The growth in numbers at calf sales has started to slow, with just an 18% week-on-week increase recorded over the past seven days.

Buyers are being a little more selective as numbers begin to peak, which has resulted in some further easing of prices this week.

Shipping-type calves are typically selling from €30/head to €80/head and had been running €10/head above this in recent weeks.

The latest figures from Bord Bia for the week ending 25 February show another strong week for calf exports with 15,044 calves shipped, more than doubling the total for the season, which sits at 28,208 as of 25 February.

Unsettled weather

It is hoped that unsettled weather in the coming days will have minimum impact on sailings. However, some exporters undoubtedly had this in mind when buying over the past few days.

A number of Polish and Lithuanian buyers were active at sales in the south this week, looking to buy strong Friesian bulls and coloured calves, which is hoped will boost demand in the coming weeks.

Beef calves

Beef-sired calf numbers have increased earlier in the season this year, with numbers in sales running similar to the last week of March 2022, indicating earlier and greater use of beef semen on the dairy herd last summer.

It has resulted in prices dipping sooner than in recent years, with up to three-week-old Angus heifers averaging €97/head, back €13 on the week, while bulls the same age averaged €144/head, back €5 on last week.