Cattle mart report: Put the squeeze on the yearling, or the mart buyer will put the squeeze on you

I looked at my cattle today while wearing my boots. It was the first time this year that I was able to venture into the field wellington free.

I was delighted that the good weather had finally come, for not only has the ground finally been given a chance to do what it does best, grow a bit of grass, but my wellingtons sprung a leak a few days ago, and I was all but resigned to the fact that I would need to purchase a new pair. 

Well to hell with that. Not this week. 

With the sun in the sky, my boots are the only wellingtons I need. The rubber industry will have to survive without my money for another bit.

And there was dust rising in the mart yard in Kilmallock when I arrived there on Monday morning. 

What a pleasure it was to see dust once again, after all the months of mud. Now all we need is the grass.

And so to the marts we go, last week I had mentioned that the smaller plainer store bullock had taken a tumble at the cattle sales, this was the guy around the 250kg mark who had slipped under the €2/kg. 

He had become just about as appealing as the prospect of another General Election.

Well this week he has bounced back up to where he should be, with many lots clearing the €2/kg mark with ease. An example of this from Kilmallock mart on Monday was a lot of 4 Friesian yearling bullocks weighing 246kg and selling for €535.

Now not all yearlings males are proving popular with buyers, the bull has not been greeted with the same encouraging hand waving when he enters the ring. I saw on Monday that a squeeze can work wonders at getting the bidding hand moving.

For example another lot of Friesian yearling bulls coming in at 349kg also made €535.

And just to prove the point further, later in the day I spotted another lot of Friesian bullocks weighing 340kg, squeezed and rearing for road, making €625.

Now you don’t have to be John D Rockefeller to see that there is the bones of €100 a head between the price for the bull and the bullock.

So my free advice today is, squeeze the Friesian yearling or else the buyer will squeeze you on the price.

In Kilmallock on Monday the mart had 2,100 stock on offer with cattle prices in general remaining similar to the previous week.

Bullocks on Monday made up to €2.71 per kg. 

Weanlings hit €2.63 per kg. Dry cows (Kilmallock had 230 on offer) were a “super trade” Denis Kirby of Kilmallock mart mentioned to me on Monday evening, with a high of €2.02 per kg being paid. Heifers here hit €2.98 per kg. Dairy stock went to a high of €1,450 (paid for a 3 year old calved cow). Calf prices reached €590 (paid for a 4 week old Limousin Heifer).

On this Friday, April 22, a Hereford bull sale will take place in Kilmallock mart with 44 bulls on offer.

And looking briefly at breeding bulls in Kilmallock last Monday three Angus bulls sold for €2,200, €1,790 and €1,520.

Kilmallock

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 AA heifer 490kg 1080

1 Hr heifer 478kg 1000

2 Lm heifers 363kg 920

2 Ch heifers 350kg 780

1 Lm cow 475kg 840

1 AA cow 430kg 800

1 Fr cow 475kg 790

The lack of grass was the main topic of conversation in the North Cork mart of Kanturk last Tuesday, Kanturk mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe gave us the details.

“Cattle prices were a little easier than last week, with customers complaining that grass growth was very slow on many farms.

“Tuesday last saw our biggest sale so far this year with 1700 animals, including 700 calves, on offer. Calf prices were maintained with €500 being paid for Hereford bull calves.

“This coming Saturday, April 23, will see our second annual bull sale starting at 1pm in ring 1, with a dairy sale taking place in ring 2, also beginning at 1pm.

Kanturk

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 AA steer 730kg 1350

1 Lm steer 625kg 1150

1 BB steer 545kg 1120

2 Hr steers 495kg 1000

1 AA heifer 615kg 1175

2 AA heifers 540kg 1060

1 Fr cow 820kg 1190

Mart manager Tom McCarthy also reported “bigger numbers out” at Skibbereen mart on Friday last. Dry cows here sold from €55 to €550 with the kilo.

Continental bullocks made from €350 to €750 with their weight. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €300 to €650 with the kilo. While Friesian bullocks sold from €200 to €460 with their weight. Heifers in Skibbereen made from €250 to €750 with the kilo.

Skibbereen

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Lm steer 540kg 1250

5 Ch steers 514kg 1190

6 Hr steers 398kg 810

1 Ch heifer 485kg 1230

2 Lm heifers 515kg 1160

1 Lm cow 715kg 1250

1 Fr cow 775kg 1130

Dungarvan

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

5 Ch steers 610kg 1380

4 Lm steers 422kg 1020

1 BB heifer 555kg 1225

1 Fr heifer 590kg 1215

2 Ch heifers 362kg 920

1 Fr cow 810kg 1230

6 Fr cows 752kg 1135

“We had a bigger sale of cattle here on Monday, with strong cattle selling well,” Ger Flynn, Dungarvan Mart manager told us.

“However, there was a tougher trade for lighter Friesian cattle with a very good demand for forward Friesian dry cows,” said Ger.

Bandon

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 BB steers 548kg 1220

1 Sim steer 395kg 890

5 AA heifers 380kg 805

1 Ch heifer 495kg 1110

1 AA heifer 525kg 1120

1 Fr cow 505kg 880

1 Hr cow 740kg 1300

I see my old sparring partner from the mart and market reporting game, Joe Healy, is moving onto pastures new, namely heading up the IFA. While the turnout of farmer voters for the Presidential election was certainly low, Joe’s victory on Tuesday last was pretty resounding.

Of course, as a man who has been hanging around cattlemen for many years, he will know full well how to deal with any messers within the IFA. The IFA has been in need of a good stick yielding farmer for many years. So Joe, good luck to you with the job, and don’t forget to use the stick. Bring it down good and hard, swift and often. Order needs to be restored.

And speaking of stick yielding experts, we will return to the mart and to Bandon mart where on Monday dry cows made from €20 to €560 with the kilo. Bandon mart had 220 heifers on offer and here they made from €280 to €620 with the kilo. Continental bullocks sold from €40 to €750 with their weight.

Friesian bullocks sold from €200 to €525 with their weight. While Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €320 to €650 with the kilo.

And finally for this week, we head to Corrin mart. On Tuesday the mart had 1600 cattle and calves on offer with mart manager, Sean Leahy, telling me that there was “a good steady trade and a very large sale of bullocks.”

In Corrin, store bullocks sold from €150 to €550 over the kilo, with beef bullocks making up to €750 over the kilo.

Sean reported “a lively trade for heifers, and a very large dry cow sale with a good strong trade here also.

In Corrin on Tuesday store heifers made from €220 to €830 over the kilo, with butcher types making up to €690 over the kilo.

Corrin

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 BB steer 640kg 1390

5 Ch steers 507kg 1150

6 Hr steers 500kg 1090

2 Lm steers 340kg 890

1 Ch heifer 545kg 1240

4 Lm heifers 370kg 1000

1 Ch cow 670kg 1260


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