Optimism is growing for autumn weanling sales following two vibrant special sales held in Ennis, Co Clare and Gort Marts over the last week.

An entry of over 600 weanling bulls and heifers in Ennis recorded average prices ranging from €3/kg to €3.20/kg for weanling bulls weighing from 250kg to 500kg. This leaves the typical 350kg bull weanling selling for €1,120.

Heifers averaged from €2.90/kg to €3/kg, equating to a price of €1,032 for a 350kg weanling heifer.

This is on a par with 2022 levels despite beef prices running 16c/kg behind last year, and numerous challenges including high input costs and inclement weather, overhanging the sector.

Clare Mart manager Martin McNamara said: “There were fears of lower prices but the trade throughout was solid for good honest R- and U- grading calves. Quality suckler-bred stock are wanted by farmers and feeders.

"Importantly, live exporters were keen for suitable stock, adding another source of competition.”

Export demand

Keen live export demand was also reported by Gort manager Bernie Fahey, with 60% of bulls at their special Belgian Blue weanling sale purchased for export.

Prices averaged over €3/kg, with top lots ranging from €2.90/kg to €3.70/kg. The vibrant trade for show-type heifers shows no signs of fading with prices ranging from €3.20/kg to €4.50/kg.


Weanling entries in sales have been over 10% back on 2022, probably due to inclement weather affecting thrive.

MartBids data also shows store cattle prices firming by 5c/kg to 10c/kg, bringing average prices up by €20-€30 per head. The average price for 450kg to 550kg stores is in the region of €2.50/kg.

The firming in the trade comes on the back of a steadying in beef prices, with quotes at €4.60/kg for bullocks and €4.65/kg for heifers, amid renewed demand from buyers from Northern Ireland for slaughter-fit and forward store cattle.