The Irish Limousin Cattle Society’s first premier show and sale of 2023 will take place in Elphin Mart on Saturday, March 11th. The show will commence at 9:00am with the sale scheduled to start at 12:30pm.

The much-anticipated sale comes at a time when Limousin genetics are performing phenomenally well in the marketplace – whether that be in the marts or when animals are sent for slaughter in beef processing plants.

In advance of the premier sale, a collaboration with the Irish Limousin Cattle Society and the Irish Farmers Journal, analysing actual data from the Mart Watch and Beef Pricewatch database, clearly showed the premiums that are currently available for Limousin stock.

Speaking ahead of the sale on the most recent episode of Farming Matters on Midwest Radio, Irish Limousin Society president, Dr. Alan Kelly, outlined the increased potential returns for farmers and finishers with Limousin genetics.

“The society commissioned this analysis to paint a clear picture of how Limousin calves are performing and what market returns are currently there at present.

“What we seen was that for a 420kg Limousin weanling bull – for last week based on actual data – the return for the seller was €1,550/head; that is a phenomenal sale price and, if we compare that to last year, that animal is up about €0.90/kg or a differential which equates to 380/head,” he said.

This analysis also compared prices available within the Limousin breed – showing that top-quality animals are commanding an added premium over and above the average.

“In the steer 500-600kg category, if we look at the top third beef-bred animals – above the average – we’re looking at a differential of nearly €160/head – showing that the marketplace is paying for that better-quality beef animal and Limousin genetics fit in here.”

Additionally, looking at the beef trade, Dr. Kelly outlined that the current steer price for a Limousin, U+ grade animal is €5.70/kg – up €0.80/kg on last year or €330/head.

“So, if we pull this all together, it’s a really positive story. The data retrieved clearly shows that the Limousin breed delivers a premium for all categories of stock both in the marts and in beef processing plants.

“As the one of the largest cattle breeds in the country, we’re hoping that confidence will be replicated in the pedigree sale ring on Saturday. And, we are encouraging farmers to invest in high-quality Limousin genetics to maximise these ringside returns,” he added.

Genetic potential

There has been a lot of commentary in recent times with regard to the slaughter age of cattle in Ireland and the effect this would have from an environmental point of view. Dr. Kelly pointed out the genetic potential of the Limousin breed – both from a carbon and economic perspective.

“Within any beef production system, a technical, well-run, efficient system will always meet the target merits on carcass age and weight – they are both carbon and economically efficient and the Limousin breed is no different in that respect.

“With Limousin genetics, our aim is to maximise the early performance of the animal – to reach all the early life weight for age targets. This ensures that the true beef merit follows through at both the weanling and slaughter age.

“If we compare age at slaughter of Limousin and continentals – relative to some of the traditional breeds – based on ICBF weight for age data, the continental animal – particularly the Limousin – has an additional 20kg carcass merit potential in it.

“However, while it [Limousin breed] has the genetic potential, technical efficiency is equally as important here to ensure age of slaughter isn’t compromised,” he added.

“Last week, a 420kg Limousin steer carcass – at 24 months-of-age, U+ grade – was coming into €2,400. So, from an economic, target efficiency and age of slaughter perspective, you couldn’t really argue with that type of performance,” he concluded.

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