While export calves were expected to be under the most pressure this week due to the closure of the Pignet lairage facility in France, the average price for younger Friesian bulls was actually up €4/head from last week to €43/head, while older calves were similar to the previous seven days at €52/head.
Demand for beef-sired calves remains, but as numbers continue to increase, supply is starting to outstrip demand, which has resulted in Angus calves dropping by €16/head on average on the week, while Hereford calves are down by €22/head in the same timeframe.
There were between 15% and 20% more of these calves on offer this week compared with last week and the offering of these traditional breed calves now makes up over 60% of all calves traded in marts.
It means under-three-week-old Angus and Hereford bulls are averaging €117/head and €136/head respectively, while those over three weeks old are making €147/head and €183/head respectively.
It should be noted that stronger calves are making well above the average price quoted.
Looking at heifers of the same breeds, young Angus heifers are averaging €72/head, while Herefords are making €89/head. Older heifers are running around €25/head dearer at an average price of €97/head for Angus and €115/head for Herefords.
Looking at the same week last year, these traditional breed calves were making €53/head more than they are currently - a reduction of 34% year on year.
The same calculation for Friesian bulls sees the average price reduced by €15/head on the same time last year, signifying a 24% reduction in sale price compared with 2022 levels.
The average age of calves at sales continues to increase, up by two days on average this week, with Friesian bulls up almost three days, showing farmers’ willingness to hold on to calves for longer to secure a market.