Some mart managers moved early this week to tell dairy farmers to keep lighter calves at home in light of the export situation.

ICOS, the marts umbrella body, also said: “Farmers need to be conscious of a reduced export capacity in the short term. We would ask farmers to work closely with their mart to ensure that they can get their calves sold.

“This may necessitate holding on to calves for slightly longer than normal.”

The trade wasn’t affected at all this week but many farmers heeded the advice of mart managers and kept export type calves at home.

This week’s calf price analysis shows the price of 10-21 day old Friesian export type bull calves relatively unchanged on last week, with older calves in the three- to six-week category also unchanged. It’s been a record start for calf exports, with 72,867 calves exported up to 19 March 2023, up 15,173 head on the 2022 figure. The Netherlands has seen the largest increase, with an extra 8,285 Irish calves exported there this year. The Polish market has also seen a large increase, with 4,075 calves exported to Poland this year up from 557 in the same period in 2022.