"You can expect to pay high prices early in the season but they give you a good start," said one buyer on Wednesday at Carrfield's Livestock inaugural sale in Dannevirke.

Carrfields operated out of different pens at the A&P Showgrounds from those used by NZ Farmers Livestock on Monday.

Calf sales topped 259 between the three sales, nearly 100 by NZ Farmers Livestock, a further 100 at PGG Wrightson's Mangatainoka facility and Carrfields starting with close to 50.

Graham Brown from Carrfields says numbers will rise quickly over the next month in line with other companies.

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NZ Farmers Livestock sale on Monday started with keen competition for top Friesian bull calves. Two pens of five reached $250/head. Medium quality Friesian bull calves averaged $140-170/head.

There were only 13 Friesian Beef X bulls, two white faced reaching nearly $200 but not much other interest.

The best prices for 24 heifers went to Hartridge Family Partnership for their Angus X ($175-200/head) and Challies Farms for their white-faced X ($180/head).

At Mangatainoka prices reflected quality, bull calves ranging from $140 to 180/head averaging just over $160.

Carrfields Livestock agents were pleased with their first venture into the Dannevirke feeder calf market. Phill Robson said the quality of stock was very high, reflected in the high prices, peaking at $210/head for Friesian bull calves but seldom dropping below $170.

There were some unusual beef Friesian X bulls, with strong demand for two Speckled Park bulls pushing bidding to $280/head, a Simmental X reaching $205, Angus and Hereford X in the low $100-120/head range.

Valerie Withey and Graeme Gardiner from Te Awa Rd Farms near Waipukurau bought from both Dannevirke sales, to buy 50 over two weeks. They said they did not mind paying for this quality of stock at sales so close at hand and were thrilled to get the two Speckled Park bulls.