There are mixed reports on the trade for dairy stock, with the price of good-quality calved heifers and young cows improved on the back end, but plainer and in-calf stock is a far tougher trade.

Heifers and second calvers generally made from €1,400/head to €2,200/head in Kilkenny Mart this week, with €1,700/head to €1,900/head taking out the most of those on offer.

Auctioneer George Candler said there was “much more life in the trade” for dairy stock at Kilkenny.

But he pointed out that most of the interest was for recently calved heifers or second calvers.

In-calf stock and older cows in milk were difficult to sell, Candler pointed out.

Bandon trade

Sean Dennehy of Bandon Mart said there was more farmer customers around the ring for dairy stock, with calved heifers and young cows making the best money.

Prices ranged from €1,360/head to €1,800/head, with the best of those on offer making from €1,600/head to €1,800/head.

Local dairy farmers bought the bulk of the dairy stock on offer at Carnew Mart, but a few were purchased by Northern Irish and British buyers.

As with other sales centres, the best demand was for heifers and second calvers that are in milk. Prices ranged from €1,300/head to €2,300/head, with most selling for €1,600/head to €1,800/head.

Mart manager David Quinn said that third and fourth calvers generally sold for €1,200/head to €1,500/head.

However, he admitted that trade remained sluggish for in-calf stock.

Meanwhile, industry sources reported a slow enough trade in dairy clearance sales in the northern half of the country, with €1,000/head to €1,200/head taking out the bulk of the stock in a recent sale.

Staying with cows, George Candler pointed out that the lift in prime beef cattle prices since November is pushing more feeders into the market for cull cows. The best of these made from €1,000/head to €1,300/head.