The dry cow sale in Gortatlea Mart was on fire at the Co Kerry mart’s weekly sale on Friday last. There were almost 350 cows on offer and a full clearance.

Suckler stock were pushing for €3/kg at the upper end of trade. Forward well-fleshed continental cows sold for between €2.70/kg and €3/kg, while prices for the store-type suckler cow ranged from €2.30/kg to €2.80/kg.

Dairy cows made up about 70% of what was on offer and well-fleshed Friesians were making from €1.90/kg to €2.20/kg.

The average price for Friesian cows over 600kg was €1.93/kg, which tells its own story of how demand is for them.

Stores

Prices for store Friesian cows saw the top end of what was available hit €1.90/kg and they made from there back to €1.50/kg.

Commenting on the cow trade, mart manager Maurice Brosnan said: “We’ve had 300 to 600 cows here most weeks. Cows are the easiest type of stock to sell at the moment - there’s great demand and we’ve had a flying trade all spring.

“We had one suckler farmer this week that averaged €2.99/kg for seven cows. With nitrates issues and everything else, farmers aren’t holding on to them longer than they have to. If a cow looked at you the wrong way, they’d nearly sell them.”

He felt with numbers dropping and a few big sporting events happening in Europe over the summer that there could be a lift in prices yet.

“Numbers are tightening, so the outlook for cows is good. If we get a bit of sunshine to go with the European championships and the Olympics, then we should see super demand for manufacturing beef.”

Cows were bought for finishing or for further feeding, with northern buyers targeting suckler cows.

“Northern buyers are active for coloured cows and strong continental stores. There’s good demand across the board and we had one feedlot purchaser buy 100 Angus cattle between 550kg and 700kg.”

Alongside the cows, there were another 700 store cattle for sale.

Almost evenly split between bullocks and heifers, trade for Angus cattle was especially strong. Prices for them hit a top of €3.10/kg, with €3/kg freely available for Angus-sired stock.

While €3.40/kg was the pinnacle for continentals, in general they were marginally ahead of Angus cattle. Prices for Hereford-crosses were roughly 20c/kg back on Angus-crosses. Friesian bullocks sold for between €2.20/kg and €2.45/kg. Heifer prices were hot on the heels of bullocks.

In pictures

This April 2018-born Limousin-cross cow weighed 660kg and sold for €1,790 (€2.71/kg).

This April 2020-born Charolais cow weighed 713kg and sold for €1,830 (€2.57/kg).

This January 2018-born Friesian cow weighed 665kg and sold for €1,300 (€1.96/kg).

This February 2022-born Friesian heifer weighed 575kg and sold for €1,380 (€2.40/kg).

This February 2021-born Friesian cow weighed 595kg and sold for €1,200 (€2.02/kg).

This May 2020-born Friesian cow weighed 765kg and sold for €1,530 (€2/kg).

This September 2013-born Charolais cow weighed 810kg and sold for €2,400 (€2.96/kg).

This November 2016-born Charolais cow weighed 885kg and sold for €2,700 (€3.05/kg).

This September 2017-born Charolais cow weighed 815kg and sold for €2,460 (€3.02/kg).

This October 2017-born Charolais cow weighed 890kg and sold for €2,580 (€2.90/kg).

This February 2022-born Parthenaise-cross heifer weighed 650kg and sold for €2,100 (€3.27/kg).