3 November 1995

£10 drop for Friesian calves

HAVING firmed in recent weeks, Friesian calf prices fell £10 to £87 a head in the week to Oct 25, demonstrating the continuing volatility of the market.

"It is difficult to follow from day to day," says Northamptons Keith Rose. "If an exporter has transport arranged for the couple of days after a market sells calves then demand can be firm.

"But, equally, it can drop £30 overnight," he says.

For the farmers selling calves, meanwhile, it is a case of accepting the price that is on offer, says Mr Rose. "Sellers do not have the resources to hold on to them in the hope of catching a strong trade," he says.

With cultivation work completed and space available in buildings, home rearers should now be looking to buy, giving a boost to calf prices across the board, says Mr Rose.

Another factor which may help trade is the better quality animals now coming forward, according to David Gray at Lanark. "We are seeing good, strong, transportable calves – born out of mature cows," he says.

Black-and-whites levelled £110 at Lanark last week. And prices would be even stronger were it not for the French suppliers who are flooding Dutch markets, suggests Mr Gray.

Entries should now fall and this could help to improve prices, adds Market Draytons Ken Pritchard. &#42