AgriLand caught up with Seán Leahy, manager at Fermoy Mart and Tim McSweeney of Macroom Mart, who provided an update on the calf trade and how the sale are running.

Both marts are operating on an appointment basis, with the sellers instructed to book a time slot in advance of presenting their calves for sale. These time slots are all 10 minutes apart, which ensures no queues develop and no sellers are in contact with one another.

Staff then batch them together for customers. The main buyers that are usually present are contacted in advance and outline to the mart staff what they are in the market for.

Customers are then instructed on when to collect and load their calves; this is carried out ideally when the mart is quiet in a bid to reduce the numbers as much as possible.

Fermoy Mart

There were some 250 calves sold at Fermoy Mart this week – over two days – with batches of calves being sold not exceeding 15-18 head.

Friesian bull calves suitable for export were selling for between €10/head and €60/head; while better-quality calves achieved prices up to €160/head at the sale.

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford bull calves topped out at €250/head, with some of those going for shipping making €30/head. Heifer calves of the same breed started at €25/head for “handy” stock and topped out at €250/head for the stronger lots.

Continental calves were said to be scarce last week, with some Belgian Blue bull and heifer calves being presented for sale; these were making €130-270/head and €150-300/head respectively.

Seán stated that calf numbers are beginning to decline at this point in the calving season.

“About 80% of cows have already calved and their calves have been sorted,” he said.

Macroom Mart

With Macroom Mart also selling over two days last week, there were 260-270 calves sold.

Friesian bull calves for export achieved prices of €30-60/head, according to Tim McSweeney. He stated that there wasn’t a farmer trade for Friesian bulls last week.

With calf numbers limited, there were no coloured calves on offer at Macroom Mart; however, whitehead bull calves were said to have started at €120/head and topped out at €250/head; heifers made €80-200/head.

Sales took place on Monday and Thursday. Making an appointment in advance is essential for those looking to sell calves.