Cattle marts: Small cattle are ‘near untouchable’ and calves fetch some exceptional prices

As May begins and summer officially gets under way, the farming situation is like this: silage ground cannot be sold, and store cattle cannot be bought.

There is no demand for one, and an unreal appetite for the other.

Bandon mart on a bank holiday Monday is usually a good spot to hit, and sure enough there was a good lively mart in progress when I arrived on Monday morning.

Bandon had 1,235 calves on offer on Monday, with prices holding well.

Bandon had 160 dry cows on offer on Monday, and here too the demand was good, particularly for the fleshy cow.

Dry cows in Bandon sold from €130 to €775 with the kilo.

Bullocks appearing at the marts are in great condition this year.

A winter of abundant feeding is showing here.

In Bandon, continental bullocks sold from €500 to €800 with the kilo.

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks ranged in price from €405 to €750 with the kilo, while Friesians sold from €220 to €704 with the kilo.

Heifers on Monday sold from €300 to €775 with their weight.

Bandon

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Sim steers 501kg 1200

4 AA steers 396kg 1020

1 Ch heifer 625kg 1400

1 Lm heifer 400kg 1025

2 AA heifers 512kg 1155

1 Ch cow 725kg 1500

1 Fr cow 840kg 1430

Next we go to Thurles mart, and this was mart manger Martin Ryan’s take on the exceptional selling trade that exists at present.

“Small cattle are near untouchable,” Martin said.

“We had a big turnout of cattle here on Monday, and a seriously strong trade for all types of stock.

The mart was mobbed, with the Bank Holiday perhaps encouraging more part-timers to the sale.”

Thurles

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

5 Fr steers 295kg 720

7 AA steers 307kg 810

1 BB steer 625kg 1460

2 Lm steers 387kg 1020

2 Hr steers 415kg 995

1 Ch heifer 235kg 700

1 Sim heifer 250kg 610

Boxer Floyd Mayweather certainly gave poor old Manny Pacquiao a pounding in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

And the May weather in Ireland over the weekend also had us running for cover.

The rain was relentless on Saturday.

However, the deluge had no effect on the trade in Macroom mart. After Saturday’s cattle sale, mart manager John O’Mahony reported another day of strong trading with good prices being achieved across the board.

Macroom

Saturday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Hr steer 535kg 1145

2 Ch steers 550kg 1210

2 Lm steers 370kg 1080

2 Lm heifers 500kg 1170

2 Ch heifers 370kg 980

1 Sim cow 790kg 1460

1 Lm cow 645kg 1300

Last week Ger Flynn, manager of Dungarvan mart, was telling us that farmland in his part of the country was in desperate need of rain.

Well, Ger’s prayers have certainly been answered since last week.

Dungarvan

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

4 Ch steers 564kg 1315

3 Fr steers 606kg 1145

5 Sim steers 413kg 1120

1 AA heifer 605kg 1360

2 Hr heifers 557kg 1130

1 BB heifer 553kg 1160

And so, with moisture deficiencies resolved, Ger gave us the following mart report this week.

“There was a very good trade all round here on Monday, with prices holding well for all types of stores.”

Next we look at Kilmallock mart; Denis Kirby gave us this report.

“Again, there was an outstanding trade here in Kilmallock on Monday. “We had 2,340 stock on offer, including 1,050 calves. “Just over 400 buyers were in attendance. “All types of cattle are flying and in big demand, over €3 per kg was paid in the bullock and heifer rings. Dry cows made over 2 per kg. The big talking point on Monday was in the calf ring, with a Belgian Blue heifer calf (under three weeks old) selling to a Westmeath buyer for €770.”

Kilmallock

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 BB steer 375kg 1005

2 Ch steers 363kg 1000

6 Hr steers 371kg 905

5 AA steers 369kg 885

1 Hr steer 350kg 815

7 Fr steers 345kg 745

1 Lm heifer 495kg 1160

In suckling stock in Kilmallock, an 8-year-old Aberdeen Angus and her Aberdeen Angus heifer calf made €2,110. An 11-year-old Charolais and her Limousin bull calf fetched €1,650.

Looking at dairy stock, a 3-year-old calved heifer sold for €1,530. A 4-year-old calved cow made €1,510. Breeding heifers made up to €980 a head.

What the last week of wet weather has clearly shown to me is the importance of shelter.

While the showers have been bad, cattle are doing fine on farms where they can seek out a bit of shelter in times of need, to my mind at least.

I was caught by many sudden downpours over the past week and was glad, as were my cattle, to have a well-covered ditch to aim for.

I have never understood the desire of some farmers have to uproot and level every ditch that their farm might contain.

Some of these farmers, I feel, have the misguided belief that they live in the balmy Bahamas with the likes of Rihanna for company.

Sadly, we don’t live in the Bahamas with Rihanna. We live in a country with a changeable climate. A rain one minute, sunny the next, kind of climate.

More ground is obviously the aim of the farmer with a love of levelling. But what’s the point in having more ground if your herd of cattle are forced to face a deluge of rain with only an electric fence for shelter?

In Skibbereen mart on Friday, dry cows sold from €120 to €620 with the kilo. Heifers in Skibbereen made from €315 to 855 with their weight.

Skibbereen

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 BB steer 675kg 1480

4 Hr steers 330kg 890

6 Fr steers 390kg 860

6 AA steers 319kg 830

1 Lm heifer 755kg 1610

1 Lm cow 510kg 1110

1 Ch cow 755kg 1440

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks ranged in price from €340 to €720 with the kilo. Friesian bullocks made from €295 to €560 over the kilo. Continental bullocks made from €440 to €815 with their weight.

Suckler stock in Skibbereen sold from €1,100 to €1,470 a head. Dairy stock made from €850 to €1,300, with Friesian maiden heifers making from €500 to €950 a head.

Next we go to Kilkenny mart, where mart manager George Candler gave us this report after last Thursday’s cattle sale. “We had a smaller number of stock on offer, with quality lots meeting a solid trade. Plain cattle, I felt, were a shade easier compared to last weeks returns. Heifers and cull cows met a very steady trade.”

In the cull cow trade in Kilkenny, Friesian culls made from €1.15/kg to €2.05/kg, with continental cull cows making from €1.65/kg to €2.10/kg.

Kilkenny

Thursday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 Hr steer 745kg 1500

4 Ch steers 605kg 1545

5 Lm steers 510kg 1390

6 Fr steers 450kg 985

6 AA steers 340kg 770

5 Ch heifers 375kg 950

4 Hr heifers 260kg 665

Finally this week, Kanturk mart, where mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe gave us this report after Tuesday’s sale of cattle. “We had a smaller mart than last week, with 920 animals, which included 540 calves.

“Prices were the same as last week for bullocks and heifers, with some exceptional prices for Hereford and continental calves.

“Next Saturday, we will have an all-breed bull sale starting at 12 noon, we will also have a dairy sale starting at 2pm.”

Kanturk

Tuesday

No Breed Sex Weight €

1 AA steer 760kg 1320

2 Fr steers 632kg 1180

2 Hr steers 530kg 1060

1 Lm steer 585kg 1150

1 Ch steer 560kg 1050

1 Fr heifer 570kg 950

1 Fr cow 745kg 1200


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