The Northern Ireland Commercial Cattle Exhibitors Club held its highly anticipated Stars of the Future calf show in Ballymena Livestock Market on Saturday, 10 February.

A huge crowd of spectators saw just under 70 calves go through the show and sales ring with the pre-sale show being judged by Louise Ballantyne.

Securing the top price on the day was an August 2023-born Limousin-cross heifer from the herd of Brendan and Oliver O’Hare, Fortfield Pepper.

The very sweet black heifer calf was sired by Huntershall Rosco and was bred from an Empire cow. She secured the Overall Limousin Championship and the Supreme Championship before securing the sale topping price of £6,500 (€7,616.77) when auctioneer Callum Patterson dropped the hammer to well-known breeder, Gareth Corrie.

The O’Hares continued their successful streak in the sales ring when their second entry, a Limousin-cross breeding heifer also born in August 2023 secured the second highest price of the sale.

The perfectly marked black and white heifer was a maternal half-sister to the top priced calf and was sired by Elite Ice Cream and she was also bred from an Empire cow.

This time the purchase was made by Conor McVeigh of MCV Promotions for £5,000 (€5,858.95).

Selling for the next highest price of £4,200 (€4,921.52) was the very sweet Charolais champion and reserve supreme champion heifer from the herd of Shane Doyle from Kilkeel. The September 2023-born golden heifer, Chancy Lady, was sired by Anside Foreman, out of a Limousin cow and sold to Robert Workman.

Continuing with the long line of champions, it was the breeding heifer champion Blue Jean, from the herd of Richie Law, that secured the next highest price of £4,000 (€4,687.16).

The blue roan Limousin-cross heifer, sired by a Limousin stock bull, battled with just shy of 20 other heifers before she was selected by Louise as the champion. She later sold to Conor McVeigh, MCV Promotions.

Keeping with the breeding heifers, Sean Paul Slane from Carrickfergus secured the next highest price of the sale with his February 2023-born Limousin-cross heifer.

Sired by the renowned Jaegerbomb, this well-muscled heifer sold for £3,900 (€4,569.98) to the Hughes family.

Brendan O'Hare, pictured with his Limousin-cross heifer, that sold for the second highest price of £5,000. \ Shanon Kinahan

Notable Prices

Saturday’s sale met a 70% clearance, with 10 heifers achieving from £3,000 (€3,515.37) to £6,500 (€7,616.77). Conor Magee achieved £3,800 (€4,452.80) for his July 2023-born Limousin-cross breeding heifer, Richard McKeown from Newtownards secured the next highest price of £3,500 (€4,101.27) for his beef Shorthorn heifer born in June 2023. Alan Veitch from Co Fermanagh was next to strike in the top price round-up when his reserve champion Limousin-cross breeding heifer sold to Martin Tumilty for £3,400 (€3,984.09).

Veitch was followed by Keith and Stephen Williamson from Benburb, who secured the next best of £3,200 (€3,749.73) for their first prize-winning, July-born, Limousin bull calf. Fergal Gormley from Claudy had the final lot to clear the £3,000 mark, when his April 2023-born reserve Limousin champion heifer sold for £3,000 even.

The young black heifer was sired by Dollar and was bred from an Empire cow. She sold once again to Conor McVeigh.

Richie Law and purchaser Conor McVeigh, of MCV Promotions, pictured with the breeding heifer champion that sold for €4,000. \ Shanon Kinahan