On Saturday 8 June, cattle enthusiasts looked on in awe as the first JALEX Select sale of 2024 took place on farm and online in Randalstown, Co Antrim.

In what was one of the biggest and best commercial sales held by James Alexander himself, it smashed new records for commercial cow and calf pairs, the UK record for a commercial bull and the highest commercial sale average in the UK.

Customers and spectators travelled from the UK and Ireland by car, rail, sea and air to witness over 44 lots sell above the £5,000 (€5,910) mark and eight lots sell for over £8,000 (€9,455).

Leading the way was a classy line up of commercial heifers with 135 scanned maiden and in-calf lots averaging an impressive £3,755.51 (€4,438.64). The heifer trade was topped by an in-calf January 2021 born heifer, Molly. Molly was a result of a cross between two hugely impressive sires, Ampertaine Foreman and Imperial and was herself in-calf to The Grove Farm P381. Molly sold carrying a heifer due to calve in September for an incredible £18,000 (€21,274).

Cow and calf pairs

Selling for £14,000 (€16,547) was a super show quality heifer sired by Fieldson Alfy. This Limousin-cross heifer sold as a maiden for the second highest heifer price of the day.

Next best in the heifer section was another Imperial daughter, aptly names ‘Weapon’. The January 2021-born heifer was sold carrying a heifer calf to Limousin stock bull Corcamore Romeo for £10,000 (€11,819).

The cow and calf pairs were definitely one of the main attractions at Saturday’s sale with one super unit following the other. Seventy-eight pairs sold to an average of £4,534.87 (€5,359.76) while the top priced unit achieved another class act price of £11,000 (€13,000). The April 2021-born Belgian Blue-cross heifer, Gabriela was sold with her March born Corcamore Romeo daughter at foot.

Next to top the charts was a June 2021-born Belgian Blue-cross heifer who had previously enjoyed plenty of success on the show circuit. The first calver sold with her Romeo bull calf at foot for £9,200 (€10,873).

Not too far away from this flashy first calver was yet another first calver who was described by James as “one of today's top picks”. The blue heifer was April-2021 born and sold for £8,800 (€10,400) with her March-born Romeo calf at foot.

Male section

In keeping with the usual trends of JALEX Select sales, there was also a small offering of top quality bulls on offer at Saturday’s sale with the four lots averaging a massive £6,700 (€7,918.73).

Tiny by name but not by nature, the top price of the day for commercial bulls was an Anside Foreman son that sold for £14,000 (€16,547). James told the large crowds of the almost 10,000 calves born on the farm to date, this is one of the best he’s ever seen. The March-2023 born bull found his new home in Co Fermanagh.