The 2023 mart trade is off to a flying start. This is due to a combination of low supplies of finished cattle, increased demand for manufacturing beef, earlier than expected Chinese demand and a solid export trade.

Cull cows are hitting record prices, with heavy-fleshed cows soaring to €3/kg in marts this week.

Irish Farmers Journal MartBids data shows that top-quality beef heifers over 600kg have been regularly hitting over €3.30/kg. This translates into a beef price of over €6/kg which, depending on the grade, is currently €120 to €150 per animal ahead of the equivalent factory price.

A number of new live exporters have also been active around mart rings, with up to €4/kg being paid for 300kg to 400kg bull weanlings for export this week.

The positive trend looks set to continue with the beef trade showing no signs of easing.

Commenting on the trade in Donegal Mart last week, mart manager Eimear McGuinness said: “I’ve never seen anything like it. The trade is electric.”

Factory agents, farmer buyers and exporters are currently driving the trade.

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MartBids Database: roaring ringside trade continues