Denis Lehane analyses the effect of the Scrooge-like beef barons on the cattle mart trade

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, so what better time then to look at the cattle trade.

Denis Lehane analyses the effect of the Scrooge-like beef barons on the cattle mart trade

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, so what better time then to look at the cattle trade/

With our chestnuts starting to roast on an open fire, our faces aglow, and even our meat factories raising their price in honour of the big day, God bless us everyone, things really couldn’t get any better.

The only substance missing is the snow, snow falling all around, and old Shaky Stephens dancing with Santa Claus.

And there was I, and you too probably, thinking that our meat factories were run by covetous old cranks who couldn’t give a toss about you or me.

But they do give a toss!

They do!

They have tossed us a shilling of an increase on steers, my lad, God bless us everyone.

A shilling of a Christmas bonus. A shilling that will most certainly be put to good use purchasing gifts and presents for family and friends.

A shilling that would surely warm the cockles of any heart.

So I ask you, I plead with you, I beseech you, to raise a glass in honour of the Work House, sorry, I mean the meat factory. The place that exudes generosity. The place, my dear friends, that has made our life and indeed our industry what it is today.

It really does bring a tear to the eye, excuse me while I blow my nose.

But celebrations aside, we must get back to reality.

We must get back to real business. Just because it’s Christmastime at the meat factory, we can’t lose the head entirely.

Back in the real world, at the cattle mart, this week we see numbers remaining high, with prices to match. It’s as straightforward as that.

We will start with Geraldine Walsh of Clare Co-Op Marts, who gave us this report after last Thursday’s cattle sale in Ennis.

We had a good entry of stock on Thursday, with almost 700 on offer. The trade for store bullocks was very strong, up €20/head on last week. Cows and heifers similar to last week.

“A good entry of aged bulls averaged €1.48/kg. A top call of €1,540 was paid for a Hereford bull of 992kgs.

“We had plenty of customers for all stock.”

Looking at the more recent sale of weanlings and sucklers at Ennis mart on Tuesday, Ann Keane of Clare Co-Op Marts reported, “We had a bigger sale than expected on Tuesday, with over 300 head on offer.

“Overall, the trade finished up on a positive note for the year-end.

“A very mixed run of suckler stock topped out at €1,490.

“Runner heifers made to €745 and runner bulls to €770.



No Breed Sex Weight €

4 Ch steers 476kg 1220

1 Lm steer 420kg 1130

2 Hr steers 612kg 1105

3 Ch steers 572kg 1285

3 Hr heifers 388kg 725

1 Ch heifer 540kg 1255

1 Fr cow 810kg 1200

Quality heifers sold well in Macroom mart on Saturday.

How do I know that? Well, because I was there, and I took some pictures to prove it.

In Macroom on Saturday dry cows sold from €250 under to €375 over the kilo. Bullocks sold from €260 to €700 with their weight.

Heifers sold from €200 to €485 over the euro per kilo.

Weanling bulls sold from €200 to €550 with the kilo. Weanling heifers made from €190 to €480 over the kilo.



No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Lm steers 380kg 1080

1 Ch steer 335kg 755

3 Hr steers 555kg 1040

3 AA steers 475kg 900

1 Lm cow 700kg 925

1 Ch cow 735kg 1110

1 Fr cow 745kg 940

The final sale of 2019 at Kilmallock on Monday saw 550 stock on offer. And again, this week Denis Kirby of GVM reported a very strong demand for stock. “The mart trade looks very strong as we enter 2020,” he said.

Bullocks here sold for up to €2.26 per kg. Dry cows (Kilmallock had 172 on offer) sold for up to €985 a head or €1.63 per kg.

Weanling heifers sold for up to €2.23 per kg. Heavier heifers made up to €2.05 per kg. Weanling bulls hit €3.04 per kg. Up to €1280 was paid for dairy stock (paid for a 2-year-old calved heifer). Young calves sold for up to €345 (paid for a 3-week-old Charolais bull).

On Monday, a bullock donated by GVM sold for €1,150 to Sean O’Brien, Glenlara, Garryspillane, the beneficiary was the Mid-Western Cancer Foundation.

Kilmallock Mart will reopen on Monday, January 6th, 2020.

The management and staff of GVM would like to wish all their customers ‘a Happy Christmas and all the best for 2020.’



No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Ch steers 398kg 745

3 Hr steers 387kg 700

4 Fr steers 381kg 700

2 AA heifers 415kg 790

1 Hr heifer 445kg 775

1 Sim cow 430kg 700

1 Fr cow 465kg 625

I was talking to a farmer in recent days, a former calf rearer, and he told me he will not get back into calf rearing until he can get one of them much talked about free calves, and a bag of milk replacer thrown in for good measure,

Well it looks like he will have to hold tough for another spell for the free calf. In Bandon on Monday, free calves (or Friesian bulls) were selling from €10 to €130 a head, with stronger runner type ‘free calves’ selling up to €360.

The mart had 230 calves on offer, but no free ones yet.

Looking at the bigger animal, dry cows here sold from €250 under to €400 over the kilo. Friesian bullocks sold from €130 to €355 over the kilo.

Hereford and Aberdeen Angus steers sold from €240 to €545 with their weight. Continental steers made from €300 to €550 with the kilo.

Heifers sold from €200 to €485 over the kilo.



No Breed Sex Weight €

4 Hr steers 535kg 1000

5 Ch steers 505kg 1055

1 BB steer 500kg 990

3 Ch heifers 480kg 965

4 AA heifers 410kg 740

1 Ch cow 840kg 1190

1 Fr cow 730kg 930

We go next to Castleisland mart and to mart manager, John Humphreys, for the following report. “We had a big sale here on Wednesday with a big turnout of cows which were in huge demand.

“We also had a flying trade for bullocks and heifers.”



No Breed Sex Weight €

3 AA steers 398kg 845

2 Lm steers 452kg 945

6 Hr steers 670kg 1220

6 Fr steers 312kg 480

2 Lim heifers 376kg 875

1 Lim cow 760kg 1245

1 Ch cow 578kg 1040

As for Monday’s weanling sale, John said, “Our last sale of the season, and we certainly went out in style.

“All stock made good money. We had a complete clearance. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers, both buyers and sellers, a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.”

After the sale of cattle in Dungarvan on Monday, mart manager Ger Flynn reported, “Prices holding well of all types of stores.”



No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Ch steers 520kg 980

2 Hr steers 417kg 840

3 AA steers 525kg 970

2 AA heifers 422kg 820

1 Fr cow 685kg 710

1 Fr cow 595kg 600

1 Fr cow 600kg 600

In Skibbereen on Friday dry cows sold from €190 under to €700 with their weight.

Bullocks in Skibbereen sold from €360 to €720 with the kilo. Heifers in Skibbereen sold from €250 up to €650 with their weight.

Weanling heifers made from €180 to €405 with the kilo. Weanling bulls made from €200 to €610 with the kilo.

Finally for this week and the last time in 2019, we go to Kanturk mart for the low down on Tuesday’s mart sale.

Mart manager, Seamus O’Keeffe gave us all the details.

“Our last sale of 2019 on Tuesday was a big sale with 350 head on offer.

“A full clearance was recorded with plenty of customers and cattle up a minimum of €100 a head on a month ago.”

“Thank you all for your support in 2019 and we look forward to your continued support in 2020.”

“Wishing all our customers, friends and family a very happy and peaceful Christmas and prosperous New Year.”

Kanturk mart closes tomorrow, Friday, December 20, and will reopen on Tuesday, January 7.

On that note, I would also like to wish all who tune in here a happy Christmas.



No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Sim steers 810kg 1320

2 BB steers 575kg 1050

4 AA heifers 715kg 920

5 Fr heifers 635kg 890

2 Ch heifers 455kg 835

1 Lm cow 770kg 1200

1 AA cow 825kg 1130



No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Ch steers 565kg 1200

3 Lm steers 340kg 730

2 Ch heifers 580kg 1200

1 AA heifer 435kg 900

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Karen Walsh

Karen Walsh

Law of the Land

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