Weak demand hits maiden suckler heifer sale
Genotyped 4-star and 5-star registered commercial heifers, offering farmers participating in the BDGP scheme the potential for upgrading to meet the qualifying base standards, met with weak demand at a special sale at Ballybay Mart, Co Monaghan on Saturday.
The heifers, many of them bred from leading AI continental breed sires and coming from Farmer Discussion Group farms in the area, averaged €1,000.
With clearance at 65pc, the sixth annual maiden suckler heifer sale, organised under the auspices of Teagasc, failed to live up to expectations.
The top price was €1,200 and the second highest price heifer to change hands fetched €1,160. The initiative, with the dual objective of providing a market outlet for surplus quality bred heifers from suckler farms in the area and an opportunity for breeders to purchase well-bred stock, was co-ordinated by Mairead Kirk, a Teagasc beef advisor in Co Monaghan.
"This is the only sale of genotyped heifers in Ireland this spring," she said. "It should be of real interest to farmers who need to buy genotyped 4-star or 5-star heifers to meet the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) requirements."
The heifers entered were from 11 suckler farms in the area, who are members of four Teagasc Suckler Beef Discussion Groups.
The entry featured 30 heifers - genotyped 4-star and 5-star - with an average maternal rating of €133. The top heifer for sale had a maternal rating of €160.
The heifer was sired by Limousin bull Castleview Gazelle (ZAG); her dam was sired by Charolais bull Fiston (FSZ).
More than half the entry were bred from such well-known AI bulls as Castleview Gazelle (ZAG); On-Dit (ONI); Hauteclair (HCA); Seaview Tommy (SEV); Rio (RIO); Highfield Odran (SA2153); Fiston (FSZ).
All of the breeding heifers on offer had been scanned not in-calf and suitable for breeding by Dr Dan Ryan.
The sale, assisted by Ballybay Mart, had grown from strength to strength over the past five years, with repeat buyers from throughout the country returning year-on-year to avail of the opportunity to purchase top-quality suckler breeding stock for their herds.
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