I didn’t go to the Grand National on Saturday. I was working. But I heard it on the radio, which is the same thing really. The only difference is you have to close your eyes and imagine you are there.
And this isn’t hard for me, because I have a terrific imagination. In fact, I probably imagined a far greater race, and day out, sitting in my old jeep in west Cork, than if I had gone across the water in the first place.
I heard the roar of the crowd as the runners lined up. And as I squeezed my eyes shut, I heard the gallop of the horses as they tore down that famous Melling Road. I heard the commentator with his English twang lose the run of himself when Tiger Roll put down the shoe, took the lead, and then took the race. Sure, ’twas the same thing as being there, only a lot cheaper.
Anyhow the moral of the story is that the cream came to the top in Aintree. Last year’s winner, Tiger Roll, once again reigned supreme. The cream came to the top, as it usually does. It comes to the top in a bulk tank, if the agitator is halted. And this week at the marts, it has certainly come to the top with buyers swayed by quality cattle, and most definitely seeing poorer cattle as long shots.
Plainer store cattle are back by €40 a head from my reading of the form book. It’s a fact, but one the marts themselves are slow to mention.
But I’m mentioning it now, because I’m the devil for telling you the truth.
And so to the marts we go, beginning with Kilmallock where the mart on Monday had 2,000 cattle and calves on offer. Denis Kirby reported “a huge demand for stock, driven by grass buyers.”
In Kilmallock on Monday bullocks sold for up to €2.54 per kg. Weanling bulls made up to €2.74 per kg. Dry cows made up to €1050 a head or €1.52 per kg. Dairy stock here sold for up to €1,680 a head.
Tomorrow, Friday, April 12, the North Munster Show and Sale of breeding bulls takes place at Kilmallock mart, beginning at 12.45 p.m. This sale will have over 100 bulls of all breeds on offer.
Castleisland mart auctioneer Noel Corcoran reports on yet another busy week of trading, with numbers slightly less than the previous week.
“Weanling bulls met with an excellent trade here on Monday, with buyers anxious to fill orders and many of the weanlings procured here over the past two weeks now in quarantine for three weeks prior to their departure to Turkey. The cow trade was similar to last week with prices for all types steady.
“A yard of great quality heifers met with a super trade and, as a result, we recorded a full clearance rate.
"The better stronger calf saw an increase in price this week with slightly less demand for the younger weaker calf.
“A clearance sale of 50 dairy cows for two local clients met with a fine trade, with calved stock in more demand than in-calf stock, as was the case two weeks ago.
“Calved cows sold from €1,300 to €1,480, in-calf cows between €1,060 and €1,260, and maiden heifers selling from €540 to €570 a head.”
And moving onto Skibbereen mart on Friday we find the west Cork venue had a big sale of cattle with over 700 head on offer.
Dry cows here sold from €50 to €500 with the kilo. Continental bullocks made from €350 to €750 with the kilo.
Bandon mart on Monday had 1550 calves on offer, with mart manager, Tom McCarthy, reporting “a firm trade” for calves.
Bandon mart had 150 dry cows on offer and here they sold from €1/kg to €400 with the kilo. Continental bullocks made from €400 to €700 with the kilo.
Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bullocks sold from €200 to €600 with the kilo. Friesian bullocks in Bandon sold from €150 to €450 with the kilo.
After Monday’s cattle sale in Dungarvan, mart manager, Ger Flynn, reported “A very big sale, with prices holding well for all stores.”
Kanturk mart manager, Seamus O’Keeffe, reports for us on a great day of cattle trading in North Cork. “On Tuesday, we had one of our best cattle sales of the year pricewise, with top quality heifers reaching €2.30/kg and a great demand for all types of cattle.”
An upcoming sale at Kanturk mart to look out for is a dairy and bull sale on Saturday, April 13.
Included in the dairy sale will be a clearance sale of 45 calved cows for Noel O’Keeffe, Grange, Buttevant.
Next to Kilkenny and to mart manager George Candler.
“Another good sized sale in Kilkenny Mart on Thursday with a somewhat less buoyant trade compared to previous weeks, with light quality lots showing a slight reduction. Even allowing for this, most animals met a good selling trade. The changeable weather conditions restricted some potential buyers from operating. As I mentioned in the past few weeks, overall a very strong trade in the present climate of Brexit, reduced factory quotes and so on.”
In Kilkenny on Thursday bullocks sold from €1.50 to €2.90 per kilo. Heifers made from €1.80 to €2.60 with the kilo.
Friesian cull cows on offer in Kilkenny sold from €0.60 to €1.55 per kilo, with continental cull cows making from €1.15 to €1.80 per kilo. Looking at the suckler trade in Kilkenny, cows with calves at foot sold from €1,100 to €1,930, with in calf sucklers making from €950 to €1,350 per head.
In a busy Macroom mart last Saturday, dry cows sold from €80 under to €525 over the kilo.
Hereford and Aberdeen Angus bullocks at the mart sold from €220 to €600 with their weight. Continental bullocks made from €315 to €765 with their weight. Heifers in Macroom made from €215 to €690 with the kilo.
Ennis Mart on Tuesday had a large sale of calves, weanlings, dairy and sucker stock. Ann Keane of Clare Co-Op marts gave us all the details.
“We had a very big sale on Tuesday with over 1,200 head on offer, this number included just over 300 calves.
“The trade was very strong for top quality lots in both bull and heifer weanlings, but quite a number of average quality lots available on the day especially in the bull ring,” said Ann.
“Calves met a strong trade, Friesian bulls sold from €40 to €200 a head. Hereford and Angus calves made from €150 to €290. Continentals made up to €550.
“A mixed run of dairy stock available on Tuesday and these topped out at €1,550.
“Suckler pairs made up to €1,920, with in-calf stock making up to €1,700.”
And looking back at Thursday’s general cattle sale in Ennis, Ann added; “We had a smaller sale on Thursday possibly because of the weather, but the trade was very strong in the bullock and cull cow rings, with trade improved in these rings.
“The heifer trade similar to the previous week. Some good quality heifers over 500kg, but the lighter heifers were of variable quality.
“Quality more variable in the bullock ring, with young quality lots very dear.
“Some very good quality continental cows on Thursday with a number of these passing the €2/kg mark. A small entry of aged bulls averaged €1.61/kg,” said Ann.