July is usually a quiet month for marts, but, this year, marts across the country have seen higher than usual numbers attending sales during the month of July.
All types of cattle remain a very good trade and this has meant farmers have brought out stock a little earlier than other years to capitalise on the trade.
The Northern Ireland (NI) export trade is driving the cull cow trade in recent weeks, with NI-based wholesalers pushing southern factories into big prices for cull cows.
Indeed, for any farmers with small numbers of cows, the mart is the pace to go, with prices in excess of €4.40/kg deadweight being paid to secure some of the top-quality heavy cows in marts in the last few weeks.
Raphoe was no exception last Thursday, where the good cattle trade continued.
It was a special sale for the east Donegal co-op mart, as it celebrated 60 years since it first opened in 1961.
Some of the mart's longest-serving members of the committee were in attendance at the sale and mart manager Anne Harkin held a special draw for buyers and sellers, which saw over €3,000 in prizes being given out, all sponsored by local companies and supporters of the mart.
Dry cows ranged from €1.60/kg for poorer, under-fleshed types to €2.15/kg for top-quality fleshed cows over 700kg.
Factory agents, along with feedlot finishers, were very active for cattle fit to kill and cattle requiring a short finishing period.
Store cattle also met a very good trade, with heifers in the 500kg to 600kg bracket hitting €2.50/kg for the tops back to €2.20/kg for some of the plainer dairy-cross types.
Bullocks in demand
Bullocks were also in demand, with a number of animals around the 500kg mark crossing €1,300.
A small number of weanlings were on offer, with prices of as high as €2.60/kg being paid for good-quality autumn-born bull weanlings in the 400kg to 500kg bracket.
Raphoe Mart holds its weekly sheep sales on Mondays at 11am, while its weekly cattle sale takes place on Thursdays at 11am. All sales take place live on martbids.ie.