Cattle marts report: Winners few and far between in beef farming and the new National Lottery

I see the National Lottery have added two more balls to the drum, thus making the likelihood of me ever playing the lottery game all the more remote.

I don’t like tossing money down the drain, much preferring to lose money gambling on beef — far more enjoyable.

Beef farming and the Lotto have of course a lot in common, in that you need money and balls to play both, and the winners in either game are few and far between.

The only difference really between the Lotto and the beef farmer is that the Lotto can dictate its price, whereas the beef farmer must take what he gets.

At the moment, while the Lotto has new balls and an increased ticket price, the farmer is being hit where it hurts, with a price cut at the meat factory filtering through to the marts.

The last two weeks saw a drop of €40 to €100 a head on store cattle, but with some mart managers this week reporting a return to more upbeat trading.

And this is true, except perhaps for sellers of plainer cattle, still feeling the pain from the recent price fall.

In Bandon on Monday, mart manager Tom McCarthy reported that Friesian bullock prices were “that bit back” on the previous week.

They sold at Bandon from €250 to €800 with the kilo. Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks ranged in price from €400 to €650 with the kilo.

Continental bullocks in Bandon made from €500 to €800 with the kilo.

Bandon mart saw a big sale of dry cows on Monday, with over 100 on offer, making €200 to €760 with their weight.

Bandon had 300 calves on offer, with prices as crazy as ever.

Friesian bull calves made from €110 to €320, with strong runner type Hereford and Continental bull calves making up to an eye watering €620 a head.

Bandon

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

8 Hr steers 523kg 1115

1 Lm steer 590kg 1360

4 Hr heifers 605kg 1170

6 Fr steers 400kg 705

2 Lm heifers 560kg 1260

2 BB heifers 480kg 1005

6 Fr cows 731kg 1200

I went to Kanturk on Tuesday, not only to check out the mart scene but to enjoy a fruit scone and cup of coffee at Joan’s café in the mart.

Kanturk

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

4 AA steers 460kg 1030

5 Fr steers 639kg 1190

2 Ch heifers 442kg 1125

2 AA heifers 497kg 990

3 Hr heifers 483kg 1000

1 Fr cow 700kg 1230

1 Lm cow 660kg 1000

I like the fruity scones, you see, and the chat as well.

Eventually I dragged myself away from the table, to the mart proper.

Kanturk mart had 420 cattle on offer on Tuesday, and the trade was lively.

It has always been a popular spot for those in search of quality store cattle.

Mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe told me after the sale that prices overall had recovered from the recent fall.

“We had a top class sale of cattle today, with stock up in the region of €50 to €100 a head on last week’s prices.”

Skibbereen

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Ch steers 420kg 1135

1 Lm steer 505kg 1100

2 Hr steers 647kg 1350

2 Lm heifers 432kg 1030

1 AA heifer 490kg 1090

1 Lm cow 825kg 1550

1 Ch cow 795kg 1430

Tom McCarthy, reporting from Skibbereen mart, said “numbers were back” on Friday. Dry cows in Skibbereen made from €200 to €750 with the kilo.

Bullocks in Skibbereen made from €300 to €800 with the kilo. Heifers on Friday sold from €350 to €600 with their weight.

In Corrin on Tuesday, mart manager Sean Leahy reported a “good steady trade” for bullocks, with store bullocks making from €300 to €600 over the kilo.

Sean reported “a strong trade for heifers,” with heifers making from €250 to €600 and butcher types making up to €850 with the kilo.

The strong trade for dry cows continues in Corrin.

Corrin

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Ch steer 470kg 1200

5 AA steers 560kg 1200

3 Fr steers 350kg 815

4 Hr heifers 459kg 1115

1 Sim heifer 684kg 1440

1 Ch cow 1000kg 2170

1 Fr cow 740kg 1270

Again this week. there was a very big sale for the time of year at Kilmallock Mart, with Denis Kirby telling me that cattle numbers are up 33% on the same sale last year.

Over €3 per kilo was paid for weanlings in Kilmallock.

And on Monday last, the mart held a weanling show and sale.

The champion weanling was a Belgian Blue bull born at the end of September 2014, weighing 585kg, he made €1,520. This bull was owned by Tony Roche, Kilross, Co Tipperary.

The reserve champion, also a Belgian Blue bull, born August 2014, weighed 445kg and this fellow sold for €1,450.

Elsewhere in the mart on Monday, bullocks made up to €2.82 per kg. Heifers went to a high of €2.53 per kg. Dry cows hit €1.95 per kg.

Kilmallock

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Ch steer 375kg 1035

1 Lm steer 370kg 970

6 AA steers 387kg 915

4 Fr steers 391kg 800

2 Ch heifers 308kg 780

2 Sim heifers 310kg 740

1 Hr heifer 500kg 1030

Looking at dairy stock, an 8-year-old calved cow sold for €1,350. A 2-year old in-calf heifer made €1,150.

In suckling, a 13-year-old Hereford and her Hereford heifer calf sold for €1,420.

An 11-year-old Limousin and her Aberdeen Angus bull calf sold for €1,300. But the talking point of the day was in the calf ring, where a Limousin bull, four weeks old, sold for an astronomical €670.

Kilkenny mart next, where manager George Candler said after last Thursday’s cattle sale. “We had a similar sized sale to last week, plain cattle were easier by €10 to €15 on last week’s return. Plenty of bite for quality bullocks, with perhaps more customers operating. Heifers, as they have all year, remain an excellent trade with quality lots in demand. A slight easing for some plainer lighter types.”

Cull cows in Kilkenny made €0.90-2.25/kg for Friesians, €1.70-2.35/kg for Continentals.

Suckler cows with calves at foot made €1,300-1,970.

Kilkenny

Thursday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Sim steer 580kg 1350

2 Ch steers 460kg 1220

4 Fr steers 435kg 900

6 AA steers 395kg 900

1 AA heifer 375kg 830

3 Lm heifers 430kg 1140

3 Ch heifers 355kg 870

Macroom

Saturday

No Breed Sex Weight €

6 Hr steers 500kg 1105

5 AA steers 467kg 1055

4 Ch steers 615kg 1330

5 Sim steers 455kg 1130

1 Lm heifer 485kg 1180

4 Ch heifers 435kg 1030

1 Ch cow 730kg 1440

In Macroom mart on Saturday last, dry cows sold from €125 to €710 over the kilo.

Hereford and Angus bullocks made €230-605 over, Continentals €240-790 over the kilo. Heifers sold from €230 to €1,010 with the kilo.

Finally, Thurles mart. where after Monday’s cattle sale. Martin Ryan gave us this report.

“Numbers on offer here are very big for the time of year. with weanling prices currently under pressure when compared with recent weeks.

“We had a remarkably strong trade for good continental bullocks and heifers, lighter traditional breeds however were back €10 to €15 cent/kg on three weeks ago, as were Friesian bullocks.”

Thurles

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

5 Ch steers 494kg 1300

5 Lm steers 481kg 1120

4 Fr steers 435kg 850

6 AA steers 458kg 990

5 Ch heifer 311kg 795

3 Hr heifers 475kg 965

6 Lm heifers 457kg 1135


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