Mart managers in the south of the country are reporting an increase in the number of dairy dispersal sales booked in for this year.

Corrin Mart manager, Seán Leahy said that in a good year you might have about 10 clearance sales in spring.

However, this year Leahy said there has been a noticeable increase. “We had five before Christmas and since we started back in January, we’ve had them every week. On some of those days two or three herds were sold. They’ve ranged in size from 20 to 100 cows. There’s two more booked in for the autumn already.”

He reported no shortage in demand for cows. The removal of the dairy exit scheme option could be a reason for some farmers who are selling but Leahy said there are a variety of reasons for people leaving the sector.

“People get out for a lot of reasons, some are retiring and there’s no successor, others get out for health reasons. What we saw more this year after the tough spring was a share of part time dairy farmers leave,” he said.

Further south, Skibbereen Mart manager Keith Mullaney said dairy dispersals would have been rare in the area before but the west Cork mart held three this spring.

“All three farmers bought store cattle after so they’re just changing system.”

Across the border in Kerry, it’s a similar story, with Gortatlea manager Maurice Brosnan also seeing more dairy herds go for sale.

“We’ve hit the high twenties this year.

“We’ve had a clearance sale every second week this year, with two more next week. That’s unusual to see them this late,” he said.

Mart managers in the midlands and east reported that while they had witnessed an increase in dairy dispersal sales in the back end of 2023 up to March, the number of sales largely returned to more regular levels than had been witnessed in the south by April/May.

These sales were largely driven by farmers’ health reasons and a lack of farm successors, with the majority of herds sold being in the 50-80 cow range.