Carnaross mart held its first sale identifying weanlings that have never received antibiotics or genetically modified (GM) feed on Tuesday night.

The move comes in response to Italy’s largest retailer Coop Italia announcing that it intends to supply beef in 2018 that has never received antibiotics or GM feed.

The beef will be supplied through a number of avenues, but for Irish farmers supplying weanlings there are two trade outlets – weanlings purchased by live export companies for export to Italian feedlots and weanlings purchased by KK club farmers.

Pat O’Rourke, national coordinator of the initiative, said awareness of trading such weanlings is slowly starting to build, with a number of weanlings entered in Tuesday night’s sale possessing the stamp.

O’Rourke commended the honesty of farmers in putting forward animals for sale and advised other farmers with eligible weanlings to declare them in sales as it offers the potential of another sales avenue.


All documentation required is collected at the point of entry, with farmers asked to sign a declaration that animals have never received antibiotics or GM feed.

The weanlings possessing the stamp were all good-quality suckler-bred stock that commanded high levels of competition.

Heavy U grading bulls weighing 400kg to 450kg sold on average for €2.50/kg with the best quality lots increasing to €2.70/kg.

This top-quality 440kg Charolais bull, born 25/11/16, possessed the antibiotic and GM feed free stamp and sold for €1,160 (€2.64/kg).

There was a good entry of light bulls weighing less than 300kg and these sold in the main from €2.70/kg to €3.00/kg, with the best quality lots weighing 250kg to 280kg selling to a top of €3.20/kg.


Demand was helped by strong interest from live exporters purchasing bulls and heifers for export to Italian and Turkish markets.

There was also demand from specialist finishers for bulls weighing in excess of 500kg.

General sale

Meanwhile, numbers of 2017-born bulls are rising, with throughput of 2016-born bulls falling off.

The best quality bulls weighing 300kg to 350kg sold from €2.50/kg to €2.70/kg with specialist feeders and exporters active.

Lesser quality continental bulls sold from €2.35/kg to €2.45/kg, with Angus bulls and crosses from the dairy herd selling from €2.00/kg to €2.20/kg.

Friesian bulls are a difficult sell across the country, with prices ranging from €1.35/kg to €1.55/kg.

O grading bulls and dairy crosses born in 2016 and weighing 400kg to 500kg sold on average for €2.00/kg, with R grading bulls from €2.20/kg to €2.30/kg. The best quality U grading bulls sold from €2.40/kg to €2.50/kg.


In the heifer ring, good-quality continental heifers weighing less than 350kg sold form €2.30/kg to €2.50/kg, with the best lots weighing 250kg to 300kg rising to €2.70/kg to €3.00/kg. There was good demand for heifers for the Turkish market.

Dairy crosses sold for an average of €2.00/kg for O grading Angus, Hereford and Limousin crosses weighing less than 350kg.

Two Limousin cross heifers weighing 290kg on average and born 05/01/17 and 17/01/17 sold for €675 (€2.33/kg).

The best demand for heavier heifers was also for Charolais- and Limousin-bred animals.

Heifers weighing 380kg to 450kg sold from €2.30/kg to €2.40/kg on average with a selection of excellent-quality heifers rising to €2.50/kg to €2.60/kg.

Along with Carnaross mart, Granard and Carrigallen have also held sales where weanlings have been identified.

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