The mart trade is all about live exports again this week. A northeastern-based exporter loaded 2,300 bulls on to the Shorthorn Express in Greenore Port at the weekend with these cattle destined for Morocco.

North African demand for cattle is high and it’s expected that further consignments of cattle will be put together within the next few weeks.

Other exporters are also working on filling jobs for eastern Europe and Turkey. This is alongside 3,304 cattle already shipped to Israel and 1,964 shipped to Algeria.

Calf exports had a steady week, with no major disruption to sailings meaning calves have been moving out of the country at a solid rate.

There is also good demand from Northern Ireland for store and finished cattle, along with a steady flow of dairy heifers moving to Britain over the last few weeks.


There have been 6,804 cattle exported to Northern Ireland for the first two months of 2024, along with 873 exported to Britain.

Calf exports are down, but calf shipping activity has only really ramped up in the last two weeks.

A little later calving and calves being kept a little longer on dairy farms has meant the huge numbers of calves in marts have just started last week and this week.

Speaking to mart managers around the country, they are reporting another very positive week’s trading, with a few mentioning the dry cow trade as being very steady, especially for young heavy suckler cows.

Factories are hungry for this type of stock and some big prices have been paid in marts this week for young cows.

Prices paid would be in excess of what these animals are worth in the factory, so farmers with small numbers of cows would be better to do their sums and see if the mart is an option.

Taking a look at this week’s Martbids analysis table, we see that all categories of animals had a steady week’s trading.

The bullock rings were probably the highlight, with the weanling rings continuing their very strong start to 2024.

Top-end bullocks over 600kg rose to €3.20kg this week - a lift of 4c/kg on the previous week.

Almost all categories of weight and quality in the bullock rings recorded a price increase this week, with average-quality bullocks in the 500kg to 600kg weight bracket coming in at €2.84/kg this week - an increase of 4c/kg on the previous week’s trading.

In the heifer rings, it was a similar story, with no real change on the previous week.

Top-quality heifers in the 500kg to 600kg weight bracket came in at €3.12/kg this week - an increase of 3c/kg on last week.

Moving to the weanling rings, the 300kg to 400kg bull weanling continues to be the highlight of the trade, coming in at €3.83/kg this week, unchanged from last week.

Average-quality weanlings in the same weight bracket came in at €3.30/kg.

Heavier bulls were back a little on last week. Some of the poorer-quality dairy-crosses were also back a touch.

The weanling heifer trade was also relatively unchanged, with the popular 300kg to 400kg heifer weanling coming in at €3.48/kg this week.