Things have probably evened off a little in marts this week. It’s silage season for a lot of drystock farmers and that has reduced numbers, especially in the west this week.

Factories came out at the end of last week full of bluster of a price reduction, but, so far, this hasn’t materialised.

It has dented a little bit of confidence in the dry cow trade and some feeders and agents who had been going all out to secure supplies over the last three weeks weren’t as fit this week when waving the finger around the ring.

Speaking to Central Auctions auctioneer David Whyte, he said the plainer cow was back a small bit in Nenagh on Tuesday, but still a very solid trade.

Well-covered Friesian cows were still hitting €2.20/kg to €2.50/kg. Plainer feeding cows were being bought at €1.60/kg to €2.00/kg.

Driving the trade

Smaller factories and wholesalers continue to drive the top end of the trade, with heavy U grading cows still hitting close to €3,000/head this week in marts.

Cows are still hitting €3/kg and over it.

There was a time when these heavy cows would be travelling north, but such is the southern trade at the moment, the NI buyers have opted to stay out, with very few cattle travelling north in the last few weeks.

Live exports to the North have fallen off a cliff in 2022, with just 18,365 cattle exported north so far in 2022.

To put this into context, that’s 14,659 head of cattle behind where we were in 2021.

The majority of this correction is in relation to dry cows, with southern factory agents essentially driving the NI agents out of the market.

The Irish cow kill is currently running 27,339 cows ahead of the 2021 kill.

Manufacturing trade

The fact that some of the main players in the market have concentrated on the manufacturing beef trade with important weekly contracts to fill has meant that Ireland is amongst the best countries in Europe to kill cull cows at the moment.


Looking at this week’s MartBids analysis table, there isn’t a lot of change on the previous week.

Heifers are back between 5c and 13c/kg across most categories. The fact that a number of larger factory-aligned feedlots have exited the market over the last two weeks is having a slight affect here, with the trade for Aberdeen Angus and Hereford heifers cooling a little over the last week.

Bullocks had another largely positive week, but, again, some of the dairy-bred cattle are back a little across some weight categories. Average bullocks in the 500kg to 600kg category are still coming in at €2.74/kg, which is a solid price.

Weanling bulls remain a very steady trade, with the average 300kg to 400kg bull weanling coming in at €2.98/kg this week, a slight improvement on last week. Top-end bull weanlings in the same weight are coming in at €3.34/kg.

Weanling heifers are back a little this week, with the average 300kg to 400kg heifer weanling coming in at €2.83/kg, a drop of 8c on the previous week. On the other hand, heavier weanling heifers in the 400kg to 450kg bracket improved by 15c/kg to €3.08/kg this week.