Large numbers of freshly-calved dairy heifers and young cows, born in the Republic of Ireland, are being purchased by Northern buyers, according to a Co. Monaghan livestock auctioneer.

Sean Greenan, manager of Ballybay Livestock Mart said the mart can’t keep up with demand.

“We launched a monthly export sale in September and it’s going from strength, both in terms of the stock numbers entered and the buyers attending on the day.

“Northern buyers are turning out in strength looking for good quality, freshly-calved animals with an ability to put large volumes of milk into the bulk tank. They are not in the market for maidens or animals that are well off calving.”

Sean pointed out that considerable numbers of calved heifers are coming on to the market at the present time.

“Quite a number of dairy farmers in the Republic had bred up additional heifers with the prospect of increasing milk output once quotas disappear. But with the prospect for milk prices in 2015 looking so poor, many of these producers have decided to sell a number of these animals, particularly those that are calving out-of season.

“Prices for breeding stock at our export sales have ranged from €1,300 up to €2,200. Most of the animals we sell come from the Monaghan/Cavan area. But we have received inquiries from dairy farmers in Cork, looking to sell breeding stock. Our next export sale is on Wednesday, December 17, with monthly sales to follow in the New Year.”

Sean also confirmed that demand for Irish breeding stock from dairy farmers in Britain remains strong.

“Many of these producers have yet to fully re-stock in the wake of Foot-and-Mouth Disease. And they are particularly keen on the smaller type of cow available in Ireland, given her ability to produce good volumes of milk from grazed grass,” he said.