Ballybay mart held its first ever ‘Ballybay Beef Festival’, alongside its weekly sale of cattle, on Saturday (December 5). From the 528 lots of cattle on offer, 142 head of these were entered in the pre-sale show of commercial cattle.

Farmers travelled from near and far for the special sale it seems, as there were buyers and sellers from 23 counties in action – with also one UK purchaser from Leeds acquiring cattle.

In total there were seven classes up for judication by Sammy Allister, with the overall commercial championship being awarded to local farmer David Addair.

This two-year-old Belgian Blue bred bullock topped the trade by selling for €2,850 on the day.

The reserve champion also went to a Belgian Blue bred bullock, which later went on to sell for €2,600.

Speaking on the trade, mart manager Adrian Grimes explained: “It was our first day back at ringside under Level 3 restrictions and there was a sense of normality starting to reappear; although some farmers continued to bid online.

There was huge demand for factory-fit cattle with a large number of factory agents, exporters and butchers present at the ringside.

“It was evident throughout the sale that our northern customers were only interested in factory-fit cattle – as they await the pending Brexit deal to confirm their faith of purchasing stores from the south of Ireland.”


There was a “notable increase” in the demand for Angus and Hereford bullocks and heifers on Saturday, as they sold from €1.98-2.20/kg, according to Adrian.

Sample bullock prices:

  • Charolais: 770kg – €2,280 or €2.96/kg;
  • Charolais: 790kg – €2,180 or €2.75/kg;
  • Limousin: 905kg – €2,340 or €2.58/kg;
  • Limousin: 910kg – €2,600 or €2.85/kg;
  • Simmental: 650kg – €1,660 or €2.55/kg.

Sample heifer prices:

  • Charolais: 500kg – €1,480 or €2.96/kg;
  • Charolais: 440kg – €1,490 or €2.95/kg;
  • Limousin: 600kg – €1,650 or €2.75/kg;
  • Limousin: 400kg – €1,320 or €3.30/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 410kg – €1,520 or €3.70/kg.

In the weanling ring, continental bull weanlings were selling at €2.45/kg up to €2.72/kg; meanwhile, heifers were achieving €2.56/kg up to €2.92/kg.

Sample weanling prices:

  • Belgian Blue: 300kg – €1,200 or €4.00/kg;
  • Belgian Blue: 420kg – €1,600 or €3.80/kg;
  • Limousin: 365kg – €1,500 or €4.10/kg;
  • Charolais: 415kg – €1,480 or €3.56/kg;
  • Charolais: 340kg – €1,000 or €2.94/kg.

There were a large number of dry cows on offer, with more forward and factory-fit cows trading from €1.98-2.20/kg. Friesian cows were selling at €1.30/kg upwards to €1.42/kg.

Sample dry cow prices:

  • Charolais: 780kg – €1,960 or €2.51/kg;
  • Charolais: 680kg – €1,780 or €2.61/kg;
  • Limousin: 790kg – €1,960 or €2.48/kg;
  • Limousin: 650kg – €1,680 or €2.58/kg;
  • Hereford: 750kg – €1,720 or €2.29/kg.

From the selection of calves available, strong Simmental and Hereford calves traded from €260-355/head.

Adrian highlighted that there was a “strong farmer demand” for strong Angus bull and heifer calves which sold for €175/head to €245/head.