Beef market report: Good mart trade with strong demand for Friesian bull calves

Last weekend came the news of another big star biting the dust. 2016 has seen a lot of them go.
Beef market report: Good mart trade with strong demand for Friesian bull calves

This time it was the turn of actor Robert Vaughn to bow out. The star of the 1960 hit movie, The Magnificent Seven, was the last of the gang to ride off into the sunset.

For those unaware of the film, it was a western where a gang of tough guys came to the rescue of peasant farmers, with our heroes helping them to root out bandits who were causing trouble.

A bit like Joe Healy and his band of brothers in the IFA, who after controversies erupted within the organisation this time last year, were promising change, and were really promising to kick ass.

And a year on, what has happened? Well of course there has been loads of change.

Milk prices for starters collapsed. That was a big change.

And the factory price for our beef has also taken a tumble, with the marts following suit.

A change has taken place alright, Joe, but not the kind of change we were hoping for. Asses are being kicked alright, but, alas, it’s our own.

Where is the kind of change we were promised?

And while I’m at it, where is all this transparency we were promised within the IFA?

For instance, how many people does the IFA employ in it’s livestock division? Who are they? How much are they paid? What exactly do they do? And how come, when I go to the marts, most farmers I talk to have never heard of them?

What’s going on, Joe? Where’s the action you promised? Alas, right now with beef prices collapsing, there’s more life and action to be found in the deceased members of The Magnificent Seven than there is in an IFA fight for us farmers.

On that sorrowful note, like a cowboy after taking a bullet to the gut, we begin our round up of this week’s mart trade.

We will start with Macroom. I was there on Saturday, and as always, it was hard to see the cattle, with the audience. A full house in every regard in the popular mart once again.

In Macroom on Saturday, dry cows sold from €190 under to €485 over the kilo.

Continental bullocks made from €295 to €625 over the kilo. Hereford and Aberdeen bullocks sold from €250 to €520 over their weight.

Weanling bulls in Macroom on Saturday sold from €300 to €540 over the kilo, with heifer weanlings making up to €255 to €515 over the kilo.



No Breed Sex Weight €

7 AA steers 460kg 955

7 Hr steers 370kg 740

2 AA steers 490kg 1010

1 Lm steer 545kg 1170

1 Lm steer 455kg 1015

1 Hr cow 815kg 1290

1 Sim cow 715kg 1200

As many of you will no doubt have heard, Cork Co-Op Marts has decided to pull the plug on its business of exporting dairy calves. A decision that has, naturally enough, exercised the brains and mouths of many within farm organisations.

Obviously, it could hardly be perceived as good news from a dairy farmer’s point of view, but we have to remember that not every farmer on planet earth is milking cows. Think for a moment about the poor forgotten soul called the calf-to-beef farmer. Do you remember him at all?

The poor neglected creature who only a few short years ago was encouraged by Teagasc, amongst others, to embark on a business of rearing cheap calves and selling expensive beef cattle.

A business alas that nowadays involves buying expensively priced calves and selling beef at a rock bottom price.

For the farmer involved in this otherwise bleak business, the thought that the ever busy hand of a mart buyer will no longer be active in the calf ring is surely good news.

The reason, I believe, that Cork Marts has backed away from exporting calves in the first place is due to its buyers struggling to secure the calf for a price that would make the whole exporting enterprise viable.

The calves of 2016 were too expensive for a profit margin.

So it’s not as if the calf trade is a sinking ship. In truth, it’s been coasting along like the Queen Mary all year long, oblivious to the general topsy-turvy trade for livestock.

Cork Marts is walking away from calf exporting because it can, and is perfectly entitled to do so. There will still be buyers for the calf at the mart in the spring of 2017, don’t worry about that. So less of the tears, please.

On that note, we head to Bandon mart, the mart of choice for many selling and buying dairy calves.

Bandon on Monday had 260 calves on offer, with mart manager Tom McCarthy reporting that “the strong demand for the Friesian bull calf continues.”

Friesian bull calves sold between €130 and €380 a head.

Dry cows here sold from €200 under to €400 with the kilo. Continental bullocks here sold from €400 to €620 with the weight.

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €300 to €650 with the kilo.

Friesian bullocks sold from €200 to €400 with the kilo. Heifers in Bandon made from €200 to €450 with the kilo.



No Breed Sex Weight €

5 Lm steers 537kg 1075

1 BB steer 400kg 910

4 Hr steers 311kg 670

6 Fr steers 599kg 965

1 Ch heifer 435kg 900

1 Fr cow 845kg 1160

2 Fr cows 702kg 940

We turn next to Kanturk mart, where mart manager, Seamus O’Keeffe, gave us the following report. “We had a weanling show and sale for spring born weanlings on Tuesday, with 340 weanlings entered. This event was sponsored by both Munster AI and Greenvale Animal Feed.

“Our supreme champion on Tuesday was a Belgian Blue bull weighing 365kg, sold for €900. The champion bull was owned by Edmond O’Mahony, Knockavoreen, Kiskeam.

!”Reserve Champion was awarded to a Charolais male owned by Corneilus Dineen, Rathduane, Rathmore. This weanling weighed 435kg and sold for €1,040. The best pen on Tuesday went to three Charolais bulls, weighing 415kg, they made €1,000 a head. Our annual fat stock show and sale is on November 29.

“All are welcome.”



No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Hr steers 725kg 1250

3 Lm steers 600kg 1190

2 AA steers 580kg 1075

1 Sim heifer 525kg 940

4 Ch heifers 460kg 870

1 Sim cow 825kg 1070

1 Fr cow 735kg 1030

Kilmallock mart had 1,324 cattle on offer last Monday, this number included 260 dry cows. Bullock prices were much improved here, Denis Kirby of Kilmallock said.



No Breed Sex Weight €

6 Hr steers 371kg 735

4 AA steers 356kg 730

4 Lm steers 458kg 1105

1 Ch steer 525kg 1065

1 AA heifer 490kg 940

2 Ch heifers 253kg 600

1 Lm cow 420kg 740

In Kilmallock on Monday bullocks sold for up to €1,210 a head, or €2.41 per kg. Dry cows hit €1285 each or €2.41 per kg.

Heifers sold to a high of €980 each, or €2.38/kg. Weanling bulls hit €860 each or €2.73 per kg , while weanling heifers sold for up to €705 each, or €2.80 per kg. Runner type calves made up to €635 (for a 24-week-old Aberdeen Angus bull) while younger types reached up to €400, with Friesian bulls making up to €160.

Dairy stock made up to €1,010 (paid for a two-year-old in-calf heifer), while sucklers hit €1,550 (for a two-year-old Limousin and her Limousin bull calf). With Kilmallock seeing large number of dry cows over the coming weeks, sellers are encouraged to pen stock early. The dry cow sale here commences at 10am.



No Breed Sex Weight €

5 Hr steers 651kg 1135

2 AA steers 535kg 1065

3 Lm heifers 520kg 1050

2 Lm heifers 425kg 835

1 Sim cow 690kg 1035

2 AA cows 587kg 810

1 Fr cow 620kg 670

Next we go to Dungarvan mart, where mart manager, Ger Flynn, gave us the following report, “We had a big sale of cattle here on Monday, with a good trade all round, slightly improved from last week. There was a big increase in dry cow numbers, with a full clearance rate.”



No Breed Sex Weight €

4 Ch steers 480kg 1060

6 Fr steers 520kg 880

7 Hr steers 370kg 775

1 BB heifer 540kg 1180

2 AA heifers 540kg 980

4 Hr heifers 527kg 930

1 Lm cow 640kg 1040

Next we go to Tuesday’s sale at Corrin Mart in Co Cork.

“We had a stronger trade here on Tuesday for bullocks with a good demand for all weight types.” Corrin mart manager, Sean Leahy reported after Tuesday’s cattle sale. “We also had a large entry of dry cow with a steady trade for heifers.”

In Corrin on Tuesday, store bullocks made from €150 to €420 over the kilo, with beef bullocks making up to €620 with the kilo. Heifers in Corrin sold from €220 to €480 over the kilo, with butcher types making up to €640 with the kilo. Dry cows here sold from €400 to €1,040 a head.



No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Ch steer 505kg 1150

2 AA steers 315kg 640

5 Fr steers 483kg 790

1 Lm heifer 480kg 1090

4 BB heifers 427kg 820

1 Hr cow 780kg 1110

1 Lm cow 730kg 1070

Skibbereen mart on Friday had 100 dry cows on offer and here they made from €200 under to €350 with the kilo.

Continental bullocks sold from €400 up to €700 with their weight.

Friesian bullocks here made from €260 to €400 over the kilo.

Hereford and Angus bullocks made from €370 to €650 with the kilo.

Heifers in Skibbereen sold from €250to €620 with the kilo. Weanling bulls sold from €350 to €600 with the kilo.

Weanling heifers made from €250 to €505 with their weight.

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