Calf trade remains strong despite exports uncertainty
The calf trade in the marts remains strong despite continuing uncertainty around the level of export activity this spring.
Marts report significant farmer buying, with the exporters waiting for the full flush of calves to come on stream from next week.
A two-tier market is evident in the sales, with a considerable variation in prices depending on the age and conformation of stock.
In Kilmallock Mart last week, exporters paid from €70/hd to €130/hd for suitable Friesian bull calves.
However, Denis Kirby said farmer buyers were very anxious for calves and paid from €150/hd to €225/hd for good quality British Friesian bulls.
Hereford and Angus bulls sold for €250-400/hd, while continental bulls made from €300/hd to €450/hd.
Matt Malone of Central Auctions maintained that there has been insufficient calves to meet farmer demand to date, and this had helped drive prices.
"I think farmers around here have delayed calving by a week or fortnight," Malone said.