It was well into the early hours of Tuesday morning (November 29) when Co. Mayo man Chris Meehan’s 330kg Belgian Blue-cross heifer took the top price of the 2022 Winter Fair at Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.
The heifer was sure to attract significant interest in the sale as she was awarded the Belgian Blue Junior Champion title in the show, which took place on Sunday (November 27).
Weighing in at 331kg, the May 2022-born heifer was a superb example of a commercial Belgian Blue heifer and this was reflected in the price achieved.
After entering the ring, the heifer quickly sailed into €12,800 and stalled there for some time.
Auctioneer Eamonn Gaffney reminded bidders of the €250 luck penny and added “there was a cow to go along with the heifer”.
On hearing this, the heifer quickly moved into her final price of €14,500 and the hammer fell to a round of applause from the huge crowd.
Despite the heifer selling at just before 2:20a.m, as the video above, (taken by Tricia Kennedy) suggests, there was still a large crowd in attendance.
Second top price
The second-highest price on the night was secured by Pearse Mc Namee from Convoy, Co. Donegal for his Junior Limousin Champion heifer. Weighing 325kg, the heifer sold for €12,800.
Earlier this month, McNamee secured €10,100 for a weanling heifer at the special sale of Elite Haltered Cattle at Balleybofey and Stranorlar Co-operative Livestock Mart.
It was a cracking day out for Co. Leitrim man Cian McGloin. His two Belgian Blue-cross (BBx) heifers took first and second place in the the BBx female under-450kg class, before going on to take the Reserve Junior Champion award too.
His second entry in the sale was Lot 456. Sired by Solway View Dynamite (S1109), this heifer sold for €12,200.
In before this heifer was Lot 455, also the property of Cian McGloin. This heifer was sired by the same bull and sold for €11,400.
Interestingly, the event was attended by huge numbers of young people both, male and female.
While suckler farming is generally linked to an older generation, the crowd profile at the 2022 Winter Fair would indicate a resurgence in popularity among young people in breeding and showing E and U-grade type commercial cattle.
The final heifer entered the ring shortly after 3:00a.m. Despite the late nature of the sale, the third-last heifer into the ring was a 313kg Belgian Blue cross heifer belonging to Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim man Joseph Logan.
She sold for €4,800, showing the strength of the sale even so late into the night.
Agriland understands that approximately 420 cattle were entered in the sale which began at 11:00a.m and drew to a close at 3:10a.m – making it 16 hours of non-stop selling.