There was a good showing of quality calves at Mid-Tipperary Co-Operative Livestock Mart’s (Thurles Mart’s) weekly calf sale on Wednesday, March 23.

Speaking to Agriland following the sale, Thurles Mart manager Martin (Murt) Ryan said there was a total of 360 calves on offer at the sale.

Numbers were back by over 200 calves on the previous week and there was visibly more activity from calf shippers at the sale.

Sample prices for coloured calves:

Martin explained that while two or three calf exporters were active at last week’s sale, four or five calf exporters were active at the most recent calf sale.

The Thurles Mart manager said: “Exporters were eager to secure a good number of calves and were able to go that little bit further on price for the calves they wanted.

“While the trade for export-type Friesian bull calves had been a little depressed the previous week, dairy farmers were more selective on the calves they were bringing out this week.

“More farmers were bringing out their stronger calves and leaving the lighter ones at home for an extra week or so.

“Dairy farmers are seeing it’s harder to sell a two-week-old calf than it is to sell a three-week-old calf,” he said.

Sample Friesian calf prices:

Martin noted that Jersey-cross calves had been a hard sell over the previous weeks but said they were “getting away at the most recent sale – albeit at a discounted rate”.

Farmer buyers

Martin also noted that farmer-buyers are more active for coloured calves and said “there have been very few farmers buying Friesian bull calves in comparison with other years”.

“The farmers are going for the traditional Angus and Herefords, or even the continental calf,” he said.

This February born Hereford bull made €380

“They’re quite strong on a good calf but there’s very few buyers returning for Friesian bull calves unless they are going to take them all the way to beef,” Martin added.

Martin also noted that last year, a lot more farmers were rearing small numbers of calves due to family members at home from the Covid-19 lock down and many of these smaller buyers are not active this year.

Martin said that the mart is set to host the Irish Limousin Cattle Society’s second spring show and sale on Saturday, April 2.

The mart hosts a weekly cattle sale of bullocks, heifers and cull cows every Monday; a calf sale every Wednesday; and a suckler sale every second Wednesday.