Balla Mart was once again the location for Walter Brennan’s annual in-calf heifer sale, now in its 16th year.
The sale has garnered strong support, with Walter having been one of the first farmers to specialise in producing high-end in-calf heifers for suckler farmers.
A total of 46 Belgian Blue, Limousin, Charolais and Simmental-cross heifers went under the hammer of auctioneer Ray Clarke, with a full clearance witnessed on the night.
A jammed ringside saw bidders active from the floor, while online bids also filtered through the Martbids system.
All heifers on the night were scanned in-calf to either AI or the herd stock bull.
Known easy calving and high star-rated AI sires such as LM2014, EBY, Powerful Proper and Tweedale Lennox were used across the heifers, with some sexed female semen among this.
The herd stock bull is sired by LM2014 and has five stars within and across breeds for maternal and terminal traits, qualifying him for the SCEP scheme.
Many of the heifers on offer on the night were genotyped and ranked four or five stars, making them eligible replacements for farmers requiring females for SCEP.
The top price of the night was a May 2021-born Limousin-cross heifer which weighed in at 775kg.
She scanned in-calf to a sexed female straw of Bova AI bull Loyal.
After a flurry of online and ringside bids, the heifer was eventually knocked down at a record price for Balla Mart of €7,200. The top price for last year’s sale was €5,250.
In total, five heifers sold for over €5,000, with an additional five selling for between €4,000 and €4,999.
Over half the heifers on offer on the night (26) sold for between €3,000 and €3,999, with the remaining 10 heifers selling for below €3,000. The average of the sale came to €3,543/ head.
Increasing calf quality
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Balla Mart manager Stephen Hannon noted how the quality of calves and demand for high-end calves has increased in the past few years.
“There are exporters and farmers alike looking for quality U-grading Charolais and Limousin-cross calves.
“While farmers around here might be scaling back in numbers, they are improving the quality of their cow and the weanling they are producing, with sales of quality heifers like these important to maintain the quality of suckler cows.”