With the simple rule of supply and demand, Friesian bull calf prices experienced a positive bump due to the low numbers entering marts. This has resulted in the lighter calf, that is more suitable for export, being a little more expensive in terms of the calf trade at recent sales.

Some marts are seeing these exportable Friesian calves fetch up to €100/head – whereas in previous weeks, these would have been topped at €60-80/head.

The export clients are also seemingly holding a good floor under the lighter and traditionally-bred calves – however their target currently seems to be focused more on Angus calves.

This week Agriland takes a look at recent calf sales held at Bandon and Carrigallen Marts.

Friesian bull calf prices at Bandon Mart

Down in the south of the country at Bandon Mart on Monday (April 12) there was over 1,200 head of calves on offer – with numbers slightly back on the previous week.

Speaking to Agriland about the trade this week, manager Sean Dennehy stated that overall the trade was good for calves. He added:

“The lighter and Friesian bull calf, suitable for export, was selling at €40-120/head. The stronger Friesian bull calf sold up to €200/head.

“There [were] about 40 Friesian heifer calves that sold at €270-390/head.

“Angus and Hereford bull calves sold from €135-410/head, while the heifer calves sold from €120-350/head.”

There was a special addition to this week’s sale with Irish Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society sponsorship, which saw the first prize-winning bull selling up to €380/head, while the first prize Angus heifer calf sold for €345/head.

Speaking about the sale of continental calves, Sean said:

“The continental bulls started at prices of €250/head and sold up to €395/head. Continental heifers sold at €220-465/head.

Carrigallen Mart

There was a strong show of 340 calves at Carrigallen Mart on Saturday (April 10), with a bigger number of beef calves coming onto the scene in the Co. Leitrim-based mart.

Commenting on the sale to Agriland, manager Helen Kells stated:

“We were seeing less of the lighter Friesian bulls coming to the mart on Saturday. The Freisian bulls that we had were a bit stronger and we saw prices for the export calf making €50-90/head. The prices for Friesian bull calves were topped at €135/head.

“Angus and Hereford bull calves sold up to €260-280/head and back to €150/head. Angus and Hereford heifers sold from €320/head back to €200/head generally; there [weren’t] too many heifers that made under €200/head.

“In a special entry of suckler-bred continental calves, these sold from €630/head back to €480/head.

“Belgian Blue bull calves coming from the dairy herd sold at €350-450/head, with heifers selling up €400/head,” Helen concluded.