We have now just come through our ‘ninth winter Atlantic storm’ as the experts put it, and at this point our fields are saturated, grass growth is at a standstill.
Should the situation continue, confidence will certainly start to erode, and the mart trade will eventually suffer as a consequence.
It can be hard to be inspired to go to the mart and wave your hand in the direction of store cattle when it’s paddy fields and not grass fields you have on the farm.
So if you are in the business of prayer, might I suggest that you get busy. We will need to be feeling the spring in our step soon, or else the spring will go from the mart trade.
For now, the mart trade is bearing up.
And our first call this week is to Dungarvan, where mart manger Ger Flynn gave us the following report.
“Despite the inclement weather conditions, the trade here was good for all types of quality stores, with an excellent trade for forward dry cows.”
2 BB steers 527kg 1105
5 Lm steers 499kg 1080
7 Ch steers 415g 945
3 Ch heifers 475kg 980
2 Lm heifers 400kg 910
2 Hr heifers 420kg 805
1 Fr cow 755kg 1060
Calf numbers have finally begun to rise in Bandon.
On Monday the mart had 750 calves on offer with the calf trade here remaining strong.
In Bandon on Monday dry cows made from €40 to €520 with the kilo.
Bullocks in Bandon sold from €270 to €540 with their weight.
While heifers in Bandon made from €300 to €600 with the kilo.
2 Hr steers 490kg 1030
4 Hr steers 481kg 1000
1 AA steer 455kg 900
5 Fr steers 475kg 810
2 AA heifers 530kg 1100
1 Hr heifer 515kg 1020
1 Fr cow 595kg 1110
By Tuesday morning the weather had picked up greatly.
It was sunshine all the way as I left for Corrin mart. However by the time I arrived at the mart the weather had gone astray yet again.
It was like the Antarctic in Fermoy and I, like Tom Crean himself, had to wrap up well before making the cold trek from my jeep to the mart.
The first farmer I met in Corrin on Tuesday was an old friend of the family and he greeted me thus;
“I cannot believe,” says he with a smile, “and I’ve said this before, that you get paid for doing what you do.”
The man of course was talking sense. He’s convinced that I’m an out-and-out bluffer. And shaking his hand, I couldn’t agree with him more.
“I’m a bit like Kim Jong-un and his rockets,” I told him. “I’m all hot air.”
And speaking of bluffers and blowing hot air, I didn’t spot any politician in Corrin on Tuesday.
You’d think with the election only days away that the place would be crawling with them. But no.
I guess the inclement weather kept them away.
Finally, after all that, we turn to the cattle trade in Corrin.
On Tuesday the mart had 800 cattle on offer with the lousy weather having no ill-effect on the trade.
Mart manger Sean Leahy told me that the excellent trade for bullocks is continuing.
“Today once again, we had a strong demand for all types,” he said.
In Corrin on Tuesday store bullocks sold from €200 to €520 over the kilo, with forward store bullocks making up to €710 with their weight.
Store heifers in Corrin made up to €500 over, with butcher types making up to €705 with the kilo.
Dry cows here sold from €560 to €1,150 a head.
1 Ch steer 600kg 1225
4 Fr steers 420kg 780
7 AA steers 380kg 850
1 Lm heifer 575kg 1280
1 Hr heifer 485kg 1040
1 Lm heifer 555kg 1250
1 Fr cow 650kg 1150
“Last Monday morning was terrible weather wise with gale force winds and torrential rain.
And due to this our sale here was smaller than expected with 1,020 stock on offer,” Denis Kirby of Kilmallock mart told me during the week.
“However with over 200 buyers in attendance, prices remain strong,” he added.
Light bullocks on show in Kilmallock sold for up €3.38 per kg, with stronger bullocks making €2.30 per kg. Some Friesian bullocks made over €2 per kg in Kilmallock on Monday.
Heifers here sold for up to €3.06 per kg, with dry cows selling to a high of €1.73 per kg. In calf dairy heifers hit a high of €1,550.
While sucklers sold for up to €1,460 (a good price which was paid for one three-year-old Simmental, time up in 10 days to Limousin).
Kilmallock had 400 calves on offer and a lively trade was reported with beef breeds making up to €560 each.
Friesian bull calves hit a high of €285.
As the sales in Kilmallock are now starting to get bigger, the calf sale will commence at 9.30am, with dry cows starting at 10.30am.
1 AA steer 390kg 800
1 Fr steer 355kg 690
2 BB steers 535kg 1060
4 Hr steers 491kg 1000
4 Ch heifers 338kg 870
1 BB heifer 235kg 720
1 Fr cow 485kg 820
Next we move to Kanturk cattle mart and to mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe, who gave us the following report after Tuesday’s cattle sale.
“We had a big sale today considering the terrible weather in the morning.
"In our calf ring we had 250 calves with plenty of customers for calves three weeks old and numerous enquiries for good quality Friesian bull calves.
“And just a reminder that our calf collection service is now in full swing and we will collect, number and sell your calves for your convenience.
"Simply ring the office on 029 50081 to organise this. We have installed a new, faster calf intake also for your convenience this year. All our intakes are open from 7am.
“Our next dairy and suckler sale here in Kanturk is on February 20th, beginning at 1pm.
"On that day we will have a clearance sale of 40 top class Limousin cows, including ten three-year-old heifers from a prize winning herd.
8 Fr steers 330kg 640
5 AA steers 272kg 660
4 AA steers 402kg 815
1 Ch heifer 325kg 700
1 AA heifer 530kg 1070
1 Fr cow 730kg 1030
1 Hr cow 775kg 1070
“We had a bigger sale of cattle on Saturday with a similar trade to last week.
"There was a big increase in the number of calves on offer, with shippers and farmers very active at ringside,” was the report that we received from mart manager John O’Mahony after Saturday’s cattle sale in Macroom.
And in Macroom on Saturday, dry cows sold from €100 to €405 over the kilo. Bullocks here made from €210 to €585 over the kilo.
With heifers selling from €215 to €565 over the kilo.
4 Lm steers 455kg 1055
2 AA steers 420kg 950
4 Hr steers 380kg 835
2 Ch steers 305kg 815
1 AA heifer 500kg 1065
1 Ch heifer 365kg 835
1 Fr cow 745kg 1120
In Skibbereen on Friday mart manager Tom McCarthy reported “bigger numbers are starting to come out”.
And dry cows sold from €1/kg to €750 with the kilo. Bullocks sold from €300 to €750 with the kilo. Heifers ranged in price from €350 to €700 with the kilo.
1 BB steer 550kg 1300
2 Sh steers 480kg 1100
4 Hr steers 332kg 765
2 Hr heifers 645kg 1260
1 Lm heifer 495kg 1180
1 Hr cow 675kg 1060
1 Ch cow 650kg 1390
Finally to Thurles, where mar manager Martin Ryan said: “Numbers on offer were lower than expected, largely due to bad weather.
"All stock made high prices; most cattle on offer being lighter stores; an exceptional trade for cull cows, steers and heifers.”
3 Lm steers 446kg 1115
1 BB steer 345kg 815
2 Ch steers 382kg 870
4 AA steers 265kg 590
5 Fr steers 497kg 965
3 Lm heifers 463kg 990
1 Hr heifer 230kg 540
And before we wrap up for this week, I can fully understand today if our mart report wasn’t the first thing you reached for.
With tickets for the big Bruce Springsteen concert in Croke Park this summer going fast this morning, understandably enough many of you will have only ‘The Boss’ on the brain.
I saw Springsteen the last time that he played a run of concerts in Ireland and not only did he rock the nation, but — more importantly still — he brought good weather with him.
So in that regard at least , I think we can all agree that The Boss really can’t come soon enough.