The number of Irish calves sold to European markets is currently running 11% behind where it was last year, but is 8% ahead of the same time in 2022.

To date, a total of 135,940 Irish calves were sold to other countries within the EU or to Northern Ireland.

A combination of delayed calving and bad weather saw trade with the continent for calves get off to a very slow start this year, and it was well into March before it began in earnest. Numbers shipped have been steady since then, with 14,294 Irish calves going to the main outlets of the Netherlands and Spain, along with Italy and a developing market in eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Beyond the big two destinations, buyers in Italy and Poland have taken in the region of 10,000 calves so far this year, with approximately 4,000 going to Northern Ireland and Romania. A further 1,700 have gone to both Croatia and Hungary. Angus- and Hereford-cross calves continue to account for eight of every 10 calves on offer at marts according to the ICBF calf price database.

The average price for Angus-crosses was up €17/head this week to €137/head.

Hereford-crosses saw their price increase too, albeit at a lower rate of €5/head for an average of €147/head.

Friesian bull calves averaged €87/head, up €10/head on last week.