Sixmilebridge Mart in Co Clare held its annual weanling show and sale on Saturday last in conjunction with its general cattle sale.
Joe Clune, who recently replaced outgoing mart manager Sean Ryan, reported on a lively trade which saw top-quality weanlings record prices of €2.70/kg to €3.00/kg and higher on occasion.
Joe said: “It has been a positive few weeks for the mart. We had a special beef sale at the end of August to mark the mart’s 10 years trading as a farmer co-operative and the optimism generated for that sale carried forward to the weanling sale.
“Farmers who traded beef cattle on the day were relatively happy and are now out again looking to replenish stocks.”
Numbers of weanlings appearing in sales are running below normal levels for the time of year, with positive grass supplies and good ground conditions encouraging farmers to delay sales, which is likely to lead to a busier period of trading in October.
This also fuelled higher competition, along with specialist bull beef finishers being more active of late.
Bulls weighing 400kg to 470kg sold from €2/kg to €2.15/kg upwards for plainer-quality types, with top-quality U grading bulls with age on their side in terms of a 16-month bull-beef production system selling from €1,150 to €1,280 or from €2.50/kg to €2.80/kg.
There were more farmer buyers for lighter bulls weighing 300kg to 380kg.
R grading bulls ranged in price from €2.30/kg to €2.55/kg on average, with U grades again rising to €2.80/kg and select lots of prizewinners and excellent-quality types rising to and exceeding €3/kg.
There was a similar price trend for weanling heifers, with a selection of prizewinners and well-conformed, coloured heifers with potential for breeding show-quality progeny selling in excess of €3/kg.
The general sale included a special entry of about 30 in-calf heifers and a good showing of continental store cattle.
The quality of in-calf heifers on offer was mixed, with plainer-quality types not calving until well into 2022 ranging from €1,100 to €1,400 on average, while better-quality types ranged from €1,300 to €1,700 and a top of €1,980.
Store bullocks and heifers weighing in the region of 480kg to 540kg traded from €2.20/kg to €2.50/kg for good-quality R+ and U grading types with age on their side, with the highest prices rising to €2.60/kg to €2.70/kg on a number of occasions for quality types.