An online open survey of more than 1,600 dairy farmers – conducted by AgriLand this week – has found that 22% of farmer participants intend to sell their dairy bull calves after at least 14 days for export abroad.

On Tuesday evening, October 29, AgriLand opened a poll with the question: “What do you intend on doing with your male dairy calves?”

Seven options were given for respondents to choose; these included:
  • Sell them after at least 10 days in a private sale;
  • Sell them after at least 10 days in the mart;
  • Sell them after at least 14 days for export;
  • Keep them for longer, for example six to eight weeks;
  • Keep them and rear them for beef;
  • Look into a contract rearing arrangement; and
  • Other.

A total of 1,664 people responded to the online poll.

The most popular option selected by participants was the export choice, with 22% of respondents choosing this route.

Next most popular was the private sale option; some 19% of farmers selected this path.

Interestingly, 18% of respondents said they intend keeping the calves and rearing them for beef, while 15% hope to sell them after at least 10 days in the mart.

13% of participants said they will keep the calves for longer, with 9% choosing the “other” option.

Finally, just 4% would look into a contract rearing arrangement.

Adequate resources?

A follow-up question was also asked to participants: “In the event of retaining calves for longer than the legal holding period, do you have adequate facilities, accommodation and labour for this spring?”

Some 1,054 respondents answered this question; 57% of these said “no” to the question, while 43% said “yes”.