Mart throughput has increased again this week, with a combination of some farmers taking advantage of a really good cattle trade and big numbers of calves starting to move in the south of the country.

Clearance rates remain very high, with all marts reporting over 90% clearance rates in the last seven days. Calf sales are starting to get very busy, with 625 calves moving through Bandon Mart on Monday.

Shipper activity seems to be a little slower to get off the mark compared with last year and this is affecting the trade, especially for lesser-type calves.


Cows continue to be the choice of agents around the ring as they go above and beyond what cows are worth in the factory.

Top quality cows in the 700kg to 900kg bracket are hitting €2.50/kg to €2.60/kg in some marts.

That isn’t that far behind the heifer trade and it’s a combination of NI and southern factory agents fighting it out for the quality cows.

Lesser-quality O and P grading cows are back at €1.60/kg to €2.00/kg, depending on weight and flesh, while dairy cows lacking flesh are back at €1.30/kg.

Store cattle

Store cattle continue to be a very solid trade, with factory feedlots ramping up activity since the beginning of February.

They are especially active for Hereford and Aberdeen Angus store cattle, with €2.20/kg to €2.40/kg being paid for better-quality types between 400kg and 500kg.

Elphin Mart had a special sale of 700 heifers on Wednesday, with heavy heifers in serious demand from UK, Northern Ireland and farmer feeders.

Heifers over 600kg were regularly hitting €2.60/kg and over, with a few breeding types crossing €3/kg.

These heavier cattle are up 40c to 50c/kg on the same week last year.


The weanling trade has shown no signs of cooling down in the last two weeks. While numbers are generally small at this time of year, demand has been good, with farmers still very active, especially for the higher-end weanlings.

There is also some exporter activity for the lower-quality lighter weanlings in the last few days.

The top third of weanling bulls and heifers in the most common 300kg to 400kg weight bracket are hitting close to €3/kg, with average-quality weanlings hovering around the €2.60/kg mark.

Looking back at last year’s figures for the same week, that top quality 300kg to 400kg weanling was in or around the €2.70/kg mark, while average-quality weanlings were back around €2.35/kg.


With some calf exporters just starting to get going, a gap has opened up in the price of Friesian calves.

This was evident in Kilkenny Mart this week, where there was 350 calves in Tuesday’s sale.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Kilkenny Mart auctioneer George Candler said: “Better-quality Friesian calves were a very good trade, making between €80 and €190/head.

“Lesser-quality younger calves were a little harder sold this week, with prices ranging from €20 to €70/head.