Cattle marts: Lighter cattle not in vogue as rain keeps falling

The singer Madonna used to have a song a few years back, called Rain.

“I feel it on my finger tips, I hear it on my window pane,” I believe she used to sing. Clearly, the girl was fond of the odd drop of moisture.

And while I’m sure a bit of rain is always welcome on the sun-kissed avenues of Beverly Hills, here in rural Ireland, this ‘spring’, we have had our fill of the stuff. 

Our cups are full to overflowing. We are not singing about the rain, like Madonna, only cursing the deluge.

And rare as it is for me to pity the dairy farmer, I pity him today. Because while you or I might be able to hold tough with our cattle for a spell, the dairy farmer has a legion of cows biting at the bit for grass. 

This year possibly more than ever. To say the dairy farmer is under pressure, is an understatement. The only consolation being that the dry cow in the mart is selling well and the calf is moving with all the ease of Madonna on the dance floor.

This week at the marts, the only casualty is the lighter store. He has seen a fall. 

In this present environment, nobody wants to buy cattle that need minding, we are too busy minding ourselves.

The lighter store, Friesian and Angus, are back €50 a head. To borrow a phrase from Madonna once more, they are simply not in ‘vogue’.

And back to the subject of the dry cow, we go first this week to Kilkenny mart, where manager George Candler who gave us this report.

“Cull cows were in demand here last Thursday, especially quality lots. Friesian culls sold from €1.10 to €1.70 per kilo, with continental types selling from €1.30 to €2.55 per kilo. 

We had 700 cattle on offer which was a smaller sale of cattle. Forward store bullocks and heifers sold well, with lighter store bullocks not attracting as many customers, especially plainer types.”

Kilkenny

Thursday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Lm steers 745kg 1630

2 Fr steers 590kg 1070

4 Hr steers 490kg 1100

5 Lm steers 270kg 830

4 AA heifers 485kg 990

4 Hr heifers 350kg 805

5 Ch heifers 245kg 710

Kilmallock mart had 1,744 stock, including 1150 calves, on offer at last Monday’s cattle sale.

“Farmers are very keen to buy cattle right now, while exporters were busy in the calf and weanling rings,” said Denis Kirby of GVM.

Bullocks in Kilmallock on Monday sold for up to €2.19 per kg. Weanlings hit €3.04 per kg. Dry cows sold for up to €1.99 per kg. Heifers hit €2.70 per kg. Dairy stock went to a high of €1500, which was paid for a 3 year old calved cow.

In the suckler ring, €1,180 was paid out for a 2½ year old Charolais in-calf to a Charolais or Limousin.

Kilmallock

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 AA steers 378kg 845

1 Lm steer 535kg 1090

1 Hr steer 520kg 1085

1 AA heifer 495kg 980

1 Sim heifer 380kg 900

1 Fr cow 645kg 1000

1 Fr cow 485kg 740

In Bandon on Monday, numbers of calves were still on the increase, Bandon had 1,700 calves on offer on Monday. Friesian bull calves are holding well and selling from €70 to €220 a head.

Dry cows sold from €50 to €850 with the kilo. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €350 to €650 with the weight. Friesian bullocks in Bandon made from €200 to €400 with the kilo.

Continental bullocks made from €400 to €650 with the kilo. Heifers here made from €350 to €600 with the kilo.

Bandon

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

6 Fr steers 353kg 600

4 Sim steers 278kg 700

5 AA heifers 523kg 990

1 Lm heifer 530kg 1120

1 Lm cow 765kg 1640

1 Sim cow 780kg 1410

1 Fr cow 725kg 1150

“We had a big sale of 1,300 animals, including 1,000 calves. A good trade all round,” was the straightforward summing up we received from Seamus O’Keeffe, mart manager of Kanturk mart, after Tuesday’s cattle sale.

And looking back to last Saturday’s dairy sale Seamus added, “at our dairy sale on Saturday, top class heifers averaged €1,700, calved dairy cows sold for €1,200. Our next dairy sale will be held on Saturday, March 18, this sale begins at 1:00pm”.

Kanturk

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Hr steers 580kg 1155

4 AA steers 555kg 1095

2 Sim steers 368kg 790

3 BB heifers 330kg 700

2 Lm heifers 625kg 1340

1 Ch cow 755kg 1325

1 Fr cow 770kg 1150

“Calf numbers are really starting to flow now”, mart manager Tom McCarthy mentioned after Friday’s mart sale in Skibbereen. Skibbereen mart had over 500 calves on offer on Friday with Friesian bulls selling from €60 to €170.

Continental bull calves sold for up to €450 a head. Dry cows here made from €50 under to €615 with the kilo. Continental bullocks sold from €400 to €650 with their weight.

Friesian bullocks made from €190 to €350 with the weight. Hereford and Angus Bullocks sold from €300 to €550 with the kilo. Heifers sold from €250 to €700 with their weight. Weanling bulls made from €290 to €670 with the kilo. Suckler stock made from €1,000 to €1,310.

Skibbereen

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Ch steers 397kg 1000

2 Lm steers 447kg 1050

4 Hr steers 625kg 1205

4 Hr steers 372kg 730

1 Ch cow 770kg 1120

1 BA cow 705kg 1320

1 Lm cow 655kg 1180

Cork Marts auctioneer Jerh O’Sullivan says there was “A good lively trade for cattle” at Dungarvan mart on Monday “with larger numbers on offer”.

Dungarvan

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 BB steer 710kg 1540

4 AA steers 506kg 1080

5 Hr heifers 360kg 825

4 Lm heifers 348kg 795

5 Hr heifers 347kg 785

1 Fr cow 715kg 1090

1 Fr cow 620kg 1090

In a well attended Macroom mart on Saturday, dry cows sold from €40 under to €465 over the kilo.

Continental bullocks made from €295 to €710 over the kilo over the course of the sale. Hereford and Aberdeen Angus bullocks sold from €250 to €675 over their weight. Heifers sold from €260 to €660 over their weight.

Macroom

Saturday

No Breed Sex Weight €

6 AA steers 535kg 1210

1 AA steer 470kg 980

2 Lm steers 495kg 1200

2 Sim steers 450kg 1160

2 BB heifers 470kg 1130

2 Lm heifers 395kg 1045

1 Ch cow 685kg 1150

And finally for this week, and still in Cork, we go to Corrin mart, where on Tuesday the mart had 1,800 cattle and calves on offer.

Corrin

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 AA steers 660kg 1360

5 Ch steers 560kg 1190

10 Fr steers 340kg 700

1 Lm heifer 610kg 1305

6 Hr heifers 340kg 755

4 AA heifers 520kg 1088

1 Fr cow 820kg 1200

Corrin mart manager Sean Leahy reported as follows: “We had a larger sale of cattle, with a strong demand for bullocks and dry cows.”

In Corrin mart on Tuesday bullocks made from €180 to €500 with their weight, with beef bullocks making up to €700 with the kilo.

Heifers sold from €160 to €490 with the weight, with butcher types making up to €700 with the kilo.

Dry cows in Corrin made up to €1,200 a head.


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