Donegal Livestock Mart in Donegal town held a general sale of cattle last Friday 7 May, with an entry of just over 100 head of cattle.
Speaking after the sale, mart manager Eimear McGuinness said that sale numbers typically start to decline at this time of year, but the fact that buyers will be back around the ring for the next sale meant more farmers held off selling stock until that date.
She said that grass supply in the area is also becoming a real issue, which is starting to affect trade.
As numbers dwindle, the quality of stock offered for sale has also become more variable, which resulted in some downward pressure on price compared with a fortnight earlier.
In saying this, the cow trade was excellent, with decent-quality R grading cows that required feeding making between €1.75/kg and €1.90/kg.
A small entry of factory-fit suckler-bred cows traded around the €2.00/kg to €2.10/kg mark.
There was a nice number of cows with calves at foot, with prices quite variable, depending on both the age of the cow and the age and quality of the calf at foot.
These ranged from €1,220 for a 2015-born Charolais cow with a one-month-old Charolais heifer calf at foot up to €2,000 for a 2016-born Salers cow with an August 2020-born Limousin bull calf at foot, scanned back in calf and due in July.
Heifers from 300kg to 350kg averaged €2.24/kg, with a number of dairy-beef types trading between €1.65/kg and €1.85/kg, while suckler-bred types moved from €2.35/kg to €2.50/kg and as high as €2.70/kg for top-quality lots.
A small number of heifers from 350kg to 400kg, most of which were traditionally bred cattle, averaged €2.05/kg.
Heifers from 400kg to 500kg averaged €2.36/kg and hit a top price of €3.16/kg for a June-born Limousin weighing 462kg (€1,460) with breeding potential.
Nice-quality bull weanlings from 300kg to 350kg were making €2.45/kg to €2.65/kg, while plainer types moved from €2.20/kg to €2.35/kg. Bullocks over 400kg averaged €2.15/kg.
Eimear said that everyone at the mart was looking forward to welcoming back customers, both buyers and sellers for next Friday’s sale on 21 May.
She said that it has been a difficult year for farmers and marts alike and while online selling has played, and will continue to play, an important role, it is good to be getting back to having people ringside.