Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Five elite embryos fetch over €5,000

Irish breeders compete with online bidders at Limousin auction

An embryo out of Kilcor Frostie, from North East Limousin club secretary Noel Gill’s Monaghan herd, sold for €1,010. The embryo is the exact same mating as Kilcor Iceman (pictured) by sire Fieldson Alfy.
An embryo out of Kilcor Frostie, from North East Limousin club secretary Noel Gill’s Monaghan herd, sold for €1,010. The embryo is the exact same mating as Kilcor Iceman (pictured) by sire Fieldson Alfy.

Martin Ryan

Overseas breeders joined in the fray at a Limousin auction that saw pedigree farmers pay over €5,300 for five embryos from elite bloodlines.

There was good competition among Irish breeders and those joining in the bidding online for the embryos at a lively auction by the North East Limousin Club that saw the top price of €1,320 paid for an embryo from the well-known Millbrook herd of William Smith from Oldcastle, Co Meath.

The embryo out of Millbrook Ginger Spice, a three-time Interbreed Champion at Balmoral Show, was mated with Ampertaine Elgin, a quality bloodline combination that attracted huge interest in the opportunity to purchase the unique embryo at the auction and social night in Lakeside Manor, Virginia on Friday night.

After a very lively round of bidding, with Irish breeders competing with online bidders from the UK, the embryo was purchased by an Irish breeder.

The second highest price was paid for an embryo out of Hilltop Francis, mated with Wilodge Cerberus, from the herd of Thomas Murphy from Mullagh, Co Clare, which sold for €1,255.

An embryo out of Newtown Emma the All-Ireland Champion Calf in 2009 and a highly-rated Wilodge Vantastic daughter out of the famous cow Castleview Rub sold for €830.

Rub is one of the most successful breeding cows in the Irish Herdbook over the past 1 0 years. This embryo was mated with the famous Ronick Hawk.

An embryo mated with Ampertaine Gigolo and out of Claragh Ione, a Broadmeadows Cannon daughter out of Haltcliffe Avon, mother of Claragh Franco that sold for £22,000, and Claragh Lily, the Junior Interbreed Champion at Balmoral 2016, sold for €960.

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An embryo out of Kilcor Frostie, from club secretary Noel Gill's Monaghan herd, sold for the next highest price at €1,010. The embryo is the exact same mating as Kilcor Iceman with sire Fieldson Alfy, which added to the appeal.

Kilcor Frostie is the dam of Kilcor Iceman, Champion Limousin at the Premier sale last year and sold for an Irish record price of €28,000 to Robert Graham Scotland.

Looking back, Noel recalls he was thrilled to have bred a champion of the breed and top price bull for the Limousin Premier sale of 2015 although he confessed he "wasn't getting a cent of the money".

"I had sold him as a calf after he was weaned and it was the man who purchased him that got the €28,000," said Noel, who keeps a small pedigree herd of eight cows on his 80ac farm at Braddox, Co Monaghan, where the commercial store animals are the main enterprise.

"I like to sell everything lucky and well and I was delighted to see that he got on so well. I got a very good price for him at the time, so good luck to the man who bought him. He did very well with him and I sold some embryos as a result of that too. I have no regrets. It was good for me too," he added.

Gerard Davies, Castlebrock, had purchased the bull as a weanling and brought him to the sale at Roscrea in March 2015 where after brisk bidding he was destined for a renown herd at Stirling following the fall of the auctioneer's hammer at €28,000.

The champion of the show on the day was purchased by Robert Graham for his well-known Grahams pedigree herd at Airthrey Kerse Farm, Bridge of Allan, Stirling, UK.

Kilcor Iceman, a Fieldson Alfy son, out of a Rocky-bred dam, Kilcor Frostie, was described as "a very powerful bull with extreme muscle and superb conformation, as well as excellent locomotion".


He carried five-star ratings in terminal index, docility, carcase weight and carcase conformation, and had already made a name for himself in the show ring, winning the overall calf championship at the 2014 North East calf finals in Carnaross.

The breeding line of Iceman went back to Stone Circle Bluebell purchased by Noel Gill from a breeder in Northern Ireland to become one of the foundation stock of his pedigree herd and granddam of Iceman.

"She was the best cow I ever had. She produced great progeny. She did not leave me even an average calf in her lifetime - they were all exceptionally good," he said. "I had planned to flush her last year, but difficulties developed at her calving and unfortunately we lost her, despite the best veterinary efforts to save her."

However, she did leave him with four heifers, one of which is the dam of Kilcor Iceman, but he would have liked to have more progeny from such an exceptional animal.

He is flushing her daughter to produce embryos, for which there is strong demand from breeders. "It is a good way to ensure that you get a number of calves off the good cows," he pointed out.

"They (dams) need to be fairly good for flushing. The number of eggs harvested can vary from none on a worst scale scenario to maybe up to 15 on a very good day. On average it is good to get half that number of embryos.

"There is a good bit of cost involved with the embryos, but if it goes well it makes it worthwhile for to flush the good cows," he said, adding they use the Cavan-based Bovi Genetics for the process.

The market value of the embryos can vary widely depending on the breeding, ranging from a few hundred euros for a good one to up to €1,000 for an exceptional combination of breeding, which is rare.

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