There were 400 calves on offer at Carnaross Mart for the Co Meath mart’s weekly calf sale on Monday last. Demand was solid throughout, with beef calves making up most of the calves present.

Continental-crosses were in demand throughout the sale and stronger calves closer to weaning were sought after.

Top price of the sale went to a 100kg Belgian Blue-cross bull calf which sold for €400.

A share of other calves from continental sires sold from that high back to €300/head, while lighter continental-crosses between 50kg and 65kg could be purchased for between €140 and €250.

Lighter Angus- and Hereford-crosses from Friesian dams mainly sold for between €100 and €220/head.

Those with Jersey-crossbred genetics or smaller calves tended to sell for double figures.

Heavier calves

A number of heavier calves pushed higher in terms of prices, with a pair of 65kg bull calves selling for €290 and a number of older calves sold for over €300.

Friesian bull calves were in short supply. At the lower end of trade for them, plainer calves were making €20/head, while better-quality Friesian bull calves were selling for up to €90 or €110.

Speaking after the sale, mart manager Padraig McElroy said: “We’ve had a very busy spring here and I’d say from the middle of February through April, we’ve had an average of about 800 calves per week go through the ring. It’s been a fairly steady season.

“There were a few weeks when weather was bad that prices for lighter or export calves were tough, but the good calf will sell well every week.

“Dairy farmers selling calves here know that unless they have a strong calf coming here that they won’t get a strong price.”

Similar to many mart managers around the country, he also saw a reduced number of Friesian bull calves.

“We’ve seen a lot more Hereford and Angus this year. More farmers used more sexed semen last year and this meant fewer Friesian bulls.”

Other than that, he felt trends for calves stuck to a familiar pattern.

“Things have been much the same as every other year. Exporters are after their type of calf, but we’ve had a good few farmer buyers every week.

“There’s great demand from them for continental calves and there’s a lot of farmers there, looking to buy those Angus calves.

“An Angus calf will always be in good demand once it doesn’t have any Jersey breeding.

“There’s a certain amount of Jersey-cross herds in our catchment, but Holstein Friesian cows would be the main type of cow around and that helps when it comes to selling the calf.”

In pictures

This one-month-old Belgian Blue-cross heifer calf weighed 58kg and sold for €150. \Barry Cronin

This three-week-old Belgian Blue-cross heifer calf weighed 59kg and sold for €140.\Barry Cronin

This five-week-old Angus-cross heifer calf weighed 69kg and sold for €50. \Barry Cronin

This five-week-old Angus-cross bull calf weighed 61kg and sold for €100. \Barry Cronin

This five-week-old Friesian-cross bull calf weighed 70kg and sold for €30. \Barry Cronin

This one-month-old Belgian Blue-cross bull calf weighed 64kg and sold for €150. \Barry Cronin

This five-week-old Angus-cross heifer calf weighed 64kg and sold for €180. \Barry Cronin

This one-month-old Angus-cross bull calf weighed 68kg and sold for €130. \Barry Cronin.