It’s been another really positive week for the mart trade, with weanlings being the stand-out category this week.

The top third of bull weanlings saw increases across all weight categories this week, with the 300kg to 400kg weight category seeing the biggest increase of 15c/kg. They traded at €3.30/kg last week or €1,155 for a 350kg weanling.

If we look back at the MartBids analysis for the same week in 2021, we see that the top third of bull weanlings were trading at €2.95/kg or €1,032/head. That’s just over €120/head better than last year’s prices.

When you look at young bulls currently trading almost €1/kg higher in the factory, you might say weanlings haven’t kicked on enough in relation to beef price.


A finisher at the moment would almost have two bull weanlings purchased for the price of a 400kg finished young bull at a base price of €5.00/kg.

The only issue with this system at the moment is the length of time it takes to bring a 350kg weanling through to a 400kg carcase and the big issues of meal prices settling at somewhere between €400 and €500/t for the foreseeable future.

If we look at the average prices and compare last year with this year, we see an even smaller increase. An average 300kg to 400kg heifer weanling was trading at €2.52/kg this week last year.

The same heifer has increased to €2.74/kg, an increase of just 22c/kg in the last 12 months. Many would argue that this isn’t enough to compensate the increased cost of production over the last 12 months.


Lighter calves remain under pressure. Friesian calves are trading for anything between €30 and €70/head, with heavier calves at the higher end of the scale. The best of Hereford and Angus calves hit €200/head, but, again, lighter calves have come under pressure, with those under 50kg doing well to break the €1/kg barrier.

Further pressure has been put on the calf trade this week with the news that the Stena Horizon still hasn’t come out of dry dock, after scheduled maintenance is taking longer than anticipated.

Another licenced livestock carrier – the WB Yeats – is also out of action, with no crossings taking place this week.

Despite this disruption, live exports have been performing well. Exports are up over 10,000 head on the same period in 2021, with the majority of this increase coming from increased calf exports.

Dry cows

The dry cow trade continues to exceed all expectations, with reports of a few fall-outs amongst factory agents around mart rings this week such is the demand for stock.

Top-quality U grading suckler cows are now making more than the heifer equivalent, with dry cows breaking through the €3/kg barrier on a number of occasions this week.

Heavy finished cattle are also in big demand in marts, with factory agents paying way over what animals are worth in the factory to secure supplies.

Top-end heavy bullocks hit €3.16/kg this week. Store heifers and bullocks also had a solid week’s trading, with average 400kg to 500kg heifers hitting €2.70/kg.