Prices eased for calves across all breeds over the last week, according to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) calf price database.

Last week Hereford calves across ages and sexes were trading at an average price of €201/head. This week they averaged €161/head while Angus calves sold for an average of €133/head.

Last week the average price for Angus calves was €173/head.

Rough seas disrupted calf exports late last week, resulting in Friesian bull calf prices dipping. Friesian bull calves under three weeks of age were back €7/head on last week to €43, while older calves up to 42 days old averaged €54/head this week – a fall of €11/head.

Calf trucks got on ferries earlier this week, but the weather forecast for the next few days could mean sailing challenges heading into the weekend.

Friesian bulls accounted for 41% of the calves sold this week, a drop of 11% compared to corresponding week in 2023. Angus and Hereford numbers rose by 8% and 3% respectively, compared to last year.

Carlow mart manager Jimmy Walsh said has seen the change in breed mix result in farmer buyers become more active for beef-cross calves earlier in the season.

He also noted that a hot trade for light stores has seen some farmers switch to buying calves, as they can build up bigger numbers for a smaller initial financial outlay.

Macroom mart manager Jerh O’Sullivan said trade was okay for any calf over 50kg, but challenging for lighter calves.