A Westmeath breeder showed the ‘crème de la crème’ Charolais of the year when his 14-month-old bull topped the Irish Charolais Cattle Society Christmas Crackers sale at Elphin Mart on Saturday.
An export buyer paid €16,600 for Lisnagree Peder from the herd of Jim Geoghegan, of Lisnagree, Streamstown, Mullingar, after a combination of ringside and online bids.
The crack of Tom Cox’s hammer recorded a new record price for the Christmas Crackers sale and the highest-price Charolais of 2020, after a phenomenal run of autumn sale prices for the breed.
The leading price topped the 2019 sale by more than €5,000, and overall this year’s sale was described as “the best ever” despite the challenging time for all breed societies, due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
Demand from export buyers boosted the trade, with 14 sold for export to Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK, including three of the four leading-price bulls finding their new homes outside of the country.
The sale had its largest ever turnout of bulls at 107, recording an average price of €4,717 — up €500 on 2019 — although the 69pc clearance was back on last year.
A first-time ‘cash-back’ of €400 provided by the society for the buyers of the first 20 bulls to exceed €4,500 got the sale off to a lively start.
While there were patches of the four-and-a-half hour sale when the prices eased back, the quality bulls were still being keenly sought after and the sale finished strongly, with Jon Regan’s Liscally Pied Piper, from the herd at Tawley, Castlegal, Co Leitrim selling for €8,400, the fifth highest price of the day.
Jim Geoghegan has built up a big reputation for his herd and October 2019-born Lisnagre Peder, which topped the sale by a wide margin, was bred by the well-known sire Pirate and out of home-bred dam Lisnagre Linda, with Jupiter genes in her pedigree.
In second place was the 15-month-old Garracloon Phil, exhibited by Aiden Mac Hale of Knockanillaun, Ballina, Co Mayo and sold for €9,600 to an export buyer.
Another Pirate-bred bull, and out of herd dam Garracloon Carmel, he has a calving ease on beef cows of 6.1pc, which is just over half the breed average.
Third-highest price was €9,250 which was paid by former Munster IFA chairman Flor McCarthy, of Kenmare, for Bostonia Prettyboy, exhibited by Brendan Feeney, of Scurmore, Enniscrone, Co Sligo.
Martin Ryan, of Copperfield House, Cabra, Thurles, Co Tipperary — who showed the top overall Charolais of 2019 at €11,000 for his heifer Goldstar Osana and took home over €25,000 for four Goldstar heifers from the recent Elite Heifer sale — sold his 15-month bull Goldstar Pianoman for €8,750 to a Northern Ireland breeder.
His neighbour Matt Ryan was also in the money, selling two bulls from his Kilvilcorris herd at Borrisoleigh for €7,000 and €6,750, one of which went to an export home.
It was an overall exceptional trade for the breed on the back of the Elite Heifer sale, which set an all-time record for females of the breed, and their Premier Bull sale in October which also topped prior prices.