In-calf dairy heifers commanding up to €1,500/hd

High EBI heifers that are in-calf to AI, and will be 530-580kgs at calving, are commanding the best prices.
High EBI heifers that are in-calf to AI, and will be 530-580kgs at calving, are commanding the best prices.
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

A brisk trade for in-calf dairy heifers is reported, with farmers paying up to €1,500/hd for top quality stock.

Prices range from a base of €800/hd, but most heifers are selling for between €1,100/hd and €1,300/hd.

Concerns that Friesian bull calves could be difficult to offload next spring has failed to dampen the level of demand for replacement stock. Indeed, mart managers pointed out that a premium is being paid for heifers calving down in January and February.

Although new entrants have been active at the top end of the price range and for elite stock, the bulk of the heifers are being purchased by existing dairy units that are either continuing to expand, are short of replacements, or have lost stock to TB.

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George Ramsbottom of Teagasc said that high EBI heifers that are in-calf to AI, and will be 530-580kgs at calving, are commanding the best prices. Jim Bushe of New Ross Mart said there has been a definite move away this year from the small, light in-calf heifer.

"Those light heifers have been harder sold lately," Mr Bushe explained. He said light heifers were struggling to break €950/hd. In contrast, stronger heifers are generally making €1,100-1,200/hd.

Heifer prices ranged from €980/hd to €1,480/hd at a dairy replacement and clearance sale in Fermoy last Friday. Sean Leahy of Cork Marts said buyers from Cavan to Kinsale competed for the heifers.

Mr Leahy said the top prices were paid for high EBI heifers, with good solids that are due to calve down in January and February. There was a full clearance of stock. Fermoy has a further dairy sale this Saturday, November 9.

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