suckler farmers are being urged to explore the idea of selective selling of their animals in order to maximise the price that their weanlings achieve at the livestock mart.
ICSA suckler chairman Dermot Kelleher urged farmers to spend time selecting animals for sale so that the prices for their best animals are not dragged down by smaller calves.
"The weanling trade is doing very well at present but there are certain ways a farmer can take full advantage of high prices at the ringside," he said.
"Unless a weanling is tipping the scales at 350kg then they simply shouldn't be sold.
"We have a tendency to sell our weanlings in bunches but maybe that isn't always the best option as some of the younger, weaker animals bring down the overall price.
"Price per kilo is important but the overall price of a weanling is more important and this is more likely to be achieved by selling the weanlings on a more gradual timescale."
The west Cork farmer said selling the heaviest weanlings in smaller bunches would create more room at the creep feeder, reduce the ration bill and result in more grass for the smaller calves.
"If the farmer has the opportunity to sell some of the stronger weanlings he has, then the smaller animals have the opportunity to thrive," he said.
"Earlier selling of the best weanlings often coincides with higher prices and the more backward ones get a chance to put on more weight."
He added that selling suitable weanlings at intervals would also prevent a glut of animals coming on the market at the same time, and could delay or prevent the usual price fall in the back-end of the year.
However, the ICSA man acknowledged that selective selling would not suit every farmer, especially where individuals were dependent on using lorry transport.