Iveragh Mart, located in Caherciveen, Co Kerry, is very well known for quality weanlings. It’s a long way from Cavan, but the trip didn’t disappoint with serious quality on display across both the bulls and heifers.
Kerry is the only county In Ireland that is seeing no drop in suckler cow numbers and mart manager Mike Kissane said: “There isn’t a lot of other options for farmers, especially out on the peninsulas, and there is a long tradition of producing top-quality weanlings in this area, so farmers tend to get on well with them.”
Tuesday’s sale had almost 500 weanlings on offer, with the majority of calves sold born in July and August 2020.
Mike puts a huge effort into matching stock to buyers before the sale and he sees a lot of the weanlings before coming to the mart.
Most calves being sold were in the 400kg to 500kg bracket, with the average price for bull calves coming in at €2.70/kg.
Prices ranged from €2.50/kg for plainer lots up to €3/kg for the best-quality lots.
A lot of weanlings are sold in batches, with 16 August-born weanlings in one lot weighing 407kg and selling for €1,100 (€2.70/kg). Five August-born super Charolais bull calves weighed 497kg and sold for €1,390 (€2.80/kg).
In the heifer section, it was a similar story, with some serious money being paid to the top-end heifers. A lot of these were being purchased by local farmers as replacements.
Heifers were a little lighter than the bulls on average and ranged in price from €2.60-€3.10/kg, with the average price settling at €2.80/kg.
Mike added: “Quality is always good at our sales. We have a lot of small producers who concentrate on using AI to produce that top-end weanling.”
Nearly all weanlings on Tuesday were sold to farmer buyers, with a mix of feedlot buyers and grazers in action.
“We have a couple of good customers that come to this sale every year. We held the sale a little later than normal because of the BEAM reference period at the end of June as some of our buyers weren’t able to buy until the beginning of July.”
The mart has recently started a weekly live weighing service for lambs with a lot of Leinster customers buying store lambs on a liveweight basis.