DEAR EDITOR: Over the next couple of months, an unprecedented level of dairy cull cows are expected to go through Irish marts.

Some cattle farmers would regard a percentage of these stock as an option for further feeding.

A healthy young P1 grading dairy cull of between 480kg to 580kg represents a five to seven month project for these cattle farmers and is worth considerably more to them than it is to a factory agent. That is of course provided she is not in-calf.


A major problem for the people interested in buying these cull cows is the almost impossible task of identifying the animals which are empty as opposed to carrying a calf.

For feeders, buying these cows in-calf represents nothing short of disaster, because busy dairy farmers are seldom present in the mart as their culls are sold. It exacerbates the problem because there is nobody to consult.

The net effect of this is that in every cull sale throughout the country some hands remain down because of a lack of basic information.

I am not suggesting that it should be compulsory for sellers to declare pregnancy status of cows going through mart rings.

However, I am truly mystified as to why mart managers don’t inform dairy farmer clients by text or otherwise that it would be an advisable option to declare a certain type of cow empty or even scanned empty, on a particular date. Surely marts, many of which are farmer owned, have a duty to advise farmers on how best to maximise the value of their stock.