Elphin Mart had over 400 bullocks through the ring on Wednesday at its annual show and sale of bullocks.
Similar to the previous week’s sale for heifers, demand was brisk.
Northern customers again drove the trade, with a stronger hand compared with southern customers.
The beef price differential between Northern Ireland (NI) and Ireland is close to €220/head at the moment and possibly more for certain types of stock.
While the nomad cattle issue hasn’t gone away, wholesalers and feeders supplying wholesalers have been very active for store cattle in the last few weeks.
Cattle bought in south of Ireland marts and finished on NI farms don’t qualify for the Red Tractor label and hence are not suitable for the retail trade.
NI-reared and slaughtered cattle are being sold into the retail market and such is the demand from UK and NI retailers that this is taking a lot of the suitable retail-spec cattle in the NI market.
This is leaving a gap in the wholesale market and that is where the southern cattle come in.
Bullocks in the 400kg to 500kg bracket averaged out at €2.57/kg or €1,156/head, with the top third of bullocks in this weight category hitting €2.74/kg or €1,233/head.
Heavier bullocks in the 500kg to 600kg bracket were hitting €2.56/kg or €1,408/head for a 550kg bullock.
The top third in this category averaged €2.72/kg or €1,496/head for a 550kg bullock.
Bullocks over 600kg averaged €2.40/kg or €1,560/head for a 650kg bullock. The top third in the over-600kg category hit €2.54/kg or €1,651/head.
Top price of the sale went to a Simmental-cross April 2019-born bullock weighing 850kg selling for €2,080 (€2.45/kg).
Another Limousin-cross June 2018-born bullock weighing 835kg sold for €2,070 (€2.48/kg).
And a January 2019-born Charolais bullock weighing 685kg hit €1,760 (€2.57/kg).
Elphin Mart’s Gerry Connellan said: “We had great interest in the sale, with northern buyers very active again. There was over 100 sold to northern customers.
"We had a couple of big southern feeders buying as well. There was a high clearance and sellers were happy with the sale.”