There was a big turnout in Bandon Mart, with just under 1,700 calves going through the west Cork sales ring this week. A rise of 25% on last week.
Dairy bull calves provided the backbone for the sale, with a strong showing of Angus and Hereford calves backing them up.
A consistent trend this year has been the ability of the strong, well-done calves to be at the top end of their respective breed price ranges.
Three to five weeks old was the commonest age range and anything younger than that was generally on the back foot in terms of price.
Export-type Friesian bull calves sold from €35 to €80 per head. Trade for better-quality dairy bull calves saw British Friesians sell from €195 back to €95.
Lighter Friesians and Jersey crossbred bull calves sold for below this price range, making from €5 to €30. There was a small selection of Friesian heifer calves suitable for breeding and these sold for up to €385.
The top end of traditional beef breed bull and heifer calves sold from €250 to €350, with prices for the next grade of those selling from €250 back to €185. Further back, lighter Angus and Hereford calves remained a solid if unspectacular seller.
Those with Jersey-cross background sold for similar money to the mid-range Friesian bull.
Continental calves were scarce but this helped demand. Bulls made up to €510, while heifers sold for up to €400.
Mart manager, Tom McCarthy said: “These next two or three weeks will be the peak for calf numbers and that will put a bit of extra pressure on farms, marts and shippers.
“That can result in price pressure coming on the lower-quality calves. If the backlog of calves that are held up because of boat delays can get away, you’ll see a lift in prices for those type of calves.
“It’s heartening to see the amount of farmers buying calves this year and it’s not just Angus and Herefords they are buying either.
“The price for the really good British Friesian calf is matching the lower end of the traditional beef breed calves.”