January calf prices are always strong, as supply and demand plays a big part in prices, but there seems to be that bit more reward for farmers selling their calves at the moment.

The lockdown restrictions may play a part too, with online sales only, and perhaps there are some buying earlier in the year than they usually would.

Whatever the reason, demand was exceptionally strong in Bandon Mart during its sale on Monday.

Good mix

There was a good mix of calves on offer, with an even mix of Friesian, traditional beef breeds and continental calves present.

Friesian bulls sold from €65 to €225, with Friesian heifers making up to €290.

Demand for Angus and Hereford calves was very evident, with bull calves selling for between €220 and €440.

Heifer calf prices weren’t too far behind, ranging from €200 to €390.

Continental demand

As ever in January, calf sale demand was strongest for continental calves and they certainly didn’t disappoint from a seller's perspective, with bulls selling for up to €545 and heifers making up to €450.

Speaking after the sale, mart manager Tom McCarthy said: “Trade is good. The online selling is a little bit slower, but we’ll get used to it.

There’s good vibes coming from the beef side of things

"There’s stronger calves coming in and farmers love that. Dealers like it as well, because it opens up the market to a few more customers that mightn’t want to feed the younger calf.

"It’s got off to an exceptionally strong start this year. There’s good vibes coming from the beef side of things.

"Store cattle have got dear and people are turning their attention to calves to probably get numbers with the money they have. That’s driving on the calf thing.

"It’s worth highlighting that postal delays could have an effect on their ability to sell calves," Tom warned.

"If BVD samples are taking longer to get to the lab or the cards for calves are delayed, it could mess up selling plans. It’s something for farmers to watch.”

In pictures

This pair of six-week-old bull calves made €80 each.

This pair of 17-day-old Charolais bull calves proved popular and sold for €545.

This Hereford heifer calf was just short of three weeks old and sold for €350.

This 34-day-old Friesian bull calf made €265.

This 23-day-old Limousin bull calf sold for €470.

This group of Simmental bull calves sold for €395 apiece.

These 38-day-old bull calves sold for €215.

The ringside may have been empty, but online bidding proved strong in Bandon Mart's weekly calf sale. The oldest of this group was born on 23 December and they averaged €155.

This group of one-month-old Angus heifers averaged €275.

This one-month-old Angus bull sold for €415.

This early December-born bull calf made €405.

These early December-born bull calves averaged €170.

The pair of early December-born heifer calves made €295 each.

This group of 16-day-old bull calves averaged €85.