The ‘perfect storm’ that saw calves being sold for 50c
Combination of factors have led to extraordinary scenes at marts in recent weeks
A "perfect storm" occurred last week at Bandon mart when word came through that ships would not sail to Cherbourg due to Storm Gareth, which resulted in "the dampening of the price of calves".
That was the view of Sean Clarke, IFA Development Officer, who told The Corkman that the perfect storm was also tied into "the fact that it was the busiest week at the mart".
"An exporter would be left with looking after calves during the night and the next day until they could sail," he said. He was responding to comments made by Senator Tim Lombard who attended the mart in Bandon and who told the Seanad that at the mart "1,800 calves went through, some of which were sold for less than 50c, when they were making €110 the year previously."
However, Mr Clarke readily admitted that "calf prices are down" compared to last year. Moreover, he said that there are also a number of poor quality calves on the market, such as the jersey cross.
"There is a saying that all greyhounds are dogs but not all dogs are greyhounds. There can be a huge difference in the quality of calves also," said Mr Clarke.
"As I was saying, due to word coming through at Bandon mart that the ships wouldn't sail, and it also tied into the big volume of calves that were at the mart, well, it all led to a perfect storm," he said.
Mr Clarke said that when ships did sail and the backlog was greatly eased, he said prices at the mart then went back up.
He also said the WB Yates sailed from Dublin Port yesterday on its "first maiden voyage" with calves as part of a pilot scheme and, if successful, it will go three times per week.