Calf trade: Numbers begin to creep up in marts

The number of calves heading to marts are beginning to creep up slightly, according to reports from sales held this week. Speaking with mart managers, prices are still holding firm with the customers not being shy in paying the price for the stronger and quality calf.

This week AgriLand reports from recent calf sales held at Kilkenny, Carlow, Ballybay and Killmallock Mart.

Kilkenny Mart

Kilkenny Mart held its first standalone calf sale of 2021 on Tuesday (February 2) this week, with over 100 head of calves on offer. Commenting on the sale of calves, the mart’s auctioneer George Candler stated:

The stronger types were most sought after by farmers. The lighter-type Friesian bull was the most difficult to sell due to the lack of exporters.

“It might be more prudent for dairy farmers to hold onto their calves until they are at least three-weeks-old.”

Examining the prices paid this week in Kilkenny, the second rate Friesian bulls sold at €15/head up to €70/head, while the first rate Friesian bulls sold at €110-270/head.

Looking at the continental calves, bulls were priced at €180-410/head, with heifers receiving slightly lower calls of €130-340/head.

Angus and Hereford bulls were valued at €80-370/head, as the heifers sold from €120/head up to €250/head.

Carlow Mart

There was a slight rise in the number of calves entered this week in Carlow Mart, according to the mart’s auctioneer John Maher.

In total, there were 70 calves entered at the mart’s sale held on Monday (February 1).

Speaking on the trade, John explained:

The lesser quality Friesian bull calves were selling at €65-90/head, with the more quality calves that we had on offer selling from €120/head up to €150/head.

“In the Hereford section, we had heifer calves making €270/head, €285/head, €290/head and €310/head, but the general run of heifers sold from €290/head up to €310/head; with bull calves selling up to €340/head.

“The tops recorded for Angus calves was up to €350-375/head, but these prices would have been for strong calves over six-weeks-old. The Angus calf prices would have started at €210/head.

“Of the continental calves that we had, we mostly had a selection of Belgian Blue calves that would have sold from €400/head and back to €300/head. We had one Charolais calf that sold for €420/head,” John concluded.

calf marts calves trade

Ballybay Mart

There were strong prices paid for Friesian bull calves in Ballybay Mart, as reported by Adrian Grimes, the mart’s manager.

The mart held its calf sale on Saturday (January 30), in conjunction with its weekly sale of bullocks, heifers and dry cows.

Adrian claimed: “Friesian bull calves that lacked a bit of power or quality were selling at €90-100/head on Saturday. The well-structured Friesian bull calves, out of good British Friesian-bred cows, were selling from €120/head up to €170/head.

The Hereford calves that we had, sold from €185/head up to €265/head, while the majority of the Angus calves would have sold at €190-260/head.

He added:

“There were no continental-bred calves sold under €300/head, with the range for these calves being from €320/head up to €380/head.

“There were some strong Limousin-bred calves that sold at €380-440/head. The top price reported was for a Belgian Blue calf that sold for €485/head.

“Overall, the trade has continued to be driven by the northern customer.”

Enniscorthy Mart

Killmallock Mart

There was a large entry of 160 calves in Killmallock at Monday’s sale (February 1). Everything that was brought forward for sale was sold, according to the mart’s manager PJ Buckley.

He stated: “The trade in general was very good, we had Friesian bull calves selling from €90/head up to €150/head for the more stronger-type of bull calf.

“Angus calves were making from €150/head up to the €300/head mark depending on age, while Herefords were selling at €250-350/head.

“Prices for the continental calves that we had would have started off at €250/head and made its way up to €350/head. The strongest of the continentals we had sold up to was €550/head.

“Calf numbers are relatively small at the minute I suppose, but we are expecting numbers to rise further obviously as the weeks go on and more dairy calves hit the ground,” Pj added.