It was back with the old but still in with the new, as buyers fully returned to the ringside for Bandon Mart’s weekly calf sale.
Buyers may have resumed in-house bidding, but online bidders made their presence felt too and drove competition.
Calf numbers were along similar lines to previous years’ early calf sales, with 220 on offer on Monday.
Supply and demand ensures calf prices always start strong in January and this year was no different.
Given the prices of older cattle, some farmers are likely to turn to calves to pick up bigger numbers at handier money and it will be interesting to see if this continues over the spring.
Demand was strongest for continental calves and they certainly didn’t disappoint from a seller’s perspective, with bulls selling for up to €550 and heifers making up to €470.
Calves from beef sires dominated, with the bigger numbers of Friesian bull calves a few weeks away yet.
Of those on offer, prices for most of the Friesian bulls under one month old ranged from €55 to €135.
Older Friesians and a share of Montbeliarde bull calves were making from €200 up to €270.
Replicating demand for stores of the same breeds, Angus and Hereford calves were popular sellers.
With these, the stronger and older the calf, the better they generally performed.
Those traditional beef breed bull calves sold for between €220 and €465.
Prices for heifer calves were on par with those for the most part. They sold from €180 to €460.
A share of lighter beef-cross calves sold for below those prices.
Speaking after the sale, mart manager Sean Dennehy said: “We had a good trade and solid demand for all breeds of calves, with prices for continental calves really standing out. 2022 has certainly hit the ground running in calf terms with no let-up on last year’s prices.
“With calving already under way on many farms around here, we expect calf numbers to go up significantly in the next few weeks.”
Sean also expressed his relief at the decision made at EU level in Strasbourg last week to make amendments to proposed animal transport legislation. He said: “The news of compromised rules on animal transport are positive. Farmers around the country will certainly be breathing a sigh of relief.
“It’s good to see more sensible and practical changes to what was originally proposed.”