Positive news can be in short supply these days.
Our meat factory trade is in the doldrums.
Dairy farmers could be at risk of burnout.
Prince Harry and Meghan are in a right pickle over Frogmore cottage.
The list of headline grabbing woes, trials and tribulations simply goes on and on.
Thankfully, today I have some positive news to report.
Better again, it comes directly from the mart.
Bandon Mart’s calf handling facilities have undergone a dramatic change.
A change for the better for the calf, and perhaps for you and I too.
As 2020 dawned, it was a case of out with the old and in with the new.
The mart’s old calf pens, which had served the premises for over 60 years, were given the heave-ho and replaced with pens of a much more modern and workable design.
Bandon mart manager Tom McCarthy has estimated the old pens in their time had facilitated the buying and selling of about a million and a half calves over the decades.
Which is no mean feat.
In fact, the whole calf building in Bandon has undergone a major upgrade over the past few months, and is now a far brighter, fresher and jollier facility.
The calves even looked jolly when I saw them on Monday.
The farmers did too.
If your local mart is confident enough to pump a half million euro into improving its calf housing, your own faith in the calf is surely bound to improve.
There has been a lot of talk of the demise of the calf as a viable enterprise over the past twelve months, but Cork Marts certainly doesn’t see it that way, and perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to write off the calf either.
So how was the calf trade on Monday?
Well, as you can see from the calf photos on this page, Cork Marts aren’t the only ones with money to spend.
Mart manager Tom McCarthy was pleased with the calf sale, adding: “The calf with milk, the calf with strength, is commanding the best price. They are the calves buyers are looking for.
“We had 240 calves here today and, really, the trade has kicked off with confidence.
“Similar indeed to the sale of the larger animal, which you mentioned on the Irish Examiner last week.
“As you saw here today, there is an air of confidence around. It’s been a strong start to the year, and one I hope will continue.”
In Bandon on Monday, dry cows sold from €50 to €425 over the kilo.
Friesian bullocks made from €220 to €400 over the kilo.
Hereford and Angus bullocks sold from €250 to €550 with the kilo.
Continental bullocks made up to €625 with their weight.
Heifers in Bandon on Monday sold from €280 to €500 with their weight.
No Breed Sex Weight €
2 Sim steers 532kg 1155
5 Fr steers 549kg 900
11 Fr steers 510kg 820
3 AA steers 536kg 1080
3 Hr steers 320kg 660
1 AA cow 665kg 1090
1 Fr cow 845kg 1070
Michael Scanlon of Kanturk Mart also had an upbeat story for us.
“We had an outstanding trade for a fine turnout of cattle at our Tuesday cattle sale.
“Over 395 head were on offer here in Kanturk, with an ever increasing number of calves appearing at our sales.
“Forward store and factory cattle were in great demand, making up to €600 over the kilo.”
No Breed Sex Weight €
2 AA steers 660kg 1260
5 Hr steers 500kg 1000
8 Fr steers 610kg 1050
10 Fr steers 445kg 785
1 AA heifer 650kg 1170
2 Hr heifers 587kg 1075
3 Lm heifers 535kg 1045
Denis Kirby of Kilmallock Mart, never a man short of superlatives, described Monday’s cattle sale as “electric”.
And I don’t think he meant the sale was shockingly bad, only shockingly good.
“We had close on 600 cattle at our sale here in Kilmallock on Monday,” said Denis.
“This number included 100 calves and 100 dry cows.”
Actually, it was a vendor who said the trade was “electric,” and Denis happily passed on the word.
Bullocks at Kilmallock’s fired-up sale, sold for up to €1,230 a head’ or €2.48 per kg.
Weanling bulls hit €2.53 per kg.
Nice quality Friesians fetched up to a nice €2 per kg.
Dry cows sold for up €1,350 a head or €1.70 per kg.
Heifers made up to €2.84 per kg.
Weanling heifers made up to €2.84 per kg.
No Breed Sex Weight €
6 Fr steers 268kg 530
6 AA steers 542kg 1052
2 Ch steers 523kg 1000
2 Herefords 495kgs 990
1 AA heifer 340kg 600
2 Ch heifers 183kg 520
1 Fr cow 450kg 540
In the suckler ring in Kilmallock, a four-year-old Limousin cow, due to calve in February to a Simmental bull, made €1,320.
A clearance sale of 28 dairy cows on the same day sold well, with €1,580 achieved for in-calf stock.
A four-year-old Hereford stock bull on Monday made €1,900.
Staying on the subject of dairy clearance sales, this coming Monday, January 27, the mart in Kilmallock will hold a clearance sale of 28 Friesian dairy cows and heifers for Michael Lenihan, Anglesboro, Co Limerick
This sale begins at 12 noon, and it could well be electric, once again.
Cracking trade for weanlings at Ennis Mart
Ann Keane of Ennis Mart gave us this ‘cracking’ report following Tuesday’s weanling sale.
“We had a fine entry of stock in Ennis on Tuesday with over 500 on offer. Again, a cracking trade for bulls with farmers, shippers and specialised feeders competing for stock. The very nice quality bull weanling in the 300kg to 350kg bracket was very much in demand.
“More calves about Tuesday, with the tops making up to €540 a head. Heifer runners made to €650 and bull runners made to €770.
“Pairs in the suckler ring made up to €2,000.
”In-calf lots sold for as much as €1,480.”
In Skibbereen on Friday, dry cows sold from €145 under to €460 with the kilo.
Bullocks in Skibbereen made from €270 to €515 over the kilo.
Heifers sold from €230 to €545 over the kilo.
Weanling bulls made from €240 to €590 with their weight.
Weanling heifers made from €210 to €500 with their weight.
No Breed Sex Weight € 2 Ch steers 345kg 860
4 AA steers 280kg 600
4 Fr steers 505kg 820
1 Lm heifer 385kg 865
1 Ch heifer 380kg 860
2 Hr heifers 245kg 545
1 Ch cow 830kg 1290