Calf trade: What were calves making this week?

Reports emerging from calf sales indicate that the number of calves coming on stream has increased this week.

Unfortunately, the calf trade last week fell victim to stormy weather conditions in some places, which affected entries and prices.

However, as expected, this week numbers have jumped, with strong entries and a good trade being reported across the board.

Kilkenny Mart

An “excellent trade” was reported by mart auctioneer George Candler at Kilkenny Mart this week, with 350 calves on offer.

Strong prices were achieved on Tuesday, February 18, with the pick of these going to continental bull calves, which ranged from €170/head to €440/head. Continental heifers were reported to make prices at €100-350/head.

First-rate Friesian bulls made anywhere from €100/head to €265/head; these were likely to be attracting the farmer attention, George noted.

However, second-rate Friesian bulls suitable for export made as little as €10/head, while topping out at €80/head.

Quality lots consisting of Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bulls made up to €350/head, with strong heifers of the same breeds making up to €200/head.

Carnew Mart

There was a “very large entry” at Carnew Mart on Saturday, February 15, with some 350 calves going under the hammer.

The sale took place on the same day as the cattle and weanling sale, which – according to David Quinn the mart manager – saw an improved demand with a large number of buyers in attendance.

Also Read: Cattle marts: Continued demand with strong weanling prices achieved

There was a range of continental and Friesian calves on offer, with continental bulls returning the strongest prices on the day.

Friesian bull calves made a steady trade on Saturday last, with the strong bulls making from €50/head to €120/head. Younger Friesian bull calves – more suited to the export market – were making €20-40/head.

Continental heifers and bulls were in high demand ringside, with heifers going for between €150/head and €380/head.

Fermoy Mart

Seán Leahy, manager at Fermoy Mart, told AgriLand that this week they had over 500 calves on offer.

The sale, which took place on Tuesday, February 18, had a large number of Friesian bull calves on offer with “around 400” of them to pick from.

Friesian bull calves which were that bit light were said to appeal to the exporters ringside, with prices ranging from €20/head to €100/head in some cases. The stronger calves attracted the attention of the farmer with prices achieved from €70/head to €180/head.

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford calves achieved varying prices depending on their age. “Handy” heifer calves were said to make €80/head and upwards, while the “best of them” made up to €220/head. Bull calves of the same breed achieved prices of €140-280/head.

There were only a smattering of continental calves on offer on Tuesday. Charolais bull calves were said to have met “a very strong trade” because they were in such small supply. Approximately 20 bull calves went under the hammer with prices of €250-440/head achieved.

Seán said following the sale: “We expect the balance to shift now; we should see more ‘coloured calves’ each week.”

He concluded by saying that they hope to see a slight increase in entries again next week.

Macroom Mart

Macroom Mart held its most recent calf sale on Saturday last, February 15, with Storm Dennis still taking its toll.

Tim McSweeney of Macroom Mart told AgriLand that had the adverse weather conditions not affected entries, they may have had up to 100 more calves on offer.

In total, there were approximately 180 calves on offer, with Friesian bull calves accounting for a large proportion of these animals.

Friesian bulls suited to the export market were said to make €15-65/head, while the “stronger” calves sold to the farmers at €65-130/head.

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bulls and heifers made a “decent trade”, with bulls going for €100-260/head. Lighter heifers were said to be making €80/head at least; however, the strongest heifers achieved prices as high as €220/head.

Tim said they expect upwards of 400 calves, with the weather unlikely to affect turnout on Saturday.