the trade is finishing stronger for all kinds of stock this year.

“Quality overall on Monday was poorer than in previous weeks.

“However, for better quality stock, I felt prices were up approximately 5-10 cent per kg.

I thought cows were also up.”

So the only thing down in the ring over the past week was Jose Aldo.

And before he signed off for 2015, Martin had this to add, “As Monday was our last sale of the year, I would like to take the opportunity to wish all a wonderful festive season and a dream-fulfilling 2016.”

Thurles

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

7 AA steers 428kg 885

4 Fr steers 457kg 840

5 Ch steers 543kg 1300

8 Hr steers 435kg 1010

1 AA heifer 215kg 470

2 Lm heifers 295kg 685

5 Ch heifers 420kg 900

“We had a good steady trade for quality bullocks, with a stiffer trade for plainer lots,” was the report we received from Sean Leahy, mart manager in Corrin, after Tuesday’s cattle sale.

In Corrin, store bullocks made from €200 to €520 with the kilo, with beef bullocks making up to €600 with their weight. Sean reported a “steady trade” for heifers with a “large number of dry cows on offer”. Dry cows in Corrin on Tuesday sold from €430 to €1,150 a head.

Store heifers in Corrin made from €280 to €400 with the kilo, with butcher types making from €350 to €611 over the kilo.

Corrin

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 BB steers 490kg 1045

2 Fr steers 540kg 955

6 Lm steers 380kg 900

3 AA steers 520kg 1045

1 Sim heifer 500kg 1040

1 Hr heifer 600kg 1215

1 AA cow 800kg 1150

Finally for this week, we go to Kanturk mart where, after Tuesday’s cattle sale, mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe gave us this report.

“Despite the bad weather, we had a huge turn out from both buyers and sellers at our sale today with over 450 animals on offer, with our prices maintained on last week.

“Our final sale for 2015 is a show on Tuesday, December 22, for all animals in the mart, sponsored by North Cork Co-Op Creameries. Everyone is welcome.”

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