The ‘mighty‘ men of farming dig deep as mart prices rally by up to €50/head

The price rally that began in early November with the entry into the market of those who had waited to see how or if Brexit affected the market continued last week.

Bullock prices at marts across the country were reported to have strengthened by up to €50/hd.

Tom McGuire of Ballina Mart summed up the current trade as follows: “Considering all the negativity at the start of the autumn, Brexit, the beef protest plus the bad weather the farmer is a mighty man.”

Indeed, he is an optimistic man especially when you realise that some of the average prices from last week‘s Ringside table are not to far off where they were a year ago.

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Back then, however, factory quotes saw bullocks on €3.80/kg and heifers €3.85/kg as opposed to this week‘s €3.45/kg for bullocks and €3.50/kg for heifers.

Last week‘s average prices returns on our Ringside table show a marked improvement on the bullock side for everything from 400-600kg+.

The most improved sections were those covering the averages for the top quarter with the 400-499kg better bullock up 9c/kg or €28-45/hd, to €2.30/kg.

The better 500-599kg bullock rose 7c/kg to average €2.19/kg, while the better 600kg animal rose 9c/kg to €2.10/kg.

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The poorer quality animal also improved last week in the three weight divisions from 400-600kgs, but only by 1-4c/kg. The lighter 300-399kg bullock continues to struggle.

Having averaged just 1c/kg better two weeks ago, these bullocks‘ overall average price slipped by 5c/kg to €1.94/kg.

But those figures are only half the story.

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Going back to Tom McGuire‘s statement, Irish farmers are indeed mighty men, either that or reckless.


Every price on this week‘s bullock table from 300-499kg is ahead of where we were this time last year.

The 300-399kg bullock at an overall average last week of €1.94/kg is 6c/kg stronger than this time last year.

The big irony is that it‘s the price of the poorer-quality bullock that has driven those lighter animals to outperform the market from a year ago.

This time last year the overall average price of your poorer 300-399kg bullock was €1.27/kg; last week he averaged €1.42/kg.

That‘s €45-60/hd stronger. In the 400-499kg section, last week‘s overall average was also stronger than 12 months ago – €1.85/kg last year compared to €1.88/kg last week.

In this case both the poorer and better animal moved uniformly, with both up 3c/kg on average.


In the know…


Numbers edged upwards here last week as confidence again began to flow into the system. Heavy bullocks sold from €1.90-2.35/kg with forward stores making from €1.95-2.45/kg. Lighter stores averaged from €2.00-2.60/kg. Among the heifers, beef types sold from €1.95-2.40/kg, with stores making from €2.00-2.55/kg. Dry cows sold from €1.10-1.85/kg. Weanling bulls made from €1.90-2.45/kg, while weanling heifers made from €1.95-2.50/kg


Buyers were out in force last week with George Candler reporting that bullocks were up by €20-40/hd.

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The forward 500-600kg bullock made from €1.65-2.44/kg, with the 400-500kg store broadly within the same bands.

Lighter bullocks sold from €1.60-2.65/kg. Beef heifers made from €1.85-2.20/kg, with forward stores averaging from €1.65-2.20/kg, while lighter lots sold from €1.70-2.35/kg.

The poorer type Friesian cull cow made from a base of 70c/kg to €1.40/kg for the better type of animal. Continental culls made from €1.15-1.80/kg.


Numbers slackened a little here although prices stayed steady with buyers continuing to seek out their last few animals for the winter.

Better performers on the store bullock side included five 317kg Angus that made €2.30/kg, while a single 335kg Hereford sold for €2.24/kg.

Among the more forward lots were two 575kg Limousins that sold for €2.27/kg and a 480kg Simmental that made €2.29/kg. On the heifer side, €2.00-2.20/kg covered a lot of the stock, but where there was competition prices for quality pushed on well, as in the case of the 470kg Charolais that made €2.55/kg.


There was also a good show of stock here with prices continuing to perform steadily. Top heifer prices included a 575kg Limousin that made €2.30/kg, a 475kg Belgian Blue-cross at €2.40/kg and a 420kg Angus at €2.55/kg.

On the bullock side if they were good enough you hit between €2.05-2.20/kg. Top price among the weanlings went to a 275kg Charolais-cross at €2.98/kg and best of the weanling heifers was a 315kg Limousin-cross that made €2.70/kg.


Tom McGuire said that stock numbers remain plentliful in his part of the world with quality being, as always, a key driver on price.

“There were plenty of customers for nice stores and breeding heifers, with the stronger cattle hovering around the €2.05-2.15/kg mark,” he said.


There was a strong showing of cull cows here with prices for Friesian types typically running from 70c/kg to €1.20/kg.

A small number of better presented store types sold from €1.20-1.30/kg, while well fleshed 700kg+ ladies made up to €1.51/kg.

Numbers of bullocks were small and were mostly Angus types. Prices for those ‘pollies‘ ranged from €1.65-1.90/kg.

On the heifer side, prices peaked at €2.11/kg, with most in the 350-550kg category making from €1.30-1.90/kg. Discounting of over-age or non-quality assured bullocks or heifers continued here as elsewhere.

New Ross

Trade here remained solid for all classes last Saturday with beef bullocks selling from €540-880 over the €1/kg.

Heavy Friesian bullocks made €360-500 over the €1/kg. Hereford and Angus bullocks sold from €290-465 over the weight, with Friesian stores making from €175-320 over the weight.

Beef heifers sold from €500-815 over the €1/kg, with continental store types making from €380-585 with the weight. Hereford and Angus heifers made from €300-480 with the €1/kg.

Trade for beef cows saw prices improve, with prices ranging from €280-670 over the €1/kg, while feeding cows made from €125 under to €255 over the €1/kg.

Indo Farming

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