Three herdowners – Tom Corbett, Niall Barrett and Keith Brehony – have joined forces to host one of Ireland’s largest maiden heifer sales at Elphin Mart tomorrow night (Friday, October 22nd, 2021).
Approximately 140 hand-picked high-end maiden heifers will come under the hammer at 7pm at the Roscommon-based venue.
Speaking to That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, one of the farmers, Tom Corbett, Headford, County Galway, said:
“My father and I were initially suckler farmers; however, as a result of work commitments, we switched to buying heifers to sell as replacements, slaughtering inferior types.”
“After attending numerous mart sales, I identified a need in the market for quality breeding heifers.”
“As a result, I began sourcing weanling heifers nationwide and officially held my first sale last year, in conjunction with another farmer.”
Maiden heifer sale
Tom sources good quality weanlings – both in livestock marts and directly off-farms nationwide, but predominately from the west of Ireland – from some of the country’s top suckler farmers.
When sourcing weanling heifers, he focuses on physical appearance, quality, style, power, maternal traits, colour, docility, structural soundness and femininity.
He said the primary goal is to offer, for sale, a good breeding female that will breed a good-quality saleable calf every year that commands a premium price.
“Along with this, she too will have a high sale value when she is a cull. Based on current cull cow prices, they are well capable of replacing themselves. Our sale’s purpose is to push better quality breeding females that produce better quality calves that farmers will get more money for at the end of the day.”
“We believe in quality over quantity, especially with the way things are going with environmental changes and legislation.”
“If a case arises where farmers cannot farm as many cattle, what they should do is have good quality cattle that will have good calves and possibly, leave them with more money. There is high demand for good quality stock.”
“Farming is a business at the end of the day. There is a major difference between a good calf and an ordinary calf. Getting €600-€700 for weanlings will not lead to sustainable farming.”
Maiden heifer sale: Choice, viewing and bidding
He said this year’s selection of heifers have the potential to breed show-type calves or top-end commercial weanlings.
The consignment comprises Charolais-crosses, Limousin-crosses, Belgian Blue-crosses and Simmental-crosses.
Heifers range mainly from 500kgs-650kgs, are mainly from 18-26-months, are scanned correct for breeding and are export-tested.
Prospective purchasers can view all entries in Elphin Mart from 3 pm onwards tomorrow. The sale will commence at 7 pm – online and ringside bidding available.
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