While heavy rain continues to wreak havoc on grazing plans in many parts of the country, it hasn’t had a negative effect on the mart trade, with almost all categories of stock remaining in a positive position on the Irish Farmers Journal Martbids analysis table this week.

Mart managers continue to report very good exporter activity for weanling bulls, with farmers also active for grass types.

This is the last week of buying for any farmer wanted to graze cattle to fulfil the ANC scheme seven-month retention period and sell the cattle in November. Cattle bought in April 2024 will have to be kept until December 2024 to get the payment.

Some buyers are looking at the trade and are fearful that when the weather does pick up, it could drive the lighter cattle into higher prices, so some of these buyers that have space in sheds are buying at the moment to be ready to go to grass once weather and ground conditions improve.

The Shorthorn Express docked in Greenore Port last Saturday and is due to be loaded this week with another load of over 2,000 bulls destined for Morocco.

This will be the second load to leave in March and current indications are that the market will continue to take Irish weanlings as long as numbers can be assembled for further loads at a similar price to what the last two have gone out at.

Following a sluggish start to 2024, calf exports have finally started to recover, with some big numbers moving out to the continent over the last two weeks.

Taking a look at this week’s Martbids analysis table, we see that bullocks had another very solid week’s trading.

Friesian bullocks and lower-quality Aberdeen Angus and Hereford dairy-crosses saw some of the biggest improvements this week.

Lower-quality bullocks in the 400kg to 500kg weight bracket were up 15c/kg this week to €2.34/kg.

At the other end of the quality scale, the top-end bullocks in the 400kg to 500kg weight bracket came in at €3.31/kg this week.

Steady week

The heifer rings also saw another steady week’s trading, with top-end heifers in the 500kg to 600kg weight bracket seeing the biggest improvement this week.

All other weight and quality categories saw minimal changes from last week, with top-quality heavy heifers over 600kg being the only exception. These were back 17c/kg to €3.38/kg this week.

In the weanling bull rings, it was a case of as you were with top-quality weanling bulls in the 300kg to 400kg weight bracket coming in at €3.85/kg this week, similar to last week.

Poorer-quality bulls also had a steady week, with the bottom third of weanling bulls in the 300kg to 400kg weight bracket coming in at €2.87/kg, the same price as last week.

The weanling heifer trade was back a little on the previous week, with heavy weanling heifers in the 400kg to 450kg weight bracket taking the biggest hit.

The top-quality heifers came in at €3.34/kg this week, a drop of 17c/kg on the previous week.