Weanling sales continue their strong start to the autumn trading period. Mart managers are reporting a big increase in activity this week, as farmers face down exporters around mart rings.

Exporters have been buoyed by the news that the middle east is back in the market for Irish weanlings, with a number of Ireland’s leading exporters now in the market for large numbers of weanlings between now and Christmas.

Viastar has planned for a number of boatloads which could total over 12,000 weanlings when orders are filled.

A large western-based exporter is also in the market for top-end weanlings, along with a number of others working on smaller contracts to Italy and eastern Europe.

Live exports are currently running 20% ahead of the same period in 2022 and with a number of boatload of weanlings currently being assembled, this figure is likely to finish considerably higher than 2022 live export levels.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Clare Marts general manager Martin McNamara said Clare Marts saw a very solid week for trading with a lot more customers active this week across the network.

“We are seeing weanlings up in price compared to last year, with a combination of farmer buyers and exporters driving the trade. Exporters are concentrating on the Limousin and Belgium Blue calves, while the farmer buyers are tending more towards the Charolais type calves,” he said.

Analysis table

Taking a look at this week’s Martbids analysis table, we see that weanling bulls and heifers were the highlight of this week’s mart trade.

Top-quality bull weanlings in the popular 300kg to 400kg weight category hit €3.77/kg this week, up 12c/kg on the previous week. Top-end weanlings in the 400kg to 450kg bracket weren’t far behind, coming in at €3.69/kg, up 14c/kg on last week’s trading. Heavy bulls were also up, coming in at €3.60/kg this week.

Heifer weanlings also saw a very positive week’s trading. Top-quality heifers in the 300kg to 400kg weight bracket came in at €3.69/kg this week, up 5c/kg on the previous week.

Lighter heifers were an even better trade, with 200kg to 300kg heifers up 21c/kg on last week and coming in at €3.63/kg.

Dry cows saw another strong week’s trading, with factory agents still out in force sourcing factory-fit cows and forward stores for feeding.

Top-quality young heavy cows were trading for over €2.50/kg this week, with some exceptional prices paid for cows over 800kg.

One of the top prices in Tuam Mart on Monday was an April 2016 Charolais-cross cow weighing 950kg selling for €2,460 (€2.59/kg). Northern Ireland-based customers are also very active for forward stores, with big numbers moving north out of a number of sales in the last seven days.

Compared with the same week last year, top-quality 300kg to 400kg weanlings are up 53c/kg or €185/head on last year’s trading.

Heifer weanlings have seen the biggest lift, coming in 60c/kg ahead of the same week in 2022.