Cattle marts report: Springsteen brought good weather, good cheer and good sales across the cattle marts

“It was 22 degrees in the car when I arrived,” auctioneer Jim O’Brien mentioned to me before taking up his post in the main ring in Bandon mart on Monday.

And the temperature in the ring in Bandon on Monday wasn’t any cooler for Jim.

In spite of a smaller crowd — due to silage and perhaps hung-over after the Springsteen concerts — the trade for good quality fleshy cattle was sizzling.

Even my dear old friend the Friesian bullock, of 400kg, was on some occasions passing the €2/kg mark. 

The store bull was the only lad who was finding the going a little milder on Monday. When fellows are eyeing up cattle for grass, the bull is never the first choice.

In fact, he may not even be the second choice. So if you can at all, get squeezing and hold onto them for a couple of weeks (the bulls I mean, not the balls).

In Bandon on Monday, dry cow numbers are finally dropping back after a very busy year. On Monday, Bandon had 80 dry cows on offer.

Dry cows in Bandon made from €60 to €700 with the kilo. Also on Monday, continental bullocks sold for up to €700 with their weight.

Friesian bullocks sold from €250 to €500 with their weight. While Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €350 to €725 with the kilo.

Heifers in Bandon made from €350 to €650 with the kilo.

Bandon

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Ch steers 505kg 1200

2 BB steers 537kg 1160

1 AA heifer 550kg 1140

1 Ch heifer 385kg 910

2 Ch heifers 365kg 890

1 Fr cow 550kg 970

1 Hr cow 750kg 1450

Last weekend, if you weren’t at silage you were probably at a Bruce Springsteen concert. 

Bruce, as usual, brought the house down and more importantly still, brought the good weather with him. Everyone was thrilled, he even had Enda Kenny playing air guitar. 

But alas for me, I was neither playing air guitar in Croke Park nor merrily bringing in silage, I was based in a calf house here in Kilmichael with only a pike for company.

They say that Bruce has the power in his music to take people back to basics, to bring them down to earth.

Well, in my experience, there is nothing like piking out a house of you know what for a couple of hours to bring you down to earth. Like many farmers, I don’t need Bruce Springsteen to get me there.

And my reason for the slog had all to do with my trip to Bandon mart on Monday; I had mighty plans of buying a few calves. 

In spite of the dire reports that calves are flying high, I was hoping that the calf buyer from up the country might be worn out from a weekend of ‘Dancing in the Dark’ and would not make the trip to Bandon. 

Alas, I was sadly mistaken. It was business as usual in the calf ring, with plenty of calf buyers present, with high prices paid and with fellows like me coming home empty handed.

Bandon had over 800 calves on offer on Monday, with Aberdeen Angus leading the way in both price and number. 

To my estimation, 60% of the calves on offer were Angus, with bulls starting, for the most part, at €200 and heading north from there. 

And, as the picture of eight AA bulls on this page shows, heading well north in some cases. The demand for the Angus heifer was on a par with the bull. 

A smaller numbers of Herefords also had the hands going, with little or nothing between Angus and Herefords in price.

The Friesian calf was really starting at €150, for guys that still needed a bit of milk, and heading up to €200 for stronger fellows who wouldn’t shy away from a bucket of milk either.

So the dairy farmer can surely console himself here. His milk price may have taken a tumble, but he is getting a calf price in the marts in 2016 that is certainly nothing to cry about. 

So spare a tear instead for the ‘calf to beef’ farmer. The man who few mention when talk turns to tears, and a fellow right now being squeezed at both ends.

And moving on from the calf to beef farmer, to another farmer who can find the going tough, the suckler farmer. In Dungarvan on Monday last, suckler cows with calves at foot sold from €1,300 to €1,680.

Dungarvan

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Lm steer 600kg 1315

3 Hr steers 581kg 1205

7 Sim steers 507kg 1180

3 Ch steers 421kg 1070

1 Lm heifer 645kg 1430

1 Hr heifer 745kg 1250

1 Fr cow 785kg 1120

On Tuesday in the village of Lissarda, the tar couldn’t stick the heat any longer and was lifting off the road with every passing tyre, making the Cork to Killarney road trip a challenging one for all road users.

And speaking of lifting, in Kanturk mart on Tuesday cattle prices also experienced a lift in the heat. 

Mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe said, “Yes it was nothing short of a beautiful day here, with customers attending the mart in great numbers, buying cattle to eat grass.

“We had 740 animals, including 350 calves, and a flying trade really, you’d have to say for all cattle here.”

In Kanturk on Tuesday, Aberdeen Angus bullocks made up to €500 with the weight. Hereford bullocks sold for up to €480 with their weight. 

While Friesians tipped the scales at €400 with their weight. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford heifers made up to €480 with the weight.

Kanturk

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Lm steers 655kg 1380

1 AA steer 600kg 1200

3 Fr steers 570kg 980

1 Lm heifer 560kg 1170

1 Hr heifer 560kg 1140

1 AA cow 640kg 1000

1 Fr cow 750kg 1030

There were big prices at a big sale in Kilmallock mart on Monday. Denis Kirby said: “We had a very big sale for late May, which saw an excellent trade for all types of stock. The ‘Grass Men’ are certainly out in force buying cattle.”

Bullocks in Kilmallock made up to €2.56 per kg. Weanlings hit €2.95 per kg. Dry cows continue to be, according to Denis, “a flying trade” in Kilmallock making up to €1.97 per kg. Heifers here went to a high of €2.66 per kg.

Dairy stock sold for up to €1,200 each (for a two-year-old calved heifer). Suckler cows hit €1,400 (for a seven-year-old Hereford and her Charolais heifer calf €1,400).

Kilmallock

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

4 AA steers 385kg 855

4 Hr steers 349kg 815

2 Fr steers 305kg 550

7 Lm steers 480kg 1205

2 Ch heifers 450kg 1100

1 Lm heifer 435kg 1060

1 AA cow 480kg 900

On Monday next, June 6, (Bank Holiday) a special sale of suckler cows takes place in Kilmallock. 

Also in the dairy ring, there will be 15 pedigree Friesian (Feb-March born) heifer calves on offer, and this heifer sale begins at 12 noon.

Skibbereen

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Ch steer 740kg 1560

3 Lm steers 456kg 1230

6 Sim steers 434kg 1170

3 Fr steers 526kg 1025

1 Fr cow 670kg 1090

1 AA cow 845kg 1570

1 AA cow 745kg 1300

In Skibbereen on Friday dry cows sold very well, making from €160 to €725 with the kilo. Continental bullocks made up to €820 with their weight. 

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €385 to €680 with the kilo. While Friesian bullocks sold from €250 to €500 with their weight.

Gortatlea

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Hr steers 516kg 1100

3 Lm steers 330kg 800

12 Fr steers 493kg 995

1 BBx heifer 275kg 845

2 AAx heifers 495kg 1095

1 Lm cow 580kg 1060

1 Bax cow 690kg 1415

Finally this week, we head to Gortatlea where mart manager Maurice Brosnan gave us this report: “We had a wonderful sale last week, calves were a great trade here on Thursday. 

"And on Friday, even though the sun was shining and farmers were busy, cattle numbers were high and customers were plentiful also.”


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