Mart numbers continue to track downwards across the country, with a gradual decline taking place overt the last few weeks.

June and July are traditionally the quietest months for marts before the busy autumn trade starts to heat up again in early August.

This week’s trade could be described as steady, with not a lot of change across most stock categories.

Exporters continue to be very active for bull calves and a few exporters are also venturing into heifer rings to fill contracts, which should help the weanling heifer trade in the coming weeks.

Factory agents and feedlots are also hoovering up any slaughter-fit or near-fit cattle and paying over €3/kg for any heavy cattle suitable for a quick slaughter.

The cow trade continues to be the highlight of the mart trade, with some exceptional prices being paid for cull cows in marts again this week.

Cow kill

The cow kill has dropped in the last few weeks, with lower numbers of cows presenting at factory lairages and this has pushed agents to marts to get sufficient cow numbers that they need on a weekly basis.

I saw well-finished Limousin-cross-Friesian cows weighing 700kg hit €1,800 in a mart this week. If these cows killed out at 51%, that means a 357kg carcase. These cows would be an O grading cow, so you are looking at €4.60/kg in factories this week for these cows.

Paying €1,800 would mean that these cows would need to be making €5.10/kg at a minimum to cover both mart and factory fees.

The mart continues to be the place to sell small numbers of cull cows. Factory agents are on the instructions to buy cows at any cost in marts, but keep factory quotes steady.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Kilkenny Mart’s George Candler said: “Numbers of beef types were in short supply and the limited number on offer sold very well. The smaller supplies of beef was also reflected in Tuesday’s cull cow sale, which saw Friesian cull cows lacking flesh bottoming out at €1.15/kg, but the better types freely ranged from €1.75/kg to €2.35/kg, with continental types from €1.70 to €2.80/kg.”


Taking a look at this week’s Martbids analysis table, we see that lighter bullocks have had better weeks in terms of trade, with all quality categories in the 350kg to 400kg weight band down on price this week.

The middle weight bullocks from 400kg to 600kg saw a pretty steady week’s trading, with top-quality bullocks in the 400kg to 450kg weight bracket coming in at €3.32/kg, a similar price to last week.

In the heifer rings, heavy heifers were back a touch, with average-quality heifers in the 600kg-plus weight category back 12c/kg to €2.93/kg.

Heavy bull weanlings saw a good week’s trading, with average bull calves in the 400 to 450kg weight category up 17c/kg to €3.30/kg this week.

Top-quality bull calves in the 300kg to 400kg weight category came in at €3.87/kg this week. In the weanling heifer rings, it was the lighter heifers who fared best this week, with average weanling heifers in the 200kg to 300kg weight bracket coming in at €2.98/kg.