It’s been another steady week for the mart trade, with heavy cattle being the highlight again for this week’s trade.

Feedlot buyers and factory agents have been very active over the last two to three weeks, hoovering up forward cattle and cattle fit for slaughter in marts.

This has given a lift to the heavy cattle trade, with increases seen in both the bullock and heifer categories in this week’s Martbids analysis table.

Mart sales are getting smaller, with a notable decrease in numbers coming out in the last two weeks.

Cull cow sales are remaining strong, with some very big sales of suckler cull cows in the west this week.

Heavy well-fleshed suckler cows continue to be in demand, with upwards of €2.50/kg being paid in some marts for young slaughter-fit cows.

The cull dairy cow trade, especially those lacking flesh, continue to be under pressure, with parlour cows selling for as low as 50c/kg liveweight in some marts this week.

In the bullock category, top-end heavy bullocks over 600kg came in at €2.83/kg, a rise of 8c/kg on the previous week.

Average-quality heifers in the same weight bracket came in at €2.53/kg. The store heifer trade also saw a solid week, with top-end heifers in the 400kg to 500kg weight bracket coming in at €2.79/kg this week, unchanged from last week’s prices.

Poorer-quality dairy-crosses are moving around the €2/kg to €2.20/kg this week.

Lighter bullocks also saw good demand this week, with good-quality 400kg to 500kg bullocks selling at an average of €2.89/kg.

In the weanling rings, it was also a steady week for the trade. The only small reduction in price that took place was in the 300kg to 400kg weight brackets. Average-quality bull weanlings in that bracket came in at €2.82/kg this week, a reduction on 4c/kg on the previous week.

The weanling heifer trade was relatively unchanged on last week’s trading with average weanling heifers in the 300kg to 400kg weight bracket coming in at €2.70/kg this week.

TB testing changes

I have had a few queries on the TB testing requirement for cull cows.

A large number of cows are moving through marts at the moment, with a number of dispersal sales and special breeding suckler cow sales taking place.

Some farmers who have bought suckler cows have received a text from the Department of Agriculture that the cow they have purchased has to be tested within 30 days of moving into their herd.

This is part of changes introduced by the Department in 1 February 2023. Cows of any age or males over the age of 36 months moving from one herd to another, through a mart or farm to farm, must be tested within the last six months and the herd that is moving them out must also be tested within the last six months.

If not, these animals must be tested in the 30 days prior to or after movement. Feedlot buyers who slaughter cows after purchase have 90 days in which to TB test the purchased animal. If the animal is still in the herd after 90 days, the herd will have to be tested.