The trade for an entry of over 700 lots in Castlerea Mart on Thursday was described as remaining strong despite the continued adverse weather. Demand for bull weanlings was underpinned by a good balance of live export, specialist finisher and farmer demand.

Live exporters were active for the highest-quality bulls for the Italian market and also for bulls offering good value-for-money for north African and eastern European markets. The trade for lighter nice-quality bulls weighing 300kg to 360kg was dominated by farmer buyers with this especially the case for Charolais-bred stock.

Price analysis

Martbids analysis shows the top third of bulls weighing 300kg to 400kg sold on average for €3.38/kg while average-quality lots sold for €3.38/kg and the bottom third averaged €2.98/kg. The standout prices in this category were Charolais and Angus bulls which sold for upwards of €4/kg on a dozen occasions.

Bulls weighing 400kg to 450kg were fewer in numbers with top-quality bulls averaging €3.45/kg, average-quality €3.13/kg and the bottom third at €3.13/kg.

Weanling heifers followed a similar trend with prices trending 10c/kg to 15c/kg below bulls. The average price paid for weanling heifers weighing 300kg to 400kg was €3.17/kg with the top third at €3.57/kg and the bottom third at €2.82/kg. Prices were 10c/kg to 15c/kg below the previous week’s sale but quality was also noticeably reduced.

Heifer trade

The majority of heifers on offer weighed from 400kg to 500kg. The trade held solid for the better-quality heifers on offer but prices were described as tougher for plainer-quality and in particular dairy-crosses.

The top third of heifers averaged €3.32/kg with the best-quality lots rising to €3.40/kg to €3.55/kg. The average price in the sale was €2.96/kg while the bottom third sold for €2.66/kg. Heavier heifers weighing 500kg to 600kg followed a similar price trend with the top third 10c/kg lower on average.

Cow trade

The trade for an entry of almost 80 dry cows was firm. Top-quality continental-bred cows averaged €2.79/kg with the highest prices lots rising to €3/kg. The top price on the day was €2,800 paid for a super Charolais cow weighing 1,040kg. The average price was €2.24/kg with the bottom third including Friesian cows recorded at €1.60/kg. Cows with calves at foot sold from €1,990 to €2,100 while springers sold from €970 to €2,580.

This Limousin-cross bull weighing 320kg and born 04/08/23 sold for €1,100.

This good-quality Limousin-cross bull weighing 330kg and born 03/0823 sold for €1,180.

This brown Charolais-cross bullock weighing 415kg and born 27/03/23 sold for €1,230.

This 415kg Charolais-cross bullock born 27/03/23 sold for €1,230.

This light but good-quality Charolais-cross bull weighing 325kg sold for €1,190.

This Charolais-cross bullock weighing 415kg and born 06/04/23 sold for €1,260.

This light Aberdeen-Angus cross bull weighing 230kg and born 21/07/23 sold for €900.

Weighing 390kg, this Limousin-Belgian Blue cross bull born 29/05/23 sold for €1,480.

This Charolais-cross bullock weighing 415kg and born 22/3/23 was bid to €1,100 but not sold.