Booming trade sees calved heifers selling for up to €1,800/hd.
Farmers are paying up to €1,800/hd for freshly-calved dairy replacements as milk suppliers look to continue to grow cow numbers.
Brisk demand for good quality dairy stock has seen exceptional prices paid over the last month for calved heifers and young cows, as well as for bulling heifers.
Prices for calved heifers range from €1,300 to €1,800/hd, with EBI and genetics dictating the sale values.
Barney O’Connell of Listowel Mart described the current market for dairy stock as “crazy”.
He said the bulk of the calved heifers at last week’s sale sold from €1,400 to €1,700/hd, but a top price of €1,790 was paid.
“The prices depended on the heifers, and their figures for EBI and fat and protein, and milk yield. Different people have different tastes,” Mr O’Connell explained.
It was a similar story in Corrin Mart where mart manager Sean Leahy said quality replacement stock were “very dear” and prices ranged from €1,400-1,800/hd for first-calvers, second calvers and third-calvers.
Mature cows ranged in price from €800 to €1,300 depending on their age, Mr Leahy added.
Three categories of buyers were doing the majority of the buying, he said. These included new entrants to dairying, farmers who are just “topping up” and replacing numbers lost during the calving season, and those who have had problems with TB.
While Mr O’Connell said there was particularly strong demand in Listowel for calved heifers because the buyers wanted stock that they “could put straight in the parlour”, there was also a lively trade for bulling heifers.
Last week bulling heifers that weighed over 300kg and are ready to be put in calf this summer made between €700-870/hd, with the bulk of them making between €750/hd and €850/hd.
Lighter heifers that will need another year before being put to the bull generally sold for around €600/hd.
Moving to the very start of the supply chain, Sean Leahy said Friesian heifer calves have just started to come on stream in the marts. Prices range from €100/hd to €300/hd depending on age and EBI.
On the overall trade for replacement stock, Barney O’Connell said it was a reflection of the belief that “dairying was the only show in town” in terms of the profitability.