Prices being achieved by dairy in-calf heifers have fallen €200-400/head compared to this time last year, with prices from around €1,000-1,400 being paid at present.

This is according to Bertie Troy from Grasstec group, who told Agriland that there has been a weakening of the market, due to obvious reasons.

2023 has been a challenging year for the Irish dairy sector, with it facing a number of different challenges during the year.

These included changing weather conditions, low milk prices, and changes to the nitrates derogation.

The changes to the nitrates derogation has been the biggest factor attributing to the fall in prices for dairy heifers.

The changes to the derogation are set to have a major impact on a large number of dairy farms.

Dairy in-calf heifers

Scanning has started for many spring-calving herds and now is when farmers will know how the breeding season has gone.

This means that some farmers will either have excess heifers to sell while others will be looking to boost numbers.

This year there appears to be an oversupply of heifers as farmers look to move stock off farms.

According to Troy, heifers bred via artificial insemination (AI) that are in calf and due in late January / early February are achieving prices of between €1,300 and €1,400.

Prices for stockbull-bred heifers he said, are around the €1,000 mark, which overall means that prices have fallen by around €200 to €400 across the board.


However, there is still demand in the market for high-quality stock, according to Troy.

This is being driven by some new entrants, farmers replacing stock lost to TB, farmers looking to improve the genetic merit of theirs herds, and the export market.

Troy said that there are some farmers looking to improve the genetic merit of their herds and are taking the opportunity to replace poorer animals with high-quality heifers.