The number of bovines traded in marts in January and February 2022 increased by 38,142 head on the corresponding period in 2021. There were 80,209 animals sold in marts in January and 154,505 head in February, or a total of 234,714 head.

The trade in marts in recent years has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic but this is not thought to be responsible for the increase in throughput in 2022 with numbers handled by marts running significantly ahead of the norm for the time of year.

Instead the reasoning for the increased levels of throughput is likely to be strongly influenced by a vibrant trade in marts for slaughter-fit cattle and cows. Prices in mart sales for certain categories of stock were greatly boosted by the presence of buyers from Northern Ireland and high levels of competition with factory agents in Ireland.

The improved trade in marts has also contributed to fewer animals going unsold. There were 10,105 animals returning home from the mart, less than the 10,860 head in 2021 despite the higher levels of throughput.

The highest number of animals were traded in Munster at 115,980 head. This is more than double the figures of 52,497 in Leinster and 44,603 head in Connacht while there were 27,046 cattle traded in Irish marts in Ulster.

Farm-to-farm movements

There was no significant change in the 226,749 bovines changing hands in farm-to-farm movements with numbers in 2022 recorded at 222,267. Munster again dominated but not to the same extent as with mart movements. There were 113,520 movements recorded there, 70,186 movements in Leinster, 27,199 in Connacht and 15,844 in Ulster.