Cattle marts report: Marts feel Halloween chill as factory prices are a real horror story

In this week of Halloween, it seems the real horror stories are to be found at the beef factory.
Cattle marts report: Marts feel Halloween chill as factory prices are a real horror story

With a quote of €3.60/kg for the steer, once again they seem to be the ones doing the killing and making a killing. Will the torture of the Irish beef farmer ever cease?

The only good news story for beef farmers this week comes in the guise of a report from the construction industry stating that it will require an additional 76,000 workers over the next four years.

In a year that has seen many beef farmers reeling as they struggle to make any reasonable profit, the building site and the part time job could well be the only option left open.

A sad refection really for a country that prides itself as a world beater when it comes to beef production. A proud boast indeed, to have a first class product produced by an almost forgotten people.

This has been a nightmare year for beef farmers. And it’s a horror story that can only cease when factory quotes rise from the crypt and come to a more life-supporting level.

In the marts, as usual, we seem to be shielded from the meat factory horrors, with buyers I spoke to during the week still adamant that mart prices are too strong, given the poor returns from the factory.

In Bandon on Monday, mart manager Tom McCarthy reported a ‘brisk trade’ for dry cows.

Bandon mart had 135 dry cows on offer. Calf numbers here too are also on the rise, Bandon had well over 300 calves on offer on Monday, with a plentiful selection of runner type calves on offer.

In Bandon on Monday dry cows sold from €200 under to €415 with the kilo. Continental bullocks here made from €400 to €675 over the kilo.

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €350 to €520 with the kilo. Friesian bullocks in Bandon made from €200 to €400 with the weight. Heifers in Bandon on Monday made from €200 to €500 with the kilo.

Bandon

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Ch steers 501kg 970

5 Lm steers 535kg 1210

10 Hr heifers 454kg 795

2 Lm heifers 497kg 880

1 Au cow 720kg 1070

1 Ch cow 740kg 1100

1 Fr cow 715kg 1130

Next we turn to Kilkenny cattle sale and to mart manager, George Candler, who gave us this report following last Thursday’s mart. “We had a somewhat smaller sale here on Thursday in Kilkenny with 1100 stock on offer.

“Uncertainty is still the main negative affecting the trade. Uncertainty coming first and foremost from the fallout after the Brexit vote. And then of course the reduction in factory quotes is not instilling confidence either.

“Allowing for all these issues however, there are still brave farmers purchasing cattle and paying from €1.75 to €2.10 for Aberdeen Angus, Hereford and Friesian bullocks. Quality Friesians peaked here at €1.85 per kilo.

"Forward store continental bullocks peaked at €2.50 per kilo, with lighter lots selling up to €2.60 per kilo. The heifer trade proved steady rather than spectacular, with Aberdeen Angus heifers ranging in price from €1.80 to €2.10 per kilo.”

Kilkenny

Thursday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Lm steer 740kg 1560

3 Fr steers 715kg 1180

1 BB steer 480kg 1080

4 AA steers 395kg 720

2 Ch steers 375kg 950

1 Lm heifer 505kg 1220

5 Ch heifers 455kg 1110

A number of marts have recently installed new-fangled information boards. These state-of-the art yokes will give us all the details we might ever desire about the animal in the ring. Everything is up there now, there is nothing left to the imagination.

Indeed, auctioneers themselves had better watch out, for the computer is now making serious inroads into their position. At this stage, with the mighty board, there is very little for the auctioneer to announce, only the price.

Bandon mart on Monday had the board proudly on display, likewise Macroom on Saturday. And while many might welcome the development, I don’t. There is far too much literature following the animal now, if you ask me.

To be honest, I still have a hankering for the old chalk and slate days of my father’s time. A time when a scribble of chalk was the only mark you required before the hand was away.

And of course, in times when the chalk had a smudged look to it, you could always depend on auctioneers like Jack McGraw to mutter something on the merits of the animal, and what more did you need? You weren’t buying the moon after all, you were only buying a bullock.

Anyway, sticking with bullocks, in Skibbereen mart on Friday continental bullocks sold for up to €640 with their weight. Friesian bullocks here made from €200 to €350 over the kilo.

Hereford and Angus bullocks made from €375 to €440 with the kilo. Heifers in Skibbereen sold from €235 to €530 with the kilo. In Skibbereen dry cows made from €130 under to €400 with the kilo.

Weanling bulls sold from €290 to €670 with the kilo. Weanling heifers made from €275 to €260 with their weight.

Skibbereen

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Ch steers 605kg 1245

1 Bax steer 510kg 1020

3 Hr steers 465kg 905

2 AA steers 440kg 790

1 Ch heifer 425kg 800

1 Fr cow 680kg 855

1 Sim cow 760kg 1160

Another big sale of cattle in Corrin on Tuesday, the mart had 1,000 on offer.

“We had a stronger trade for bullocks today, an improved trade for all bullocks,” mart manager Sean Leahy told me later on Tuesday.

In Corrin on Tuesday store bullocks made from €100 to €380 over the kilo. Beef bullocks in Corrin made up to €700 with their weight.

There was a steady trade for heifers in Corrin with stores making from €200 to €330 over the kilo, and butcher types making up to €670 with the kilo. A large dry cow sale saw dry cows selling from €400 to €1,090 a head.

Corrin

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Lm steers 540kg 1215

4 Hr steers 497kg 895

8 Sim steers 498kg 900

2 AA steers 390kg 770

3 Lm heifers 460kg 1060

1 Ch cow 820kg 1090

1 Fr cow 797kg 1020

Demand was strong, once again, for cattle in Macroom on Saturday, with the mart having a large number of stock. In Macroom on Saturday dry cows sold from €175 under to €580 over the kilo.

Continental bullocks made from €295 to €570 over the kilo. Hereford and Aberdeen bullocks sold from €240 to €480 over their weight. Heifers sold from €245 to €625 over the kilo.

Weanling bulls in Macroom on Saturday sold from €285 to €590 over the kilo, with heifer weanlings making from €255 to €505 over the kilo.

Macroom

Saturday

No Breed Sex Weight €

5 AA steers 405kg 800

3 Hr steers 460kg 940

1 Lm steer 560kg 1130

1 Ch steer 430kg 970

1 Ch heifer 660kg 1280

1 Lm cow 775kg 1100

1 Ch cow 820kg 1400

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

“We had a sale of 582 animals today with 150 weanlings. Cattle prices were up on last week with dry cows making €1/kg to €300 with their weight,” said Seamus.

“Bullocks were a great trade, especially Aberdeen Angus and Continentals. Our next weanling show and sale will be held on November 15, with our annual fat stock show and sale on November 29. Entry forms are now available from the office.”

Kanturk

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

5 Ch steers 630kg 1180

3 Hr steers 560kg 1045

3 Lm steers 480kg 1005

2 Hr heifers 580kg 1000

1 Lm heifer 400kg 945

1 Lm cow 730kg 1010

1 Fr cow 815kg 1100

Kilmallock mart had over 1,400 stock on offer last Monday, and here auctioneers reported an improved trade.

The mart had 297 buyers coming from all over the country. Bullocks in Kilmallock sold for up to €1,500 each or €2.38 per kg. Dry cows hit €1,390 a head or €1.75 per kg.

Heifers sold to a high of €1,175 each or €2.20 per kg. Weanlings (Kilmallock had 500 on offer) made up to €980 each or €3.03 per kg for bulls, while heifers hit €930 each or €2.73 per kg.

There were 74 buyers of weanlings at the mart.

In the suckler ring, a top price of €1,580 was paid for a six year old Limousin and her Charolais heifer calf.

In the dairy ring €1,020 was paid for a four-year-old calved cow.

The runner type calf made up to €720 on Monday, with a 10 day old Charolais bull making €510 at the sale.

On this coming Monday, November 7, Kilmallock mart will hold its autumn dairy show and sale. This sale starts at 11am sharp.

On offer will be 20 breeding heifers, 30 calved heifers, 10 freshly calved cows and 80 spring calvers, mostly heifers.

Kilmallock

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Ch steers 378kg 900

5 Hr steers 365kg 740

2 Lm steers 498kg 1050

3 Fr steers 650kg 1115

1 Lm heifer 330kg 725

1 Hr heifer 340kg 660

1 AA cow 465kg 810

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