Ryanair boss and Angus breeder Michael O’Leary was right to ask for “a sensible question” on RTÉ Radio 1’s Liveline last week,.
In a world jammed full of nonsense and balderdash, sensible questions are in short supply. And it’s not just in RTÉ where sensible questions should be asked; in farming too, we could well do with asking some sensible and direct questions. One question that comes straight to mind is, where’s the money?
Where’s the money for the beef farmer? Where is the money for the hard worker who produces first rate, world beating, top class beef?
That stuff that brings the fancy restaurants of Europe to life. I’m don’t see a healthy return for my efforts, and I doubt if you do either.
We are the toast of the nation and yet we receive crumbs for our trouble. The only thing that is wrong with Irish beef today, is the manner in which the farmer is treated. The beef is doing fine, we are the ones getting the roasting.
It’s time we all started to ask the sensible question.
More importantly, it’s time we got some direct answers.
We will start this week’s look at the marts in Macroom, where I was on Saturday.
One thing that always strikes me about this mart is the distance that farmers travel with stock. I saw cattle on Saturday from 40 miles away. And the reason the sellers come is not for sightseeing purposes, but for price. The mart has a good reputation when it comes to selling cattle, and on Saturday it certainly lived up to its name. Some stock that caught my eye in the bullock ring were five good square Friesian stores born in the spring of 2016. These stores weighed 494kg and made €905. Another lot of five from the same farm in Dripsey weighed 473kg and sold for €840. Good cattle, good money. In Macroom mart on Saturday, dry cows sold from €105 to €790 over the kilo. Hereford and Aberdeen bullocks sold from €265 to €645 over their weight.
Heifers sold from €260 to €860 over their weight. Continental bullocks sold from €310 to €715 over the kilo. Weanling bulls in Macroom sold from €275 to €635 over their weight, with weanling heifers selling from €280 to €505 with the kilo.
3 AA steers 545kg 1190
2 Hr steers 445kg 1000
3 Ch steers 390kg 1030
2 Lm heifers 600kg 1460
1 Lm heifer 570kg 1280
1 Ch heifer 330kg 830
2 Lm cows 620kg 1110
Kilkenny mart had 800 cattle on offer last Thursday, and mart manager George Candler gave us all the details.
“Another good yard of cattle attracted plenty of buyers on Thursday, even allowing for the fact that some regulars were on holiday. There was a keen demand, especially for quality continentals. Quality Friesian bullocks made in excess of €2.15 per kilo with the bulk ranging from €1.80 to €2.05 per kilo. Store bullocks here peaked at €3 per kilo”
Continental dry cows in Kilkenny sold from €1.40 to €2.25 per kilo, with Friesian cull cows selling from €1.05 to €1.75 per kilo.
5 Hr steers 675kg 1330
6 Lm steers 465kg 1260
3 Fr steers 455kg 930
5 AA steers 415kg 845
5 Hr heifers 475kg 1000
3 Lm heifers 390kg 940
3 AA heifers 305kg 675
Kanturk mart on Tuesday had 470 cattle on offer. This number included 60 calves. Mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe had this to say on the sale. “When you spot a bullock weighing 795kg and selling for €1,710, you know you have very good selling conditions, thank God”.
On Tuesday next, August 1, Kanturk Mart will host an autumn born weanling show and sale, with 300 weanlings entered.
1 Sim steer 795kg 1710
6 Hr steers 755kg 1550
10 AA steers 635kg 1220
5 AA heifers 478kg 1010
8 Hr heifers 455kg 970
3 Fr heifers 610kg 1120
1 Fr cow 710kg 1070
In Skibbereen on Friday, dry cows sold from €125 to €660 with the kilo.
Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €380 to €700 with the weight. Continental bullocks sold from €400 to €800 with the kilo.
Friesian bullocks in Skibbereen sold from €200 to €400 with the kilo. Heifers sold from €300 to €700 with their weight. Weanling bulls made from €360 to €500 with the kilo.
2 Ch steers 680kg 1480
3 Lm steers 468kg 1170
6 Fr steers 430kg 720
2 Hr steers 397kg 890
1 Lm heifer 445kg 1140
1 Ch cow 795kg 1450
1 Sh cow 790kg 1300
Monday saw 1,000 stock at Kilmallock mart (up 320 cattle on the same sale last year).
“The very high prices being paid in all rings have sellers in great form. The highlight was in the bullock ring where two Simmental steers weighing 673 kg sold for €1,660,” said Denis Kirby of GVM.
In Kilmallock, bullocks sold for up to €2.47 per kg. Weanlings hit €2.68 per kg. Dry cows sold for up to €1,580 a head, or €1.99 per kg. Heifers made up to €3.21 per kg. In the dairy ring a five year old calved cow sold for €1,225. In the suckler ring, a seven-year-old Simmental and her Charolais bull calf made up to €1,330.
For the next two weeks, the weanling sale starts at 10am.
5 AA steers 397kg 840
3 Hr steers 310kg 710
3 Lm steers 528kg 1190
1 Sh steer 515kg 1090
2 Lm heifers 473kg 1160
1 Fr cow 760kg 1170
1 Hr cow 420kg 830
In Bandon mart on Monday, strong Friesian bull calves stole the show, at up to €400 a head. Dry cows here sold from €110 to €520 with the kilo. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks made from €285 to €605 with the weight. Continental bullocks sold from €335 to €730 with the kilo. Friesian bullocks made €200 to €480 with the kilo. Heifers made €290 to €620 with their weight.
4 Ch steers 495kg 1225
4 Sim steers 470kg 1050
6 AA steers 480kg 1005
5 Fr steers 550kg 955
2 Hr heifers 485kg 1030
1 Fr cow 760kg 1170
1 Sim cow 670kg 1190