The weanling bull trade continues to be the highlight of the mart trade this week, with some exceptional prices being paid for top quality weanling bulls.

Live exporters continue to drive the trade, with serious competition in the market for weanling bulls between 300 and 500kg. The Shorthorn Express was unloaded last week in Morocco and has turned straight back and is on its way to Greenore for another load for the North African market.

A number of exporters are also purchasing weanlings for middle eastern markets and eastern European markets.

Huge numbers are currently being purchased for export, with the latest Bod Bia figures showing a massive increase in the number of stores and adult cattle being exported in the first 10 weeks of 2024.

There have been 4,705 stores exported so far in 2024, an increase of over 2,000 head or 78% on the 2023 figure for the same period. The number of adult cattle exported in 2024 has risen to 9,630, a 54% or almost 3,000 head increase on the 2023 figure.

Current indications are that the demand from these countries currently purchasing Irish cattle is set to grow, with disease outbreaks across Europe curtailing imports from other European countries.

Export market

The calf export market remains behind where we were in 2023 at this point, with calf exports currently running almost 27,000 head behind 2023 figures.

A slower start to the Netherlands trade and less demand coming from the Netherlands market due to nitrates issues is thought to be the cause of the big fall off in numbers. Lairage capacity in Cherbourg and lorry slots on boats are also being talked about as issues curtailing the trade.

Factories are back out in force this week, hoovering up any slaughter fit cattle in marts. Finished cattle are in short supply on farms, and factory agents have been forced to return to the mart rings for their weekly supply of cattle.

This has lifted the trade of heavy cattle. The cull cow trade has also seen a lift this week, with very good competition for well fleshed cows in marts.

Taking a look at this week’s martbids analysis table, we see that its once again dominated by green arrows, which is always a good indication of the trade.


Taking a look at the bullock rings this week, heavy bullocks over 600kg saw a lift of bwtween 7-9 cent/kg in marts. Top quality 600kg+ bullocks came in at €3.28/kg this week, while average quality bullocks came in at €2.97/kg.

Lighter grass bullocks also saw a positive week’s trading, with top quality 350-500kg bullocks coming in at €3.28/kg this week, a lift of 15 cent/kg on the previous week.

The heifer rings also saw an improved trade this week, with the top quality heavy heifers over 600kg showing the biggest improvement. They came in at €3.34/kg after an increase of 19 cent/kg on the previous week.

In the weanling bull rings, it was the heavier weanling that was more in demand this week. Top quality weanling bulls in the 400-450kg weight category came in at €3.64/kg, an increase of 19 cent/kg on the previous week.

Average 300-400kg weanling bulls came in at €3.38/kg, up 8 cent/kg on the previous week.