Cattle marts: Mart bidding reflects Coveney progress towards promised land of high beef price

Cattle buyers have been telling me during the week that store cattle in the marts are simply too expensive to purchase.

Meanwhile, sellers are remarking, “Well, someone must be buying the cattle.”

And of course the sellers are right. Exceptional money is being paid for store stock, because optimism abounds.

The nights might be cold, we may even have seen our fields covered in snow during the early part of this week, but we have yards full of winter feed.

Silage has never been so plentiful.

The price of a round bale at the moment is €15 a bale. Optimism is everywhere.

The meat factory men might be doing all they can to hold down the price of beef, but we have a Minister for Agriculture who is constantly securing new lucrative markets for our beef.

We believe that the meat factory price will eventfully rise, because we have a minister who can lead us to the promised land.

And even in this business of mart reporting, I’m only interested now in hearing about the big money.

I had a farmer approach me during the week speaking of getting €300 with the weight for Friesian yearlings.

Not so long ago, I would have been all agog at such a handsome price, but this week I told him, “Unless I hear €2/kg for Friesian stores, your story is of no interest to me.”

So, appropriately enough, we begin this week at Thurles mart, where mart manager Martin Ryan had this to say on Monday’s cattle trade.

“Stores were a good trade and some prices even for light Friesians were exceptional. One vendor sold 14 Friesian yearlings with an average weight of 340kgs, and the average price paid here was €773.21 per head, or €2.27/Kg.

“Calf numbers on Monday were very big. The snow showers we got in the morning had no effect on the trade later in the day.”

Thurles

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

7 Lm steers 520kg 1300

2 Hr steers 277kg 675

6 AA steers 405kg 940

4 Ch steers 382kg 1035

7 Fr steers 325kg 680

3 AA heifers 338kg 800

4 Hr heifers 443kg 970

There was a good trade for calves in Skibbereen on Friday, the mart had 400 on offer.

Dry cows here sold from €120 to €620 over the kilo. Heifers here sold from €350 to €700 with their weight.

Continental bullocks made from €450 to €800 with their weight.

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks ranged in price from €420 to €620 with the kilo. Friesian bullocks made from €300 to €500 over the kilo.

Skibbereen

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

5 Ch steers 514kg 1290

5 Hr steers 475kg 1025

1 Fr steer 515kg 1010

1 AA heifer 490kg 1090

1 Lm heifer 390kg 1040

1 Lm cow 695kg 1310

1 Sim cow 820kg 1400

Turning to Macroom mart next, where after Saturday’s cattle sale, the report I got was of a good, steady trade, with store cattle selling particularly well.

Before we leave Macroom mart behind, auctioneer Jerh O’Sullivan says there will be a large machinery auction in the mart grounds today, Thursday, March 5.

“It’s our first tentative step into the machinery business,” Jerh quipped.

And I’ve no doubt whatsoever but that they will cope.

Macroom

Saturday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 AA steers 635kg 1255

1 BB steer 315kg 950

1 Ch steer 300kg 855

1 Lm steer 495kg 1185

1 BB heifer 270kg 870

1 Ch cow 695kg 1170

1 Lm cow 565kg 1050

Kilmallock mart had 1,874 stock, including over 1,100 calves, on offer on Monday last.

Denis Kirby reported how the day went.

“The snow which fell early in the morning didn’t put off the buyers, who were in the calf ring at 8.30am for the start of the calf sale.

“Farmers and exporters are competing strongly at present for calves.

“Beef and dairy stock continue to be very dear, as the much hoped for mild weather can’t be far away.”

Bullocks in Kilmallock sold up to €2.53 per kg.

Heifers went to a high of €2.72 per kg, while dry cows hit €1.80 per kg.

In sucklers, a 4-year-old Simmental and her Limousin heifer calf made €1,800.

A 3-year-old Hereford and her Simmental bull calf sold for €1,600, while a 3-year-old Belgian Blue in-calf to a Limousin made €1,410.

And turning to dairy stock, a 2-year-old calved Friesian heifer made €1,600, while a 4-year-old calved cow sold for €1,510.

Kilmallock

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

4 Ch steers 384kg 970

5 Fr steers 265kg 580

6 Hr steers 501kg 1115

6 AA steers 508kg 1095

1 Sim steer 470kg 1030

2 AA heifers 448kg 965

4 BB heifers 418kg 970

Bandon cattle mart on Monday had, to my reckoning about 1,500 calves on offer, with mart manager Tom McCarthy reporting, “a good trade for shipping calves.”

Bandon had 90 dry cows on offer on Monday and here they sold from €60 to €650 over the kilo. Heifers sold from €300 to €700 with their weight.

Continental bullocks made from €450 to €800.

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks in Bandon on Monday ranged in price from €400 to €635 with the kilo.

Friesians sold from €250 to €565 with the kilo.

Dairy stock in Bandon sold from €900 to €1,500 on Monday.

Looking at dairy stock in general, I spoke to John Foley, a dairy stock purchaser with Cork Co-Operative Marts, and John had this interesting comment to make regarding the trade at present.

“I think there is a misconception out there at the moment with regard to the selling of dairy stock, with many believing that they should hold off from selling until April.

“Right now, there is a huge demand for dairy stock, in fact the demand is greater than the supply.

“I have a good number of farmers looking for calved heifers and young calved cows in particular.

In the trade for dairy cattle at Corrin, Macroom and Bandon over the past week, calved heifers were selling from €1,400 to €1,800, with in-calf heifers making from €1,100 to €1,400 a head.

Bandon

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

6 Fr steers 344kg 715

5 AA steers 348kg 825

2 Hr steers 520kg 1040

3 Ch heifers 306kg 780

4 Lm heifers 336kg 890

1 Lm heifer 450kg 1070

1 Hr cow 820kg 1470

Next we turn to Dungarvan mart where Ger Flynn gave us this report after Monday’s cattle sale.

“The heavy snow showers during the early morning did not help buyers and sellers. However the trade still held well for all types of stores.”

Dungarvan

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

9 Hr steers 621kg 1345

5 Lm steers 581kg 1320

6 Hr steers 537kg 1180

4 Fr steers 515kg 1020

1 Lm heifer 435kg 1060

2 Ch heifers 427kg 1010

1 Fr cow 710kg 1140

Finally, Kanturk, where mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe gave us this report.

“We had 1,220 animals, a very big sale, considering the bad road conditions in the morning.

“We had a full clearance with prices maintained from last week.”

Kanturk

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 BB steer 585kg 1200

5 AA steers 492kg 1075

6 Fr steers 581kg 1025

5 AA heifers 401kg 765

2 Ch heifers 350kg 750

8 AA heifers 297kg 710

1 Ch cow 545kg 1200


Lifestyle

In a new daily feature, Arts editor Des O'Driscoll lists the best things on the box for the evening aheadTuesday's TV highlights: The past revisited

Don’t ask me which week it is at this stage — I wouldn’t be surprised to wake up one of these mornings and discover that it’s Christmas Day,Learner Dad: "I’m an Irish male born before 1990, so tears are not an option"

From DIY face masks to luxurious manicures, these will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.10 at-home beauty treatments to feel like you’re at a spa

Psychologist Dr Meg Arroll tells Liz Connor how to avoid feeling ‘trapped in’ while distancing yourself from others.How to avoid cabin fever while in self-isolation

More From The Irish Examiner