The perennial rise in numbers of beef calves appeared to come a bit earlier this spring and it’s now hitting the point where they are really dominating the numbers.
Perhaps that’s a result of dairy expansion easing up and as less replacement heifers are required, dairy farmers are switching to beef AI straws sooner.
Whatever the reason, the lift in numbers was apparent in the calf pens in Bandon Mart on Monday.
At least two-thirds of the 1,200 calves on offer appeared to be Angus or Hereford.
Despite the lift in numbers for these breeds, it had no negative impact on their prices.
Traditional beef breeds
Over the last month, two consistent elements of the Bandon calf sale has been the older age of calf compared with other years and the firmness of the trade for the traditional beef breeds.
Yet again, the bulk of what was on offer between bull and heifers across those breeds sold for between €180 and €250.
Within that price bracket, the month-old calf for €200 to €220 was the go-to seller of this week’s sale.
At the top end for those breeds, from €280 to €360 was available, but this was for the much stronger calf around the six week or over mark.
Calves from those crosses that sold under €180 had either Jersey-cross genetics or were closer to two than three weeks.
In the continentals, the main body of them sold for between €200 and €350.
The top price of €460 went to a six-week-old Charolais heifer calf.
The slump in Friesian bull calf numbers is resulting in a lift in their prices.
Most export calves sold from €70 to €110, with stronger British Friesian calves coming up on two months making from €150 to €180, with an odd outlier scraping past the €200 mark.
There was a small selection of Jersey-cross bull calves and they saw prices come within €20 of the lower end of Friesians.
There was a selection of Friesian heifer calves suitable for breeding on offer and these sold for between €300 and €400.