How have dairy bull calves performed at auction this year?

Thursday, 17 December 2020

By Kat Jack

Prices for rearing calves at auction markets have priced higher on average this year than in 2019 (based on data up to the 21 November for 2020). However, the price you get still depends on the breed. We’ve looked before at how ‘Friesian/Holstein X’ bull calf prices compare with the main beef categories, but how have individual dairy breeds performed within that group?

While there are many breeds of cattle going through market, the three with the highest throughputs on the dairy bull rearing calf side of things are covered below:

  • Holstein Friesian bull rearing calf prices for 2020 are in line with the 5-year average, at just under £37/head.
  • Holstein prices have averaged £34/head this year, less than a pound below the 5-year average and below the Holstein-Friesian average.
  • British Friesian prices have averaged £38/head for 2020 so far, commanding a premium over the other two dairy breeds. However, prices haven’t had as strong a recovery in 2020 as the two breeds above, with prices still more than £5/head below the 5-year average.

It is worth noting that average auction prices only give a very broad overview of the value of calves. Prices vary considerably over the course of a year and across the country. Additionally, specialised arrangements for selling on calves are relatively common. Both routes have shown that good prices can be achieved for high-quality calves.


Katherine Jack

Analyst - Dairy

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