Farmer buyers drive calf prices at marts
Calf prices in the south of the country have hit a seasonal high this week with the continental breed bull calves hitting the shadow of €600/hd, despite strong supplies being on offer.
Tom McCarthy, Bandon Mart Manager described the demand for calves at Monday’s sale as a “great trade” while confirming that competition from farmer buyers drove the price being paid for shipping calves to their highest level in several years.
“Shippers calves sold for up to €170/hd” according to Mr McCarthy which is up to 25pc up on the general run of the shipping trade for calves.
There was 1,675 calves on offer for the sale on Monday with the prices across all categories very strong.
Top of the trade were the continental breed bull calves for which up to €580 was paid, while the continental breed heifers sold for up to €490/hd.
The trade was also strong for both Angus and Hereford. Hereford and Angus bulls ranged €180/hd to €400 and heifers sold for €150-€360/hd.
Shippers were in competition with farmers for the Friesian type calves with the live exporters paying €80-€170/hd and farmer customers paying up to €260/hd for the stronger Friesian type bulls. The Holstein-Friesian heifer calves ranged €120-€260/hd.
The strong demand for calves is being reflected in the live exports which to April 1 was up 42pc on the same period in 2016. Leading the export trade are calves showing an increase of 55pc on 2016 with an extra 20,000 being exported during the first three months compared to last year. Calf exports for the three months averaged 4,355/hd per week.