Drop calves were a super trade at the weekly sale in Kilrea Mart last Thursday, with prices regularly passing the £300 barrier for beef sired animals.
Underpinning the trade was a strong presence of buying agents around the ring, competing with farmers purchasing calves directly for rearing.
Calves commanding the most buying interest were generally between two and four weeks old, as well as being sired by Belgian Blue and Aberdeen Angus bulls.
Top quality Blue bull calves from AI sires, and vaccinated for pneumonia, were an easy sell. Prices regularly made £275 to £380 for animals between 14 and 20 days old.
At the upper end of the trade, Blue calves sold to highs of £415 for a pair of bulls just over two weeks of age.
Belgian Blue heifers were highly sought after and calves from two to three weeks old typically sold from £270 to £330.
Across a big entry of Angus calves, quality was hugely variable and this had a big bearing on the prices paid.
Good quality Angus bull calves around one month old regularly exceeded £300, with prices rising to highs of £400 for a bull calf just shy of six weeks old.
Younger Angus bull calves around two weeks old typically sold between £240 and £280, with plainer types selling back below the £200 barrier.
Price trends on Angus heifers were similar to bulls, with buyers more active on good quality lots with a bit more age and showing better conformation. Lighter, plainer calves sold from £120 to £160.
Limousin calves were a solid trade, with prices ranging from £260 upwards to £390 for strong-framed bull calves.
A small entry of Simmental calves were easily sold, with prices topping £375 for a well-bred heifer, while Hereford calves sold from £180 to £260.
Friesian bulls sold from £40 to £80 for stronger, older calves, although numbers were limited.
Fleckvieh bulls made £100 over Friesian calves, as did a small entry of Montbéliarde animals.