Short-keep and slaughter-fit heifers met an excellent trade at Castlerea Mart on Thursday, with factory agents and specialist finishers competing strongly and paying €2.30/kg to €2.50/kg for good R and U- grading types.

The trade for forward store heifers and slaughter-fit lots were the highlight of the trade in Castlerea Mart’s weekly cattle sale.

The spotlight on heifers was driven by a significant number of excellent-quality heifers on offer weighing in the region of 500kg to 600kg.

These heifers met strong demand from factory agents and specialist finishers, while a number of Northern buyers were also active on the day.

This Limousin cross heifer weighing 590kg and born 13/4/19 sold for €1,380 (€2.34/kg).

Prices for these heifers ranged from €2.30/kg to €2.50/kg, with a high number falling within a price range of €2.35/kg to €2.45/kg.

This 570kg Limousin cross heifer born 31/3/19 sold for €1,430 (€2.51/kg).

Good-quality store heifers in the 400kg to 500kg weight bracket were also in demand with the spike in grass growth rates in recent weeks boosting demand.

Prices again ranged from €2.30/kg to €2.50/kg on average, with a selection of top-quality lots rising to €2.60/kg to €2.70/kg.

Plainer-quality heifers including Hereford- and Angus-cross heifers sold anywhere from €2/kg to €2.20/kg for average-quality heifers, with a small selection of yearling heifers rising to €2.25/kg to €2.30/kg.

This fleshed Charolais cross heifer born 17/9/19 and weighing 600kg sold for €1,470 (€2.45/kg).

The trade for cows with calves at foot was also dependent on quality, with a super Limousin-Belgian Blue-cross cow and a strong bull calf at foot attracting intense bidding and a top price of €2,290.

The general run of prices for medium-quality cows ranged from €1,150 to €1,450, with a small selection of aged cows with a young calf at foot selling back to €1,000 per outfit.

The €2,000 mark was also breached on one occasion for a super-quality Charolais cow weighing 930kg and selling for €2,090.

A significant number of other quality U grading cows also exceeded the €2/kg mark, selling to €2.10/kg to €2.15/kg.

Meanwhile, R grading cows sold from €1.70/kg to €1.90/kg, with a few young cows selling to €2/kg and higher.