The inaugural Summer Sizzler sale took place on the farm of Andrew Kennedy outside Ballymena in Northern Ireland last weekend and was met with a phenomenal trade.

Sixty lots went under the hammer of auctioneer Michael Taaffe, recording an average sale price of £4,287 and a 98% clearance rate.

With every need catered for on site, the sale attracted one of the largest crowds seen at an on-farm sale in recent years.

Buyers from across Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales kept the momentum going throughout, leading to an overall top price of 14,000gns.

This incredible price was paid for three-month-old Holstein heifer calf Glasson Ebron Moo Jo Irene.

Having left the ring unsold initially at 12,200gns, within 20 minutes a deal was struck and 14,000gns was the call.

Sired by Lindenright Moovin, she is out of the famous Suard-Red Jordan Irene.

Suard-Red Jordan Irene Red, dam of the 14,000gns sale topper.

The EX97-classified dam of this sale topper needs no introduction, having claimed the European red and white champion title on two occasions and twice being named Holstein international red and white world champion. Performance-wise, Jordan Irene hit a lactation yield of over 14,000kg with fat percentage of nearly 5%.

Consigned by Philip and Simon Haffey of Glasson Holsteins, together with Josh Ebron, the maternal sister to no less than 10 AI bulls was secured by a syndicate from Lisburn, Co Antrim, comprising of David Porter, Daniel Murray and James Swann.

While Irene took the limelight, this was just one of many sale highlights, with a further 13 lots selling for 5,000gns or more.

The second-highest price paid on the night was 8,400gns for the first-choice heifer calf from three female pregnancies due in January 2022.

Hendercroft Fever Bazooka ET, dam of heifer calf choice lot which sold for 8,400gns.

That’s right, a bid of over €10,000 was made for the choice of three unborn calves.

Bidding for potential, the pregnancy sire is Stantons Chief ET, while the dam is Hendercroft Fever Bazoooka ET.

These embryos were imported from Canada by JK Genetics and this offering is believed to be the first sold from this family outside of Canada.

The dam and granddam of these embryos are quite special, as they are the only mother and daughter outfit in Canada to both classify EX96.

Both cows have also been nominated for Holstein Canada’s cow of the year award.

Securing the choice lot was Slatabogie Holsteins from Maghera.

Top yearling heifer

Top of the yearling heifers was Glasson Doorman G Platium ET, hitting the market at 6,200gns.

Glasson Doorman G Platinum ET sold for 6,200gns. \ Jane Steel

This July 2020-born heifer is by the famous Val-Bisson Doorman and out of EX95-classified US dam T-Triple-T Platinum.

This dam was Holstein US star of the breed 2018 and previously bred daughters that sold for $17,800.

Bred by Phillip and Simon Haffey, she was knocked down to Clive and Joel Richardson of Annaghmore Holsteins in Armagh.

While the Richardsons may have been spending, they were also on the receiving end, with two of their heifers securing the fourth-top price of 6,000gns.

Annaghmore Arti Jacuzzi Red Et sold for 6,000gns. \ Jane Steel

First up was the red and white heifer Annaghmore Arti Jacuzzi Red ET. This potential 12th-generation EX cow is a fully US-bred heifer, with her sire Luck-E Artisan Red and her dam the $30,000 Luck-E Awesome Jacuzzi Red.

Born February 2020, the stylish heifer had four maternal sisters sold at the Carlisle Black and White sale to average 8,375gns.

Securing the polled heifer was Monamore Holsteins in Drogheda, Co Louth.

Matching the price tag, again from the Richardsons, was Annaghmore Atwood MJ Danoise.

Annaghmore Atwood MJ Danoise sold for 6,000gns. \ Jane Steel

This Maple-Downs-I GW Atwood daughter is out of the 2019 RUAS Winter Fair first-prizewinner Lumville M Danoise, an EX89-max-score-classified three-year-old.

Both the dam and granddam of this May 2020-born heifer were also notable show cattle, collecting wins at the Winter Fair, Emerald Expo and Baileys.

Securing this stylish black and white heifer was the aforementioned Glasson herd.

Last of the lots to hit 6,000gns was the top-priced in-milk heifer Mostragee Unix Lauren.

Mostragee Unix Lauren, top-priced milker at 6,000gns.

This December 2018-born heifer calved in May and is currently giving over 30 litres a day.

Sired by Croteau Lesperron Unix ET, she is out of the EX92-classified Mostragee Mogul Lauren. Brought out by Tommy and Mark Henry, a maternal sister to this powerful first-calver classified VG89 as a three-year-old.

Best of the embryo lots on offer was the last lot of the sale, with three eggs selling for 1,050gns each.

These eggs were from Leagh MS Doorman Katrysha, the only female from the family in Europe, with her granddam champion at the World Dairy Expo in 2015.

Sire of the embryos is Stantons Chief ET. This lot was offered for sale from Kerry-based Tim Fitzmaurice.

The sale was an outstanding success, but this was far from chance.

Trojan efforts

Trojan efforts in marketing and advertising for months leading up to last Saturday meant anyone with any interest in dairy cattle had the date saved.

The visually impressive catalogue was packed with an outstanding selection of deep-pedigreed females from some of Northern Ireland’s top pedigree dairy breeders.

These cattle were presented for sale in the highest of standards, with preparations taking place from early in the week.

Professional lighting and audio as each animal entered the ring added to the already buzzing atmosphere around the custom -built sales ring.

A big team of exhibitors and handlers on the night meant no stone went unturned and the entire proceedings went off without a hitch.

While undoubtedly the quality of stock on offer was the key to success, the way the sale was run certainly added a premium to the product.

This sale should be looked at as a prime example of what can be achieved when a group of like-minded people with a passion to succeed come together.