Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Calf trade is off to a flier in January sales

Prices top €485 as buyers defy predictions of market collapse

Jim Bush of New Ross Mart said the weekend calf sale was the best held at the Wexford centre in more than three years.
Jim Bush of New Ross Mart said the weekend calf sale was the best held at the Wexford centre in more than three years.
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

A lively start to the calf trade has cast doubt on predictions that prices would collapse this spring.

Strong farmer and dealer demand for stock at Bandon Mart yesterday and at New Ross on Saturday resulted in a brisk trade with plenty of takers for good quality calves.

Jim Bush of New Ross Mart said the weekend calf sale was the best held at the Wexford centre in more than three years.

Although three shippers were present at Bandon Mart, just one was actively buying calves. However, stiff competition between farmers and dealers drove the trade for the 400 calves on offer.

Shipping-type Friesian bulls at Bandon sold from €50/hd to €120/hd, with heavier farmer-type calves making €120-170/hd.

Mart manager, Tom McCarthy, said autumn-born Friesians were in keen demand and made up to €250-260/hd.

Meanwhile, fancy prices were paid for the continental bulls on offer, with prices ranging from €400/hd to €470/hd.

There was a number of Hereford and Angus calves on offer. The bulls sold for €250-350/hd, while the heifers made from €210/hd to €340/hd.

In New Ross, Jim Bush described the trade for four to five-week-old Friesian bulls as "crazy". These sold for €200/hd to €355/hd, with Friesians between two and three weeks old making €120-200/hd.

Continental bull prices ranged from €320/hd to €485/hd, with the top price paid for a Belgian Blue. Continental heifers made from €300/hd to €445/hd.

Hereford and Angus bulls sold for €275-440/hd, while the heifers made from €220/hd to €385/hd.

Commenting on the Bandon sale, Tom McCarthy said early sellers of calves invariably secured a €10-20 bonus from farmers anxious to have strong calves ready to go to grass in March.

While he accepted the real tone of the trade would not be set until the full flow of calves hit the marts in February, McCarthy predicted that 2017 could be "a funny year".

He pointed out that a lot of dairy cows had been put in calf to Angus and Hereford bulls last summer and this could attract more farmer buyers for these calves.

Veal units in the Netherlands and Belgium have traditionally taken excess bull calves from the Irish dairy herd.

However, demand was back substantially in 2016, with exports falling by close to 38pc. The export of these calves is also likely to be hit by Cork Marts' decision to exit the calf export business.

Indo Farming