Eimear McGuinness, Donegal Mart, Co Donegal

“It was a good enough year price-wise. Costs will be the next issue. There was a lot of farmers selling dry cows this year, will they be replaced? Highly unlikely. I wonder will farmers keep or reduce numbers.

"There is probably a lot more sheep coming out over the last few years, they’re keeping more sheep rather than cattle. I would be concerned about cattle numbers for 2023.

"Marts also got a lot more factory-fit cattle this year. On the sheep side, a lot of farmers have also said they won’t be feeding any more as it’s too costly.

"To buy lambs and feed and finish them, the return isn’t enough and I’d be concerned about what’s coming down the track.”

David Quinn, Carnew Mart, Co Carlow

“We had very high numbers in 2021, we maintained those numbers in 2022. It was a good year for stock prices.

"We’re seeing a future reduction in the suckler herd. We saw a lot of suckler farmers selling dry cows or springers. We’re looking at farmers have more Friesian-bred cattle rather than the continental breeds, which is a bit disappointing.

"On sheep, the first half of the year was positive, prices were disappointing from September on.

"The slight change to TB testing in 2023 is a concern. The trade has been remarkable since brucellosis testing was done away with, the new TB testing is going to put more expense on farmers, but we hope it doesn’t deter numbers from the cow ring.

"It’s very important that the market is not distorted by this change.”

Mike Kissane, Iveragh Mart, Co Kerry

“We found it extremely difficult to sell store lambs this year. It started with the drought in July/August and it was only sorted out in September and it was too late then. We depend a lot on store lambs.

"A lot of customers who traditionally buy big numbers didn’t this year. Ration prices compounded the situation then.

"The most worrying thing is the reduction in suckler cow numbers. If suckler cows go, we’re going to be in bother, they’re our bread and butter.

"TB testing is another issue, people will be confused and it will be awkward next year.

"Hopefully, 2023 will be better than 2022, but my single biggest worry is suckler cow numbers. If farmers get a good price for their weanlings, it stays in the local economy.”

Kevin Caslin, Elphin Mart, Co Roscommon

“This year has been very good, we’re running on par with 2021 in terms of numbers and turnover, maybe back a small bit.

"In 2023, the amount of cull cows going through the ring could have a knock-on impact on weanling numbers. The store trade should be good enough and it’s encouraging to see shipping activity in recent weeks.

“The TB testing will trickle down to younger stock eventually. I think it’s going to be messy and tricky for farmers. It’s not ideal, but there’s no appetite for changing it.”