Increased buying competition has boosted prices for drop calves sold through marts in recent weeks.

Good quality Angus and Blue calves around four to six weeks old are regularly making upwards of £400, while weaned animals are trading above £500 depending on quality.

Official mart reports show strong bull calves were making £400 in early January, but this has increased to around £460 in February. The average is £433 over the last month.

Heifer calves averaged £390 over the same period. Young calves and plainer lots are trading between £200 and £330 depending on age and quality. Friesian calves weaned off milk are selling for over £200 whereas animals under one month old are below £100.

Meanwhile, ringside competition for slaughter-fit hoggets is also intensifying with numbers becoming increasingly limited.

Good quality Suffolk and Texel cross hoggets weighing 24kg to 26kg are regularly making £135 to £140, which equates to deadweight prices of 600p to 622p/kg. Local plants are trying to keep a lid on prices with quotes on 590p/kg, but deals at 600p to 610p/kg are available to keep pace with marts.


In the beef trade, processors are trying to talk the market down and have reduced quotes for prime cattle to a base of 464p/kg. However, prices paid remain on 484p to 484p/kg for the main run of U-3 grade cattle, which is still more than 20p/kg behind factory prices in Britain.