The calf trade in recent weeks has been hampered by reduced sailings, with the trade overall, being up and down year.

To garner some insight into the trade this week, Agriland spoke with Kevin Murphy from Enniscorthy Mart.

Commenting on the trade, Kevin said: “The sales are getting that little bit smaller every week, with 350 lots with almost 500 calves on offer this week.

“The trade was stronger than previous weeks as the numbers drop off, with the vast majority of the sale made up of coloured calves and with only about 20% of the sale consisting of Friesian-sired calves.”

Calf trade

With regards to Friesian bull calves, the export-type calves sold from €70 to €130 this week.

According to Kevin, the exporters are also very interested in the lighter Angus, Hereford and Belgian-Blue cross calves, which has given the whole trade a lift.

Looking at the stronger Friesian bulls, they sold from €150 up to €210 – most of which were bought by farmers.

“The quality calves are being bought by local farmers and some dealers, but they are paying a premium for those squarer calves,” said Kevin.

“Overall, the trade was up €20-40/head on last week.”

Some sample Friesian prices:

  • One four-week-old Friesian bull sold for €210;
  • Five three-week-old Friesian bulls sold for €110 each.

There was also a small entry of Friesian heifer calves which were suitable for breeding which sold from €110 up to €290.

Coloured calves

The beef-sired calves, which as previously stated made up over 80% of the calves on offer at Wednesday’s sale, saw a “good lift in trade” according to Kevin.

“Continental calves saw a good lift in trade, with soft bulls and heifers selling from €170 up to a top price of €430 for a Belgian-Blue bull,” he said.

Some sample continental prices:

  • One four-week-old Belgian Blue bull made €430;
  • One four-week-old Limousin heifer made €360;
  • One three-week-old Simmental bull made €250;
  • One three-week-old Limousin bull made €270.

The Angus and Hereford calves saw the biggest lift in price at this week’s sale.

They ranged from €120 for the lighter calves, up to €340 for a good Angus bull.

Some sample Hereford and Angus prices:

  • One three-week-old Angus bull sold for €340;
  • Three three-week-old Hereford heifers sold for €225 each;
  • Five three-week-old Angus bulls sold for €165 each.

Commenting further, Kevin said: “Overall, a smaller sale compared to previous week.

“But the trade is improving once again as numbers decrease.”