After a very busy couple of months, sales across the country marts have started to settle, with smaller numbers reported out over the last seven days. December is always a quiet month for marts, with some wrapping up around the third week in December for the Christmas break.
Carrigallen Mart had 75 heifers, 40 bullocks, 50 suckler cows and 60 dry cows at Monday night’s sale. Trade was described as up on the previous week, with a special dispersal suckler sale for a local farmer attracting a lot of interest on the night. Plainer cattle had become a little harder to shift in recent weeks, but the re-emergence of factory feedlot buyers in the last two weeks has added another spark to the trade, with these buyers especially anxious for forward store cattle for a short keep until slaughter.
Continental bullocks over 500kg were generally making around €2.20-€2.40/kg depending on quality. Lighter 2020-born Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks between 400-500kg were generally hitting €1.90-€2.00/kg, while Friesian bullocks were back at €1.50-€1.70/kg. A top price of €1,590 was paid for a Limousin bullock weighing 684kg.
Heifers were more in demand, with a bigger selection to choose from. Heifers in the 400-500kg bracket were making between €2-€2.20/kg, with Aberdeen Angus and Hereford dairy crosses at the lower end of this price bracket. Heavier heifers in the 500-600kg bracket were the best trade, with prices ranging from €2.30-€2.70/kg.
Top price in this ring went to a 520kg Belgian Blue heifer selling for €1,440 (€2.77/kg). An 810kg Limousin heifer also hit €1,960 (€2.42/kg).
Heavy dry cows were also in demand, with any well-fleshed cow over 700kg hitting €2/kg and over. The top price went to a young Limousin cow weighing 786kg, selling for €1,890 (€2.40/kg).
Commenting on the sale, mart manager Helen Kells said: "Top-quality suckler cows have been a real solid trade all autumn, with farmers willing to go that extra bit to secure the top end cows. Dry cows have also been good trade, with some northern customers adding life to the dry cow trade in recent weeks.
"We were worried back in September at the prospects of exporter activity, but the weanling trade has also held up really well and confidence is high in the suckler sector at the moment."
Carrigallen Mart will hold its last sale of 2021 on Saturday 18 December and its last general cattle and sheep sale on Monday 20 December.