There was in the region of 1,400 calves on offer in Bandon this week, with prices tightening up a fraction. Solid but unspectacular would be the best way to describe the trade. Well over 80% of what was on offer this week was purchased in the €70 to €270 range.
Throughout March there was wide variation on prices within the breed categories. The earlier January and February calves, especially beef cross ones, are much sought after by calf rearing specialists, creating extra competition for calves that suit their individual systems.
The peak of Friesian bull calf numbers has well and truly passed, with noticeably fewer around the pens. Those available are, on average, older calves than earlier in the season. The price range for those were tighter than earlier in the spring, with €70 to €150 the going rate.
Traditional beef crosses filled the vacuum created by the lack of Friesians, resulting in some exporters stepping up their activity for Angus calves to fill the gap. This has resulted in Angus and Hereford calves, both bulls and heifers, remaining in strong demand despite an increase in numbers. The bulk of those on offer sold for between €160 and €280.
The top end of those prices was available for the four- to six-week-old calf, while lighter calves or those closer to three weeks tended to sell for under €200. There was a smaller selection than three weeks ago which made over €280.
Continentals saw a small lift in numbers, though prices remained consistent with 2021 trends. A price range of €260 to €400 would have purchased a good share of those on offer, while there was up to €520 paid for the much stronger calves.