It has been another unbelievable week in the country’s marts, with heavy cattle surpassing last week’s trade again.

Finished cattle are in really short supply on farms and this has driven more agents to marts this week searching for supplies of finished cattle.

This has given another lift to the trade, with serious competition emerging this week between the main factories bidding for cattle suitable for slaughter. A lot of these cattle are being killed on a next-day basis, with no feeding period in factory feedlots.


This week’s MartBids analysis shows that the top third of 600kg+ bullocks hit €3.19/kg, a phenomenal price for heavy cattle.

Factory agents have been given strict riding instructions to hoover up any supplies of finished cattle in marts.

I saw a few 750kg bullocks hitting over €3.20/kg. Also, I saw three top-end 790kg Charolais-cross sell online at €3.19/kg or €2,520/head. If these bullocks killed out at 56%, they come in at a 442kg carcase weight. That’s the equivalent of €5.70/kg beef price.

If you ring up any factory agent today, you are likely to get quoted somewhere between €5.00-€5.05/kg depending on how hard a seller you are.

At a €5.00/kg base price, a U= bullock meeting the quality assurance spec to get the extra 20c/kg will come into €5.38/kg. That’s 32c/kg behind the price that was paid in the factory and would point towards mart rings being the best place to sell at the moment especially if you are working on smaller numbers of cattle.


A few exporters are also actively looking for Friesian bulls suitable for export. A northern-based exporter loaded over 2,000 bulls for Libya last Saturday week and it’s expected this boat will return a few times over the coming months for more cattle.

A southern-based exporter also loaded a boat of Friesian bulls last week which headed to Jordan and is also actively seeking to load another boat by the end of June. The fact that there are a number of different live exporters actively looking for cattle has put a little heat into this market also.


Weanlings had another solid week and while they aren’t hitting the heights of heavy cattle at the moment, they are still performing well, with farmers very happy with sale prices.

Mart managers report that some farmers who specialise in autumn calving are moving weanlings a little earlier.

Dry cows can be grazed tight over summer and selling weanlings now reduces pressure for grass and will mean less fertiliser having to be spread.

There was some small movement in the MartBids weaning analysis table this week, with bulls taking the biggest hit. This follows on from a strong week last week. The top third of 300-400kg weanling bulls are still up at €3.22/kg while top-end 300-400kg heifer calves are working off €3.08/kg.

Dry cows took another jump this week, with heavy fleshed cows hitting €3/kg in some marts. Wholesaler buyers are driving the trade here, with some large feeders also very active for short keep cows.