Pics and prices: Exporters lead the way at Cahir Mart’s calf sale

In recent weeks, there has been a marked decrease in the number of Friesian calves being presented for sale at marts across the country.

There was no change in this trend at Cahir Mart on Wednesday last (May 23), as the calf sale was dominated by Aberdeen Angus and Hereford calves.

The mart’s manger Jonathan O’Sullivan outlined that calf numbers have decreased week-on-week in recent times and that – during the peak – some 700 calves were passing through the sale ring.

He also added that 60-70% of calves that are sold at the mart are for export.

On Wednesday, 250 calves were on offer at the Tipperary-based venue. Angus calves – suitable for export – traded at €80-130/head, while older, good-quality bulls made €170/head and up.

Some Angus and Hereford calves achieved prices north of €200/head and these prices were dependent on the age of the calf and the degree of feeding undertaken prior to sale.

Calf exports running above 100,000 head

Figures from Bord Bia indicate that some 107,813 calves have left Irish shores so far this year.

Export growth has been witnessed in Spain – one of the main markets for Irish calves. Up to April 30, some 41,809 calves were exported to this country. This is an increase of 6,585 head or 18% on the corresponding period in 2017.

Calf exports to the Netherlands – another of the main destinations for Irish calves – are currently running on a par with last year. Some 39,043 calves left Ireland bound for the Netherlands up to April 30.

As of April 30, some 11,989 calves were exported to Belgium. This is an increase of 7,807 head on 2017 levels. In addition, 6,980 calves were transported to Italian shores, figures from Bord Bia show.

Meanwhile, there has also been an increase in the total number of calves shipped to both France and Northern Ireland so far this year; calf exports to these countries stand at 6,968 and 1,022 respectively.