Breeders frustrated as beef prices stay low despite ‘supply glut’ failing to materialise

I took a few cattle to the mart at the start of the week — purely for research purposes, of course. Honestly, sometimes I wonder do I take my job of giving you an accurate account of the mart trade far too seriously?
Breeders frustrated as beef prices stay low despite ‘supply glut’ failing to materialise

Anyway, what I discovered most of all this week is that I am now very nervous about the whole process of selling cattle.

Back in 2015, I was a much more devil-may-care sort of fellow about my prospects (that possibly had something to do with the price). Back in 2015, I used to go to the mart in a calm and serene manner. And in the darkened seller’s box, I could well doze off, only to be woken by the auctioneer as he informed me of the wonderful price my Friesian bullocks had made. 2015 was a delightful year to be a seller of cattle at the mart.

Well, it sure is a different story now. This year, with the store back by at least €100 euros a head, it’s with eyes darting around us that we enter that dreaded seller’s box. It is to the sound of nails being bitten that auctioneers do their work.

And while this nervous state has, of course, a lot to do with the poorer price we are getting, it also has a lot to do with the scaremongering that took place earlier in the year regarding the autumn trade. Dire predictions were made from ‘experts’ about this infamous ‘glut of cattle’ that were destined to stampede into the cattle marts this autumn, causing all kinds of trouble. Mainly price trouble.

So where’s the glut? And where are the experts now to answer the questions? As the first week of October passes by, ‘the glut’ has yet to appear. I saw no sign of ‘the glut’ in Bandon on Monday. It must be still up the fields someplace skulking around the bushes.

In fact, there was a good appetite for store cattle in Bandon on Monday, I was glad I went. The trade is up on what it was a month ago.

Looking at the bullock trade, one of the best sellers right now is the 400kg to 500kg Angus or Hereford.

Five Aberdeen Angus steers weighing 398kg sold for €855 in Bandon, with three more weighing 420kg making €875. All were born in early 2015. Friesian bullocks between 440kg and 580kg are also in good demand. Two lots of five Friesian steers, one lot weighing 580kg sold for €930 on Monday, with a second weighing 570kg selling for €920.

In Bandon on Monday, dry cows sold for from €140 under to €415 with the kilo. Continental bullocks on Monday made from €390 to €620 over the kilo. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €320 to €535 with the kilo. Friesian bullocks in Bandon made from €130 to €390 with the weight. Heifers in Bandon on Monday made from €290 to €540 with the kilo.



No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Sim steers 580kg 1200

4 Ch steers 445kg 990

2 Lm heifers 330kg 705

1 Hr heifer 320kg 635

1 Ch heifer 500kg 1040

1 Fr cow 600kg 1000

1 AA cow 835kg 1250

During last week’s televised US presidential debate, presidential hopeful Donald Trump was said to have been suffering from a bout of the sniffles.

He denied this of course, blaming his microphone, or his hair, or some other foreign object that he claimed was distorting the sounds that he was attempting to make.

Anyway, regardless of whether Donald’s nose was running or not, on our farms over the past week, the recent swing to more wet and wild conditions has lead to a bout of sniffling from the snouts of many animals. Leading in some cases to pneumonia.

I had one case here on Sunday, with a weanling bull getting all hot and bothered. Pneumonia in smaller cattle is rampant at the moment, the vet was telling me as she treated the animal later in the day. So keep an eye open for the sniffles and don’t be living in denial.

Moving on, we head next to Dungarvan mart and to mart manager Ger Flynn who gave us this report after Monday’s cattle sale: “We had a big cattle sale here on Monday with a steady trade all round for both bullocks and heifers.

“Dry cow numbers are on the increase also,” he said.



2 Ch steers 597kg 1170

1 BB steer 555kg 1095

4 Fr steers 610kg 1040

1 Sim heifer 550kg 1140

2 Hr heifers 482kg 925

1 Ch cow 700kg 1090

1 Fr cow 730kg 1030

Kilmallock mart on Monday had 1400 stock on offer. The trade here was described by Denis Kirby of Kilmallock mart as, “steady for quality stock, with demand for the plainer animal a little slower.”

In Kilmallock on Monday bullocks sold for up to €2.43 per kg. Heifers went to a high of €2.37 per kg. Dry cows hit €1.55 per kg. Weanling bulls (Kilmallock had 280 on offer) made up to €3.03 per kg, while weanling heifers made up to €2.74/kg. Runner type calves hit €660 (which was paid for a 25-week-old Hereford bull).

With cattle sales in Kilmallock now very large, bullocks and dry cow sales are beginning at 10 a.m, with weanling sales starting at 10.30am. Sellers are reminded that all 2014 born bullocks and the first 20 pens of 2015 bullocks must be in the yard by 9.30am.



No Breed Sex Weight €

3 AA steers 398kg 820

2 Hr steers 393kg 800

3 Lm steers 358kg 720

5 Fr steers 391kg 660

2 Ch heifers 498kg 1180

1 AA heifer 330kg 735

1 Fr cow 465kg 710

This coming Saturday, October 8, Macroom mart will hold a weanling show and sale. At last Saturday’s cattle sale in Macroom, dry cows sold from €160 under to €435 over the kilo. Continental bullocks sold from €290 to €600 over the kilo. Hereford and Aberdeen bullocks sold from €240 to €480 over their weight. Heifers in Macroom on Saturday sold from €240 to €670 over the kilo. Weanling bulls in Macroom sold from €290 to €650 with the kilo, while weanling heifers sold from €245 to €590 over the kilo.



No Breed Sex Weight €

6 AA steers 415kg 830

4 Ch steers 540kg 1140

5 Lm steers 440kg 1035

1 Ch heifer 580kg 1250

3 Ch heifers 385kg 820

1 Fr cow 690kg 925

1 Lm cow 745kg 1180

We go next to Kanturk, where mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe gave us the following report following Tuesday’s cattle sale.

“Despite the poor weather over the weekend, we had a great sale here on Tuesday with 724 cattle on offer,” he said. “There was a lively trade in both rings with buyers and sellers countrywide present. Our next weanling show and sale is on October 18. This will be for spring born weanlings, and is sponsored by Dovea Genetics.”



1 Lm steer 590kg 1195

1 Hr steer 575kg 1090

2 Ch steers 570kg 1085

1 Sim heifer 620kg 1190

3 AA heifers 585kg 1070

1 Ch heifer 515kg 995

1 Fr cow 770kg 1130

Skibbereen mart manager Tom McCarthy reported that numbers of cattle are starting to pick up, as the west Cork mart gears up to face into the last quarter of the year.

In Skibbereen mart on Friday dry cows sold from €200 under to €350 with the kilo. Continental bullocks here made from €400 to €650 with their weight.

Friesian bullocks here sold from €200 to €400 over the kilo. Hereford and Angus bullocks made from €320 to €550 with the kilo.

Heifers in Skibbereen mart sold from €280 to €665 with the kilo. Weanling bulls made from €350 to €600 with their weight, while weanling heifers sold from €300 to €520 with the kilo.



No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Sim steers 701kg 1340

2 Lm steers 590kg 1160

6 AA steers 400kg 820

2 Lm heifers 515kg 1040

1 Ch heifer 665kg 1330

1 Fr cow 710kg 930

1 Lm cow 690kg 1040

Corrin mart had a large sale of cattle on Tuesday with 1200 on offer.

Mart manager Sean Leahy reported “a good trade for bullocks and heifers, with a similar trade to the previous week for dry cows.”

In Corrin mart on Tuesday store bullocks sold from €80 to €440 over the kilo, with beef bullocks making up to €630 over the kilo.

Store heifers in Corrin on Tuesday made from €170 to €420 over the kilo, with butcher types making up to €730 over the kilo.



No Breed Sex Weight €

4 AA steers 477kg 955

3 Lm steers 445kg 1020

1 Ch steer 735kg 1365

1 Ch heifer 390kg 805

1 BB heifer 500kg 1230

1 AA cow 730kg 1050

1 Fr cow 600kg 740

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