Monsoon shows why out-wintered stock always get best prices

We had a bad shower on Saturday. It started at about half past two in the afternoon, and didn’t finish until Monday at 7pm.

Monday! What a washout.

Monsoon Monday demonstrated to us all why the outlier, the outwintered animal, will always stir the interest of buyers, and have hands waving around the ring.

I sold the most of mine earlier in the year, but looking at the few that still remain on this farm, they took about as much notice of the rain as I would myself if I had never strayed from the fire and was left there with a hot whiskey in my hand.

In spite of the deluge, the backs remained straight, the cud continued to be chewed, while around the country the pampered and privileged brigade of winter housed stock (who had been locked away for three of the mildest winter months on record) looked perished and bewildered.

“Sure ’twas badly wanting,” a man said to me on Monday evening after the last drops had just fallen. And in a way, my joker friend was right.

The three-day shower demonstrated to us that our weather can be the most volatile and unpredictable piece in our farming jigsaw.

No matter how confident we get in business, in Ireland, we are always at its mercy.

With my sermon momentarily at an end, we head to the marts, starting with the sale of cattle in Kanturk on Tuesday, and a report from mart manager, Seamus O’Keeffe.

“Despite the rain over the previous few days, the trade on Tuesday was very strong in both rings. On Tuesday 1,290 cattle, including 700 calves came under the hammer.”

And reporting on a dairy sale held in Kanturk mart last Saturday, the highlight being the sale of 38 top class cows for Noel O’Keeffe, Grange, Buttevant, Seamus described it as being “a great success, with all 38 calved and averaging €1,530 a head. Our dairy sale clearly shows the interest dairy farmers have in top class stock, with buyers coming from as far away as Wexford, Clare and Tipperary, as well as our local buyers here around Kanturk.”

Kanturk

Tuesday

    No Breed Sex Weight €

    4 Lm steers 580kg 1360

    2 Fr steers 730kg 1100

    4 Lm steers 490kg 1050

    3 AA heifers 585kg 1090

    4 Hr heifers 580kg 1060

    1 Ch cow 700kg 1320

    1 Lm cow 755kg 1160

In Skibbereen, Friday, mart manager, Tom McCarthy, reported “another big sale, with over 700 cattle on offer.”

Dry cows here sold from €80 to €700 with the kilo. Continental bullocks made from €400 to €700 with the kilo. Hereford and Aberdeen Angus cattle sold from €400 to €700 with their weight.

Skibbereen

Friday

    No Breed Sex Weight €

    6 Lm steers 508kg 1190

    2 Lm steers 467kg 1180

    1 Ch steer 395kg 1000

    4 AA steers 533kg 1140

    6 Hr steers 375kg 770

    1 Lm cow 640kg 1500

    2 AA cows 680kg 1080

Looking at calves in Bandon on that very wet Monday, the mart had 1,400 on offer. Friesian bulls of the export variety, which I suspect will be seeing a lot more water in the immediate future, sold from between €65 and €130 a head, with stronger Friesian bulls making up to €240 a head.

Dry cows in Bandon sold from between €50 to €400 with the kilo.

Friesian bullocks sold from €120 to €400 with the kilo.

Continental bullocks made up to €700 with the kilo. Hereford and Angus bullocks sold from €300 to €650 with the kilo. While heifers in Bandon on Monday sold from €200 to €650 with their weight.

Bandon

Monday

    No Breed Sex Weight €

    2 Ch steers 730kg 1390

    3 Sim steers 378kg 775

    5 AA steers 324kg 730

    1 AA heifer 400kg 815

    1 Lm heifer 480kg 1055

    1 Ch cow 720kg 1100

    1 Fr cow 795kg 1010

Positive outlook in Kilkenny

Despite all the rain, Kilkenny Mart manager George Candler looks to the brighter side of life: “We had a smaller sale of 1,200 cattle when compared to last week, with quality lots still selling well. Cull cows met a firm trade.

“The lack of grass growth is restricting some farmers from buying, which is affecting the plainer type animal most of all,” he said. “If the weather becomes milder [as promised] and grass growth improves, it should steady the trade for all types.”

In Kilkenny on Thursday, bullocks sold from €1.50/kg to €2.70/kg. Heifers here made from €1.60/kg to €2.60/kg. Continental cull cows sold from €1.15 to €1.80 per kilo. Friesian cull cows made from €0.90 to €1.50 per kilo.

Kilkenny

Thursday

    No Breed Sex Weight €

    1 Fr steer 730kg 1260

    5 Lim steers 615kg 1415

    2 Hr steers 480kg 1030

    3 Ch steers 400kg 1080

    3 Hr heifers 525kg 990

    3 Ch heifers 515kg 1070

    3 BB heifers 460kg 860

    A hot sale in Kilmallock

A rainy morning in Kilmallock on Monday morning did little to dampen buyers’ appetite for stock. Numbers were back due to the downpours, however Kilmallock mart’s Denis Kirby had only one word to describe the sale: “Hot”.

250 buyers were present at the sale on Monday, with bullocks at the Limerick mart making up to €2.43/kg. Weanling bulls hit €2.90/kg.

Dry cows sold for up to €1040 a head or €1.79/kg. Light heifers hit €2.60/kg, heavier lots made up to €2.35/kg.

Up to €400 was paid in the calf ring for a nine-week-old Belgian Blue bull.

Denis described “a flying trade” for dairy stock, with the pick of the day making €1,780.

This coming Tuesday night, April 23, a special sale of suckler cows and in-calf heifers takes place at Kilmallock mart from 7.30pm.

Kilmallock

Monday

    No Breed Sex Weight €

    4 Lim steers 399kg 875

    2 Hr steers 283kg 650

    6 Fr steers 321kg 570

    1 BB steer 540kg 1200

    1 AA heifer 325kg 800

    3 Hr heifers 310kg 680

    1 Lim cow 470kg 840

The report from Scariff, Co Clare after Saturday’s mart was of a good sized sale. Trade was said to be good all round and some nice quality bullock and heifer stores available.

In the calf ring in Scarrif it was a case of mostly Hereford calves on offer, these made up to €190 for heifer calves.

The next sale of cattle on Scariff is due to take place on Saturday, April 27.

Scariff

Saturday

    No Breed Sex Weight €

    1 Lm steer 320kg 865

    2 Hr steers 407kg 860

    5 Hr steers 508kg 1065

    1 Lm steer 335kg 970

    2 Ch heifers 377kg 1025

    1 Lm heifer 390kg 955

    2 Lm heifers 310kg 830

Solid trade at Castleisland

“We had a rock solid trade for all categories of cattle that saw our sales finish closer to midnight than midday,” Castleisland mart manager, John Humphreys, reported.

“With another two big yards of stock sold through our rings here at Castleisland over the past week, on Monday the store bull trade was very strong. The lighter-mid weight continental (350kg-400kg) is selling from €2.50/kg up to €3.20/kg for good quality stock. We also saw the emergence of plenty of heavy young bulls (500-660kg) but these bulls struggled to make €2/kg.

“Monday saw a very big sale with some fine strong calves on offer and plenty of demand. The lighter calf was in less demand, but a full clearance was recorded nonetheless. Our cow trade remains firm and similar to last week, as were steers, with more clients seeking stock now to go direct to grass. We had an exceptional yard of continental heifers, many of these coming from local Limousin breeders.”

Future sales for Castleisland include the Munster Branch Irish Angus sale of Pedigree bulls on Monday next, April 22 (Easter Monday) beginning at 1pm.

The Irish Limousin Cattle Society will hold a commercial Limousin Calf Show and Sale on Monday, April 22.

And going from Kerry to Waterford, Dungarvan mart manager Ger Flynn, reported “A big sale on Monday, despite the inclement weather conditions, prices for stores are holding well.”

Dungarvan

Monday

    No Breed Sex Weight €

    5 AA steers 498kg 1095

    2 Hr steers 550kg 1055

    4 Fr steers 485kg 750

    1 Ch heifer 575kg 1190

    4 AA heifers 428kg 900

    10 AA heifers 419kg 890

    1 Fr cow 725kg 915

Corrin mart on Tuesday had a large sale of cattle (1,600 on offer), with mart manager, Sean Leahy, reporting “a strong trade for bullocks. It was extremely lively for all types and weights. We also had a good dry cow and heifer trade with dry cows selling from €410 to €1,100 a head.”

In Corrin on Tuesday, store bullocks sold from €100 to €590 over the kg, with beef bullocks making up to €640 with their weight. Store heifers in Corrin made from €180 to €400 over the kg with butcher types making up to €660 over.

Corrin

Tuesday

    No Breed Sex Weight €

    4 AA steers 540kg 1170

    2 Lm steers 390kg 980

    3 Fr steers 568kg 1045

    3 Hr steers 586kg 1170

    2 Lm heifers 477kg 1140

    5 AA heifers 377kg 815

    1 Fr cow 725kg 1100

Aubrac night in Corrin

Staying with Corrin mart, next Wednesday night, April 24, the Aubrac Cattle Breed Society in conjunction with Teagasc are holding a seminar on promotion of better beef breeds within dairy herds.

On the night, speakers will include Dr Siobhán Ring of the ICBF; Pat Nolan, Dawn Meats; and Shane McCarthy of Teagasc.

The seminar is Knowledge Transfer approved and James Donnellson, chairman of the Aubrac Cattle Breed Society, said: “With excellent growth rates, high conformation scores, and a hardy breed by nature, the Aubrac is well positioned to become a great option for dairy farmers seeking an alternative to the more traditional breeds like Angus or Hereford.”

Large sale in Ennis

Finally for this week, Ennis Mart on Tuesday had a large sale of calves, weanlings, dairy and suckler stock. Ann Keane of Clare Co-Op marts gave us all the details.

“We had a big sale again, with almost 1,100 head of stock on offer. The strong trade for quality stock is holding but lesser quality is that bit harder sold. It was shippers and farmers in the bull ring, whereas in the heifer ring it was mostly feedlot feeders and farmers doing the purchasing.

“Again we had over 300 calves on offer and these met with a fine trade, with the shippers very anxious for Friesians, Angus and Blue cross calves. The stronger Friesian made up to €200 a head. Hereford and Angus calves made from €140 to €300. Continental calves made up to €525. Quality suckler pairings made to €2,420 with dairy stock making up to €1,510.”

More on this topic

Spice Girl Mel B addresses Croke Park sound issue complaints

Test test test test test test test

Leo Varadkar will met Maria Bailey to discuss controversial dropped personal injuries claim

Fiat Chrysler proposes merger with Renault

More in this Section

Damaging pest will spread across China’s grain production within 12 months

Australia turns to imports to help offset crop losses

Kilkenny unveils new digital innovation hub

Education holds the key to tackling food waste issue


Lifestyle

Mystery of Barbary ape at Eamhain Mhacha

Watch for dragonfly survey

Put-upon ravens harangued by the noisy neighbours

Runner of the Week: Kevin Betts - 'It’s always great to get back to Cork'

More From The Irish Examiner