The mart trade continues to perform way beyond expectations, with big appetite for stock around mart rings over the last seven days.

Speaking to mart managers in the west of the country, sales have been a little smaller over the last two weeks.

Some have reported big numbers coming out in February and aren’t expecting any big flush of cattle in the next few weeks.

Others pointed to the wet weather stalling a few sellers. They are taking the view that the grass buyers will be raring to go in a few weeks and that always lifts the trade so they are opting to wait and see.

Fodder supply doesn’t appear to be an issue on a lot of farms, especially in the south. However, if the current wet spell is prolonged in the west, it could start to have an impact on sales.

Some buyers are reporting dairy-beef cattle in the 300-400kg bracket to be a little easier bought this week compared to the last number of weeks.

The data

Taking a look at the MartBids analysis table this week, we see very little movement in many of the weight categories across all stock.

Lighter weanling heifers have seen a little easing but the top third of heifers in the most popular weight category of 300-400kg are still coming in at €3.50/kg, with the average 300-400kg heifer selling at €3.06/kg this week.

Exporters are driving the bull weanling trade, with a number of exporters very active both online and at the ringside for weanlings for eastern European contracts.

Lighter bulls saw a big increase this week, with the top third of weanling bulls in the 200-300kg bracket hitting €3.74/kg and the 300-400kg bulls coming in at €3.62/kg.

Bullocks and heifers are a similar trade to last week, with feedlots and factory agents dominating the trade for heavy cattle.

The top third of steers and heifers are all crossing the €3.20/kg mark, with some of the better lots hitting €3.50/kg.

Elphin Mart had a special sale of breeding heifers on Wednesday, with some very fancy prices paid for heifers suitable for the bull.

A number of 2021-born heifers over the 500kg mark made over €3,000, with farmers, in-calf heifer specialists and northern customers very active during the day.

Commenting on the trade, mart manager Kevin Caslin said: “The dry cow trade continues to drive the heifer trade.

“I’ve seen farmers getting close to €3,000 for cull cows in the last few weeks and in some cases they are buying in-calf heifers back in cheaper than that.”


Iveragh Mart in Kerry also had a big sale of cattle at its annual show and sale on Tuesday.

Kerry is well known for its quality cattle and a lot of customers target the big spring sales for stock.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, mart manager Mike Kissane said: “We had a great sale with a very high clearance. We had unbelievable online activity with over 25% of the sales going to online buyers.

“We’re a long a way a way from everywhere down here in Kerry and we do our best to encourage as many customers either online or in person to buy our stock.

“We have a lot of repeat customers who like the cattle because they do very well for them.”