Just over a week ago, news broke that ringside buyers would be returning to marts from next Monday 17 May.

With a date in sight, it has meant that some sellers have opted to hold out selling cattle until then.

Speaking with mart managers across the country, they noted that they have certainly seen a reduced number of cattle through the scales for this time of year.

Analysis of the Martbids database for the last week has shown that numbers are back over 20% on what went through marts the previous week.

While some of this may be down to the time of year, given cattle numbers generally relax over the summer months, the drop wouldn’t be as substantial.

While some buyers are holding off for the extra week, there’s no sign of buyers doing the same.

Factory-fit heifers were in short supply

All sales recorded a clearance rate of just shy of 90%, with prices generally holding or increasing on the week.

The better-quality heifer across all weight divisions was the biggest beneficiary of the price increases this week.

Factory-fit heifers were in short supply and with it came a jump of 9c/kg to settle at an average price of €2.55/kg.

Average for all heifers of 600kg-plus only rose by 2c/kg, largely down to the lesser-type fit heifer price falling by 9c/kg to settle at €1.98/kg.

This is the first time the average price for the bottom third of heifers has dropped below €2/kg in a number of weeks.

Short-keep heifers from 500kg and higher saw no change on the week, remaining at €2.28/kg.

The better-quality heifer in this weight division was again in higher demand, resulting in the average price rising by 4c/kg to settle at €2.53/kg.

Store-type heifers suitable for grazing also saw no change on the week, with average prices at €2.29/kg.

While heavier steers actually saw slight decreases across the weight divisions, there was strong demand in some marts

Better-quality lots under 400kg rose by 3c to settle at over €2.60/kg, while lesser-quality lots saw a drop of 3c/kg to level at €1.98/kg.

Light steers were in high demand, with average price settling at €2.24/kg.

While this is back 5c/kg on heifers of the same weight, it is a rise of 7c/kg on the week.

Better-quality steers under 400kg actually overtook heifers this week, rising by 5c/kg to an average price of €2.63/kg.

While heavier steers actually saw slight decreases across the weight divisions, there was strong demand in some marts, particularly for that really strong 700kg animal.

Steers of 600kg-plus this week averaged €2.25/kg, with animals of better quality seeing prices 20c/kg above this.


Dairy cow in milk prices are holding very strong, with some marts still hosting the last of the special sales in the coming weeks.

Cull dairy cows are getting lighter on the ground, with prices generally around €1.60/kg.

Overall cull cow average for both dairy and beef cows stood at €1.75/kg over the past week.

This increased to just shy of €2.10/kg for the top third of lots sold, with younger, better-conformed lots in highest demand, with a top of €2.79/kg seen on one instance for a five-year-old Blue cow.