Week of fine weather offers welcome relief from challenges of cattle mart prices

The past week of unexpected fine weather has been nothing short of fantastic.
Week of fine weather offers welcome relief from challenges of cattle mart prices

When a fellow can head outdoors and check his cattle with just his shoes on, you know that things have taken a turn for the better.

A bit like Britney Spears’s recent wardrobe malfunction, it was a delightful surprise to get so late in the year.

Just when we thought we were facing a winter of falling rain and falling prices, we get a reprieve. For, unlike Britney Spears, where her wardrobe malfunction clearly lead to instability, on our farms the return to more favourable conditions has led to stability. Stability at the marts, stability in prices.

In Macroom mart last Saturday, a large sale of cattle met with a good demand. Buyers I met after the sale spoke of being under pressure to secure stock, with prices firmer than many had been expecting.

Macroom

Saturday

No Breed Sex Weight €

4 Hr steers 430kg 885

5 Ch steers 590kg 1190

1 Lm steer 480kg 1045

2 Lm heifers 532kg 1120

2 Lm heifers 415kg 910

2 AA heifer 430kg 890

1 Ch cow 780kg 1240

In Macroom on Saturday dry cows sold from €170 under to €475 over the kilo. Continental bullocks made from €395 to €600 over the kilo. Hereford and Aberdeen bullocks sold from €250 to €520 over their weight. Heifers sold from €245 to €625 over the kilo. Weanling bulls in Macroom on Saturday sold from €280 to €555 over the kilo, with heifer weanlings making from €230 to €500 over the kilo.

Skibbereen

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Ch steers 492kg 1090

5 Lm steers 516kg 1100

3 AA steers 528kg 1000

5 Hr heifers 398kg 830

3 AA heifers 558kg 970

1 Ch heifer 600kg 1120

1 BBx cow 535kg 900

Well, you sure know beef farmers are in trouble, when Larry Goodman himself is speaking on our behalf.

Last week, with Brexit still on the minds of many, Mr Goodman spoke of his concern for the “money in farmers’ pockets”.

After a year of falling prices at the factory, after a year when the plight of the dairy farmer has been voiced at every turn, we in the beef industry get Larry Goodman leading the charge on our behalf! To paraphrase Charles Dickens, “we may as well retire to bedlam”.

And moving quickly on, before the blood really begins to boil, we head next to Skibbereen where on Friday last weanling bulls sold from €2.10/kg to €2.92/kg.

Weanling heifers made from €2/kg to €2.60/kg.

In Skibbereen mart, dry cows sold from €200 under to €365 with the kilo.

Continental bullocks here made from €305 to €605 with their weight.

Friesian bullocks here sold from €165 to €405 over the kilo. Hereford and Angus bullocks made from €265 to €515 with the kilo.

Heifers in Skibbereen sold from €250 to €520 with the kilo.

Dungarvan

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Hr steers 792kg 1405

5 Lm steers 604kg 1245

1 BB heifer 580kg 1135

1 AA heifer 545kg 1045

1 Lm cow 770kg 990

1 AA cow 770kg 990

1 Fr cow 805kg 1120

“We had a very big sale of cattle here on Monday, with a steadier trade throughout. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of dry cows coming to the mart over the last few weeks,” Ger Flynn, manager of Dungarvan Mart, reported after last Monday’s cattle sale.

Bandon

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 BB steer 530kg 1200

3 Lm steers 495kg 975

4 Hr steers 556kg 1010

5 Fr steers 455kg 825

1 Lm heifer 520kg 1135

4 AA heifers 458kg 805

1 Fr cow 815kg 1120

Bandon mart on Monday had 200 calves on offer. There was a good demand for runner type calves with Hereford bulls, Continental bulls and heifers making over €600 a head.

Bandon had 120 dry cows on offer on Monday, with cows selling from €200 under to €305 with the kilo. Continental bullocks on Monday made from €400 to €650 over the kilo. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €300 to €500 with the kilo. Friesian bullocks in Bandon made from €200 to €400 with the weight. Heifers in Bandon on Monday made from €200 to €615 with the kilo.

Corrin

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Ch steers 475kg 950

3 Hr steers 428kg 810

4 Lm steers 485kg 970

10 AA steers 521kg 915

1 Hr steer 505kg 945

5 AA steers 451kg 765

3 Fr steers 505kg 750

While the lighter, plainer Friesian store bullock (400kg and under) is taking a hammering at the mart right now, in many cases struggling to reach €200 with the kilo, in Corrin on Tuesday the heavier quality Friesian was in demand.

Two lots that caught my eye were five good square Friesians, weighing 510kg and selling for €845, and another six weighing 470kg which made €835. Good money I felt, for stock born in early 2015.

While at the mart I met Corrin mart manager, Sean Leahy, and he had this to say. “Numbers of cattle have increased here over the past three weeks, we are now seeing bigger sales than we had this time last year.”

However, having said that, Sean felt dry cow numbers have yet to pick up (Corrin had 120 dry cows on Tuesday). “The weather is too good at the moment,” Sean said, “with farmers content to hold onto dry cows for now.”

“The trade overall is good, with fleshy Friesian bullocks over 500kg selling well.

Lighter continental stores, next years finished cattle, are also selling well.”

Kilmallock

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 AA steers 378kg 800

3 Ch steers 548kg 1185

5 Hr steers 484kg 960

2 Lm steers 568kg 1200

2 AA heifers 345kg 655

1 Lm heifer 495kg 1000

1 Fr cow 640kg 910

Kilmallock mart had 1,589 cattle and calves on offer on Monday last, with Denis Kirby of GVM reporting “a steady trade with 274 buyers at the ringside”.

Bullocks here sold for up to €1,235 a head or €2.25 per kg. Kilmallock had 183 dry cows on offer and they made up to €1,175 each, or €1.69 per kg. Heifers sold for up to €1,175 each, or €2.16 per kg.

Weanling bulls made up to €1,060 each, or €2.78 per kg, while weanling heifers hit €805 each or €2.72 per kg.

Runner type calves made up to €640 a head (paid out for a 30-week-old Charolais bull), while younger lots made €400.

Suckler cows sold for up to €1,500 (which was paid for a four-year-old Simmental and her Simmental heifer calf).

This forthcoming bank holida,y Monday, October 31, Kilmallock mart is expecting to see one of its biggest sales of the autumn. It is important therefore that cattle are penned early.

All intakes in Kilmallock will open at 8am with sales commencing at 10am.

Kanturk

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

5 AA steers 540kg 975

4 Fr steers 620kg 960

1 Lm steer 565kg 1150

1 Ch heifer 685kg 1400

3 Lm heifers 505kg 1170

1 Lm cow 715kg 1100

1 Fr cow 790kg 1100

We turn next to Kanturk mart and to Seamus O’Keeffe, who had the following to report after Tuesday’s cattle sale.

“At Tuesday’s cattle sale we had 746 stock on offer including 170 weanlings. The trade was maintained with plenty of buyers ringside.

“Our next weanling show and sale is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, November 15, with our annual fat stock show and sale on Tuesday, November 29. Entry forms are available from the office.”

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