For the second week in a row, the number of calves has reduced by over 10%. Compared with the previous week, the number of calves at marts were back 13% over the last seven days.

Three-quarters of all calves traded in marts over the last week have been either Angus or Hereford, according to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) calf price database.

Almost three out of every 10 calves traded were Herefords, while Angus accounted for 46% of all calves sold in marts. That increase in supply saw prices for other traditional beef breeds dip.

The average price of Angus-cross calves dropped by €8/head to €110/head, while the average price for Hereford-crosses fell by €13/head to €118/head.

A greater proportion of calves sold in recent weeks have been those aged between 21 and 42 days of age.

There’s a price differential of €60 between the sexes for older Hereford-cross calves, with bulls averaging €159/head and heifers making an average of €99/head.

For Angus-cross calves, the gap is slightly less at €43, with bulls selling for an average of €136/head and heifers averaging €93/head.

Continental-crosses made up the balance of what was traded, with Belgian Blues and Limousins the most prominent breeds on offer.

Blues sold for an average of €212/head, while Limousins made an average of €149/head.

Only 10% of calves traded in marts last week were Friesian bulls and after disruption due to storm Kathleen, there was an improvement in their fortunes over the week.

Prices for those aged between 10 and 20 days of age almost doubled in the space of a week to €59. This represents an increase of €27/head and put them €1/head over their older Friesian bull calves.

A word of caution here, as the supply of younger Friesian bull calves came close to halving and was in double figures.

Older Friesian bull calves up to six weeks of age also experienced a better trade, as prices went up €11/head to €58.