It was a mixed week for the cattle trade this week in marts, with some categories of stock performing very well while others were back on price.

Light weanlings fared best, with almost all weight and quality categories under 400kg coming in at a better price this week.

Bull weanlings in the popular 300kg to 400kg weight bracket continue to be a very solid trade, holding at €2.94/kg for the top-end weanlings this week.

Heavier bulls are also meeting good demand from large finishers, with top-quality 450kg-plus bulls coming in at €3.04/kg this week.

Weanling heifers were a similar trade to last week, with top-end 300kg to 400kg heifers came in at €3.23/kg this week, up 5c/kg on the previous week.

Heavy heifers, on the other hand, saw a dip in price this week, with top-end heifers weighing over 600kg back by 16c/kg this week.

Average heifers were also back in price, with average 600kg-plus heifers coming in at €2.48/kg this week, a drop of 19c/kg on the previous week.

Lighter poorer-quality heifers actually fared better this week, with dairy-cross heifers in the 400kg to 500kg weight bracket up 5c/kg to €2.05/kg.

Better-quality lighter heifers had a solid week’s trading with prices relatively unchanged. Top-end heifers in the 400kg to 500kg weight bracket came in at €2.84/kg this week, while heifers in the 350kg to 400kg weight bracket came in at €2.71/kg.

Bullocks saw less movement in price over the last seven days, with top-end bullocks still commanding best prices.

Better quality

Better-quality bullocks in the 400kg to 500kg weight bracket came in at €2.91/kg this week, similar to last week.

Average bullocks in the same weight bracket came in at €2.39/kg, while poorer-quality dairy-crosses came in at €1.89/kg.

Top-end heavier bullocks in the 600kg-plus category came in at €2.73/kg.

Replacement heifer sales - both in-calf and maiden - continue to perform very strongly.

Elphin Mart had a special sale of 83 heifers for Galway man Tom Corbett last Saturday, with 83 heifers going through the ring to average €3,300/head.

The top price was paid for a January 2022-born Limousin-cross-Belgian Blue heifer selling for €6,500, with a lot of the high-priced heifers being exported to NI.

Mart manager Ciaran Lynch said: “We had an unreal trade for the whole sale, with farmers travelling huge distances to secure top-quality heifers. There’s remarkable confidence in the replacement heifer trade at the moment.”

NI strike

NI finishers could be looking at a seven- to 10-day delay in getting cattle slaughtered once normal service resumes next week. It’s unclear as yet as to how this will affect finisher purchasing capacity in the short term.

A southern-based exporter is set to load over 1,500 cattle this week for export to Libya in the next few days.

The Sarah M, which departed Misurata Port in Libya on 17 October, docked in Foynes Port on Wednesday 1 November.

This is the first of an expected number of consignments of cattle due to be exported to Libya in the coming weeks.