Breeders gear up for sales bonanza
More than 200 bulls listed over next two weekends as end-of-season sales across country bring difficult year to a close
Pedigree breed societies have catalogued in excess of 200 bulls for the end-of-season shows and sales to be held over the next two week-ends, which traditionally have been among the most successful of the autumn run for the vendors.
It will bring to a close a difficult season for breeders during which the trade for bulls at a number of the venues disappointed as the prices trailed 2017 sales by averages of €400-€700/hd, with clearances also down on last year and the leading prices of 2017 not achieved.
The heifers, in general, hit a higher note with the customers than the bulls. Some good prices were paid for the quality females, and interest from breeders in the good bloodlines was reflected in clearances close to 2017 at some of the centres.
The large entries for most of the shows and sales over the past few months has been indicative of the increase in the number of pedigree bulls on farms across most of the prime beef breeds.
Coupled with the deficit in fodder on farms across the country, commercial breeders were not anxious to add to their stocking at an early point in the season this year, and the combination of factors was a major contributor to the trend.
The good weather of recent months has drastically reduced the fear of a serious fodder shortage, which should benefit trade in the weeks and months ahead.
The end-of-season pedigree sales get under way on Friday evening when the Limousin society hold their final sale of the year at Tuam mart.
Fifty-two bulls and 10 heifers have been catalogued by the society from the membership for the show which takes place at 4.30pm, to be followed by the sale at 7pm.
Following the main sale, 10 mostly four and five-star heifers from the Shannon herd of Sarah McElligott at Asdee, Listowel, Co Kerry will be offered.
Sarah McElligott has been breeding some excellent stock in recent years. In 2017, the 17-month-old Shannon Keltic, with a terminal index value of €169 and a replacement index value of €144, sold for €5,400.
The previous year she received the top price of €4,600 for Shannon Jetro at the March Limousin Sale at Tullamore, and in 2014, Shannon Heineken changed hands at €3,400 among the leading animals bred in the herd.
The following day, Saturday, December 1, the Charolais Society hold their Christmas Cracker Show and Sale of bulls at Elphin Mart for which 101 bulls have been catalogued, and purchasers from Northern Ireland are being offered €100 towards transport costs as an incentive. Usually one of the most keenly watched sales of the year for the society, Donegal breeder Pat McClean topped the sale at €10,000 last year for Roughan Most, and went on to take home a superb average of €6,420 for five bulls sold from his Newtown Cunningham herd.
For Saturday's sale he is one of two breeders with four bulls entered. Roughan Nixon, Roughan Nial 2, and Roughan Norman 3, all heavily star starred, are the last three bulls in the catalogue and should keep potential customers in the ringside until the end of the sale.
The only other breeder, among the almost 70 herds from which the entry is drawn, having succeeded in having four bulls accepted into the sale is the well-known Louise Quinn from Edenderry, whose Charolais are usually up with the best and never far from contention as toppers in either the show ring or the sales ring. Quality is once again very much the hallmark of her entries.
On Saturday week, December 8, the Irish Angus Society hold their Elite Show and Sale at the Showgrounds, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim for which seventy bulls and three heifers are catalogued.
There is a cashback of €400 for the purchaser of the highest price bull and heifer on the day and €200 cashback for the purchaser of the second highest price animal in each category.
There are five breeders with four bulls each entered in the catalogue. They are all well known for consistently producing price leaders and show toppers for Angus Shows and Sales.
Included are local breeder Kevin Diffley from Bornacoola, Carrick-on-Shannon, Pat Harrison from Brideswell, Athlone, Nigel Peavoy from Coolrain, Portlaoise, Cathal and Joe McCormack from Tulsk, Castlerea, and Patrick Regan from Ballyfarna, Claremorris, Co Mayo.
Drumcrow Night Rider, bred and exhibited by Frank McKiernan from Ballinagh, Co Cavan topped the trade last year for his champion of the show at €7,000.
Second highest price was €5,100 paid for 20-month-old All-Ireland Champion Bull at Strokestown earlier in the season, exhibited by Anthony Scanlon from Carnaree, Ballymote, Co Sligo.
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