Calf prices held firm this week after their strong early start to the year at Bandon Mart.

There was over 300 on offer, with the number of Friesian bull calves turning out rising as the 2021-born calves start to turn up.

Friesian bull calves were making between €45 and €235.

Farmer demand for December- and early January-born Friesian bulls has always been strong and the advent of online selling seems to have added significantly to this.

Beef breeds

Traditional breeds are a good seller, with Angus and Hereford bull calf prices ranging from €235 per head up to €405.

Heifers of the same breeds mainly sold for between €200 and €390.

There was a small number of these crosses from dairy herds with Jersey breeding and these sold for under €200 per head.

Continental calves were thin on the ground, but naturally stood out regarding price.

At the top end, they were a little bit back on last week, but weren't too far behind at the same time.

Both bull and heifer continental calves sold for between €350 and €470 per head, with an odd exception below and above that range.

What a difference a year makes

Strong starts to calf prices is a January perennial, but COVID-19 adds something a little different to the mix.

The physical lack of buyers at the ringside and the move online appears to have shaken up the trade a bit - quite a bit when you look back 12 months.

A look back at the corresponding calf sale in Bandon at the end of January 2020 shows that Friesian bull calves then sold from €30 to a top of €165.

The same calf a year later is making €20/head more at the lower end of the scale and in the region of €50/head for the stronger calf.

Continental calf prices are on par with last year, while prices for Hereford and Angus calves are running at about €40/head extra.

They were selling in the region of €200 to €350 a year ago.

With peak calf season just around the corner, it will be worth watching how sales play out over the next six weeks or so.

In pictures

Almost a month old, this foursome of bull calves averaged €195/head.

This trio of three-week-old heifer calves averaged €280.

A pair of five-week-old Friesian bulls that sold for €100.

This 23-day-old continental heifer calf sold for €415.

This group of 24-day-old bull calves sold for €420.

This one-month-old bull calf sold for €470.

This pair of seven-week-old bull calves sold for €85.

This three-week-old heifer made €275.

This trio of 24-day-old bull calves sold for €235.

This three-week-old Simmental heifer made €375.

This 23-day-old Angus heifer made €305.

This 16-day-old Hereford bull calf made €270.

This group of 16-day-old bull calves averaged €90/head.

These six-week-old Angus heifers sold for €285.

Coming up on two months, this continental heifer sold for €400.

This five-week-old Hereford bull calf made €345.

Almost one month old, this group of bull calves averaged €135.