Numbers of cattle being traded in marts around the country took a notable jump last week, with calves being the main driver of the increased numbers.

Weanling numbers are also high for the time of year. A number of exporters are actively buying weanlings for export jobs and this high demand is driving the trade.

Speaking to some mart managers this week, they say they are seeing more weanlings come out now that would have traditionally been aimed at the grass market in March and April.

There are also higher numbers of autumn-born weanlings being sold on the back of some of the high prices being paid for some of the top-end weanlings.

Lighter dairy beef-cross Hereford and Aberdeen Angus bullocks and heifers have taken a big lift in recent weeks.

Calves in the 200kg to 300kg weight bracket were being purchased at €600 to €700/head in the autumn time have now moved up to €700 to €900/head.

The calf market has taken a little wobble this week, with the news of no boats sailing until next weekend hitting the trade for the Friesian bull calf.

Some marts saw no bids this week for poorer-quality bull calves with other marts turning away calves and not allowing them through the sale due to a combination of poor-quality and very light calves.

Prices for good-quality dairy beef calves have held steady, but a big gap has opened up in prices being paid for good-quality calves over 50kg and poorer-quality calves under 50kg.

Taking a look at the heifer rings this week, it was another positive week’s trading, with the only negative being the poorer-quality cattle.

Top-quality heifers in the 400kg to 500kg weight bracket came in at €3.18/kg this week, a lift of 7c/kg on the previous week.

Average-quality heavy heifers were also up slightly to €2.94/kg this week.

Top-quality heifers over 600kg took a big lift of 22c/kg this week, up to €3.38/kg. Poorer-quality heifers in the 400kg to 500kg weight bracket were unchanged this week at €2.41/kg.

In the bullock ring, it was the lighter bullocks who fared best this week. Average bullocks in the 400kg to 500kg weight bracket hit €2.68/kg, up 3c on the previous week.

Heavy bullocks over 600kg were down a touch on the back of more subdued demand from factory agents for finished cattle. Top quality heavy bullocks over 600kg came in at €3.15/kg.

The weanling tables are full of green arrows. Top-quality weanling bulls in the popular 300kg to 400kg weight bracket came in at €3.61/kg this week, a lift of 5c/kg on the previous week.

Lighter bull calves in the 200kg to 300kg weight bracket all recorded increases, with the bottom third up 18c/kg this week to €2.47/kg.

The weanling heifer rings also saw a steady trade, with top-quality weanling heifers in the 300kg to 400kg weight bracket hitting €3.58/kg this week, up 14c/kg on the previous week.

Average heifers in the 200kg to 300kg weight bracket came in at €2.98/kg this week.