Sometimes it is not the traditional sheep farmer that gets the bounce in hogget prices at this time of the year.

Most of them are busy getting lambs out of ewes at the moment. However, there will be positive knock-on to the push upwards to the record March hogget prices.

It will also likely reduce the supply of hoggets for breeding next autumn. That in turn impacts on lamb numbers the following year.

Room for improvement in milk prices

Aidan Brennan reviews milk prices paid for the first month of the year. As we approach 1 March, dairy farmers are now beginning to supply milk in relatively decent volumes.

Milk price is crucial to the business viability, especially when costs are significantly above long-term trends.

It is clearly evident that there is room for further improvement in the Irish prices in the coming weeks.

Calving rates

Calving rates have also slowed due to more beef AI use leading to longer gestation length and more sexed semen use lowering conception rate.

So while price lags, dairy farmers are holding onto newborn calves for longer, and many farmers have suggested noticeably more milk is going to calves on all farms. Is it a bad thing?

No I don’t think so, I think it is a part of the present and future cost base of the dairy sector.

Calves are less vulnerable leaving the farm, and less risky for those taking the calves on the next stage of the journey. The catch is often workload at a busy time of the year.

Looking at the calf trade, it seems farmers are being rewarded for beef-bred calves out of dairy cows so workload and costs are being returned. Young, dairy-bred bull calves are not finding an easy home. The trend is clear.