Cattle numbers hold well during a busy week of buying and selling at the marts

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I returned to Bandon mart again this Monday, but unlike last week — when I was there as a passive observer — this week it was business.

I decided to take the plunge and enter a few light store cattle myself.

After all, according to those experts who write fancy mart reports, the trade is supposed to be exceptional at the moment.

And how did I get on? Well, four Aberdeen Angus bullocks weighing 263kg made €640 and four Friesian bullocks weighing 338kg made €680. I was happy with the price and thanked auctioneer Jim O’Brien for his good work.

My Friesian stores passing the €2/kg mark was certainly pleasing to the old pocket.

Of course fellows will now say the money won’t go far in trying to restock.

Well before I even start to contemplate restocking, I have a first holy communion to contend with.

I’m afraid a good chunk of my mart money won’t be ploughed back into the farm at all, it will be needed instead for religious purposes. But such is life.

In Bandon on Monday, yet again dry cow numbers were high.

The mart had 155 dry cows on offer with fleshly cows once more commanding the best money. Dry cows in Bandon sold from €170 to €935 with the kilo.

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

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks ranged in price from €350 to €665 with the kilo, while Friesians sold from €220 to €508 with the kilo.

Heifers on Monday sold from €300 to €700 with their weight.

Bandon had 1,003 calves on offer on Monday, with prices holding firm.

Bandon

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Ch steers 468kg 1170

10 AA steers 534kg 1140

1 Hr heifer 635kg 1310

1 AA heifer 605kg 1285

1 BB heifer 335kg 860

1 Ch cow 765kg 1700

1 Fr cow 740kg 1260

Next we go to Thurles mart, and this was mart manger Martin Ryan’s report after Mondays cattle sale.

“We had a significant drop in numbers on Monday, but still there was a very strong trade all round. Perhaps a marginal drop in price for lower quality stock.”

Thurles

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

7 Fr steers 369kg 750

3 AA steers 295kg 750

2 Sim steers 390kg 1020

2 Lm steers 230kg 700

3 Ch heifers 346kg 900

1 BB heifer 345kg 875

3 Sim heifers 528kg 1275

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

“Cattle numbers are holding well with prices slightly easier on last week. Inclement weather with land getting poached and factory prices coming under pressure certainly hasn’t helped.”

Dungarvan

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

7 AA steers 546kg 1200

5 AA steers 524kg 1150

4 Ch heifers 505kg 1130

7 Ch heifer 505kg 1180

2 Lm heifers 537kg 1155

1 Fr cow 630kg 1070

1 Fr cow 620kg 1030

Kilmallock mart on Monday saw a smaller sale with 1,574 cattle and calves on offer. Denis Kirby reporting on the sale told me that there was a strong demand for cattle.

“On Monday we saw fierce competition at the ringside. We had 317 buyers in attendance. Over €3 per kg was paid for bullocks and heifers, while over €2 per kg was paid for dry cows.

“One excellent price achieved on Monday was paid for a Belgian Blue heifer, she weighed 535kgs and made €1,570 (€1,035 with the kilo).”

Looking at dairy stock in Kilmallock, a three-year-old calved cow made €1,400. A two-year-old calved heifer sold for €1,300. Breeding heifers made up to €840 a head on Monday.

And looking at the suckler trade in Kilmallock, a sevenyear old pedigree Angus and her bull calf made €2,100. A six-year-old Limousin and her Limousin heifer calf sold for €1,820. While a 12-year-old pedigree Angus incalf for September made €1,550.

Kilmallock

Monday

No Breed Sex Weight €

3 Lm steers 383kg 995

2 Hr steers 380kg 860

1 Ch steer 350kg 810

5 Fr steers 366kg 750

4 AA steers 505kg 1160

2 AA heifers 425kg 995

1 Hr heifer 490kg 1090

This morning I called in to see the folks at the Regional Veterinary Laboratory on the Model Farm Road. I had a calf in the back who had seen better days. He was in need of an autopsy.

The calf’s sudden demise the previous day had left both the vet and myself scratching our heads.

We were a bit like the hotel porter who arrived at George Bests door in the middle of the night only to find the former footballing great with a bottle of champagne in one hand and a Miss World in the other. “Where did it all go wrong?” the porter famously asked. Well we had the same question regarding the perfectly healthy calf who had died so quickly.

A twisted gut seems to be the most likely culprit in our case, but we will wait to see what the experts conclude.

And granted while the calf didn’t cost me too much in the first place, that isn’t really the point. Whether he was an expensive animal or not, in the farming game we prefer to keep our livestock very much alive and kicking.

And when they die we need to know why.

So back to livestock we go, and in general this week there would seem to be a slight easing in prices with even mart manager themselves mentioning a drop. Although talking to buyers and they will tell you another story.

Purchasers of store cattle, particularly heavy stores, are adamant that cattle are still very hard to buy. “Where’s the reduction?” one buyer snapped back at me during the week after I dared pose the question. I was as sorry as Georges Best’s porter for ever darkening his door.

Skibbereen mart on Friday saw numbers of stock on offer slipping back, dry cows sold from €150 to €600 with the kilo. Heifers in Skibbereen made from €320 to €700 with their weight.

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks ranged in price from €350 to €675 with the kilo. Friesian bullocks made from €220 to €400 over the kilo. Continental bullocks made from €450 to €750 with their weight. Suckler stock in Skibbereen sold from €1,000 to €1320 a head. Dairy stock made from €900 to €1,100.

Skibbereen

Friday

No Breed Sex Weight €

2 Ch steer 372kg 1020

6 Hr steers 277kg 720

2 Fr steers 682kg 1150

4 BB heifers 386kg 840

3 Ch heifer 538kg 1200

1 Fr cow 770kg 1260

1 Sim cow 700kg 1210

Next we go to Kilkenny mart, where mart manager George Candler gave us this report after last Thursdays cattle sale.

“We had a smaller sale of cattle on Thursday with an easing in price for both bullocks and heifers.

“Cull cows met a good selling trade with a top call of €2.40/kg for a quality Blonde cow. Suckler cows with calves at foot peaked at €2,040 per unit.”

Looking at the cull cow trade in Kilkenny, Friesian cull cows made from €1.20/kg to €1.90/kg with continental cull cows at the mart making from €1.60/kg to €2.40/kg.

Kilkenny

Thursday

No Breed Sex Weight €

5 Ch steers 500kg 1200

4 Lm steers 605kg 1430

4 Ch steers 405kg 1060

2 BB heifers 600kg 1410

7 AA heifers 425kg 870

4 Lm heifers 370kg 1060

2 Hr heifers 330kg 770

And finally for this week, we look at the cattle scene in Kanturk mart. After Tuesday’s sale of cattle, mart manager Seamus O’Keeffe gave us this report. “We had a smaller mart than last week with 870 animals, which included 505 calves.

“Prices were the same for bullocks, with heifers, dry cows and calves making exceptional prices.”


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