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.

This 2016-born Aubrac cow weighed 770kg and sold for €1,620 (€2.10/kg).

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.

This Charolais cow, born in 2009, weighed 786kg and sold for €1,370 (€1.74/kg)

Cow trade

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.

This 2017-born Limousin cow with a September 2020-born Limousin heifer at foot and scanned back in calf to the same bull, calving in October sold for €1,850.

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.

This 2016-born Saler cow, with an August 2020-born Limousin bull calf at foot sold for €2,000.

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.

This 346kg Limousin heifer, born May 2020 sold for €730 (€2.11/kg).

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.

This Hereford heifer, born March 2020 weighed 382kg and sold for €730 (€1.91/kg).

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.

This August 2019-born Charolais heifer weighed 466kg and sold for €1,160 (€2.49/kg).

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.

Topping the heifer sale was this June 2020-born Limousin weighing 462kg sold for €1,460 (€3.16/kg).
The only heavy bullock in the sale weighed 610kg and made €2.38/kg (€1,350).
This 328kg Charolais bullock, born in June 2020 sold for €850 (€2.59/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.

This May 2020-born Limousin weighed 380kg and sold for €910 (€2.39/kg).

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.

This April 2019-born Charolais bullock weighed 610kg and sold for €1,450 (€2.36/kg).