Cattle marts report: Personal touch sees Gortatlea cattle mart grow its business by 50% in a single year

I’d say there were more Cork fellows back in Gortatlea mart on Friday than there were up in Thurles on Sunday. And I’m sure they had a better day out to boot.

The mid-Kerry mart has become very popular with Cork farmers, with many happily crossing the border to seek out stock.

Paddy Foley is a well known Cork cattleman. He buys calves in Gortatlea mart on Thursdays before heading back again the following day for the general cattle sale.

He buys stores mostly, but on Friday last I saw him buying anything really that took his fancy.

“I come here because I know I’m buying from the source,” Paddy explained to me at Gortatlea cattle sale on Friday. “The cattle are genuine with the stock coming from the neighbouring dairy and beef farms, and that’s why I’m here.”

And Gortatlea’s reputation for selling clean cattle has seen its popularity grow, with the mart now literally 50% bigger in size than it was this time last year.

A large redevelopment was undertaken over the past couple of months, in particular over Christmas, in a move to deal with the increase in cattle numbers.

“It was a present from Santa really,” Margaret in the mart office quips, but of course we all know only too well that Santa Claus rarely spreads his generosity to the upscaling of mart facilities.

Maurice Brosnan, the owner of this privately run mart, is the man who has to keep the show on the road.

And Maurice will expand the show too, whenever the demand is there.

And it’s this personal touch — if you talk to farmers who use the mart — that has been a driving force in making the mart a popular destination for many.

So what was his take on last Friday’s cattle sale?

“We had a full yard of quality cattle, as I’m sure you saw yourself here today,” Maurice said.

“There is a clear demand for good quality store cattle right now, with the trade up in my estimation, by about €100 a head on a month ago.

“In recent times we have also noticed an increase in the number of farmers bringing cattle here from your side of the country,” Maurice added. “This year we have seen record numbers of cattle at our sales.”

And with the mart now having grown in size, Gortatlea is well capable of dealing with this increase in action.

Gortatlea

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 BB steer 725kg 1400

4 Hr steers 390kg 940

7 Fr steers 576kg 970

1 Lm heifer 480kg 1030

2 Hr heifers 555kg 1015

1 Lm cow 715kg 1300

1 Fr cow 765kg 1140

I met a farmer at a cattle mart on Tuesday and, with Tuesday being a wonderful day, a day when at lot of silage was mowed down, I said that silage crops in general won’t be very heavy. “Ah,” says he, “but the silage will be sweet.” And when made in such sunshine, how right he is.

And speaking of sweet, the heifer trade in Bandon on Monday was reported as being “very strong” by those in attendance. Heifers in Bandon made from €400 to €800 with the kilo. Dry cows in Bandon made from €50 under to €720 with the kilo, Bandon mart had 158 cows on offer. Friesian bullocks sold from €220 to €570 with their weight. While Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €320 to €640 with the kilo. Bandon mart had 800 calves on offer with mart manager, Tom McCarthy, telling me that the trade for calves “continues to be very good.”

Bandon

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

6 Fr steers 520kg 1120

1 AA heifer 420kg 890

1 BB heifer 605kg 1410

1 Lm heifer 525kg 1140

2 Ch heifers 535kg 1170

1 Lm cow 755kg 1470

1 Ch cow 825kg 1540

And sticking with the subject of the good weather, on leaving the bullock ring in Kilmallock mart on Monday an Auctioneer was heard to say “The sun is shining in there also,” such was the strength of the trade.

“Farmers from all over the country were here on Monday, stocking up land. All types of cattle were in strong demand,” Denis Kirby of Kilmallock mart told me. Bullocks in Kilmallock made up to €2.68 per kg. Weanlings (Kilmallock had 39 pens of weanlings on offer) hit an very impressive €3.13 per kg. Heifers went to a high of €3.75 per kg. Dry cows (Kilmallock had 150 on offer) hit €1.98 per kg. 550 calves were on offer, and once more back to Denis who said, “with 87 buyers doing business, the calf trade here on Monday was on fire. Beef breeds hit €620 each.”

Suckler cows in Kilmallock hit €1,430 (for a three-year-old cow and her Hereford heifer calf). While dairy stock sold for up to €1,160 — paid for a two-year-old calved heifer.

On this Saturday, May 28, the Limerick mart holds its second Organic Sale of the year; it begins at 11am sharp.

Kilmallock

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Lm steers 398kg 1065

3 Hr steers 368kg 870

3 AA steers 387kg 805

3 Fr steers 370kg 700

1 Lm heifer 460kg 1100

2 Hr heifers 413kg 9451

1 Fr cow 495kg 910

And the good weather this week also had buyers in Dungarvan mart in good spirits. On Monday last suckler cows, some with calves at foot, made from €930 to €1,460.

Dungarvan

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Hr steer 560kg 1230

5 Ch steers 474kg 1150

6 AA steers 501kg 1120

1 Lm heifer 550kg 1190

2 Hr heifers 532kg 1145

1 Sim cow 745kg 1235

1 Lm cow 700kg 1230

“We had an exceptional trade for bullocks here today, with another marked improvement on last weeks strong trade,” Corrin mart manager Sean Leahy said after Tuesday’s cattle sale. Corrin mart had 890 cattle and calves on offer. Store bullocks sold from €250 to €640 over the kilo, with beef bullocks making up to €920 over the kilo.

Store heifers in Corrin made from €240 to €600 over the kilo with butcher types making up to €800 over the kilo. “A large dry cow sale met a very strong trade for store and finished cows,” Sean added. In Corrin dry cows sold from €600 to €1,370 a head.

Corrin

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Lm steer 690kg 1605

4 AA steers 579kg 1285

4 Ch steers 380kg 1015

2 Sim heifers 580kg 1380

3 Lim heifers 385kg 975

2 AA heifers 440kg 1095

1 Sim cow 800kg 1370

Next we turn to Kanturk mart where mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe said: “Numbers of cattle on offer were down on last week.We had 912 cattle and this included 387 calves. Bullocks were a little back on last week, but calves remain a flying trade. We’ll have a bull sale in Kanturk on May 28 from 1pm and all are welcome.”

Kanturk

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 AA steer 605kg 1250

2 Fr steers 515kg 1020

2 Lm steers 425kg 920

2 Ch heifers 365kg 940

2 SHx heifers 305kg 680

1 Ch cow 620kg 1100

1 Fr cow 825kg 1170

In Skibbereen on Friday, dry cows sold from €45 under to €480 with the kilo. Continental bullocks made from €355 to €845 with the kilo. While Hereford and Aberdeen Angus bullocks made from €315 to €725 with the kilo.

Skibbereen

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Lm steer 595kg 1440

2 BB steers 565kg 1330

3 Ch steers 485kg 1225

5 Hr steers 318kg 840

3 AA heifers 515kg 1240

1 Fr cow 780kg 1200

1 AA cow 660kg 1140

And finally to Macroom mart where mart manager John O’Mahony said dry cows sold from €60 under to €665 over the kilo. Continental bullocks made from €300 to €740 over their weight. Heifers sold from €280 to €795 over the kilo.

Macroom

Saturday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Lm steers 555kg 1295

1 Sim steer 490kg 1160

4 Hr steers 395kg 900

5 AA steers 370kg 880

6 BB heifers 520kg 1235

2 Lm heifers 440kg 1200

1 BB cow 725kg 1390


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