The Salers Cattle Society held their 13th annual commercial heifer sale in Gort Mart, Co. Galway on Saturday last, 20th October. Current woes in the suckler sector did not hinder what was a very successful sale, with quality lots meeting strong demand on the day.

First into the ring were the weanling heifers with over sixty on offer. Some notable prices included two heifers weighing 355kg which made €980 and one at 350kg which made €1050. The weanlings averaged just over €800 with some lighter lots bringing down the average. The top price in the weanling section was €1330 for the first prize winner in the section owned by Mr. Tom McGreal, Westport, Co. Mayo. The second placed weanling heifer was owned by Mr. Willie Cahir, Co. Clare. She was sold as part of a pair which weighed 300kg and made €870.

In the maiden heifer section there were just over forty animals on offer. Again, quality lots met with strong demand, with three or more bidders on several lots. Some notable prices included the first placed heifer, owned by Oliver and Martin Kerins, Ballymote, Co. Sligo, which weighed 475kg and made €1620 and the second placed heifer owned by Mr. David Walsh which weighed 415kg and fetched €1680 in the ring.

There were thirty in-calf heifers on offer which sold to an average of just under €1650. The first placed heifer was owned by Mr. Séamus Nagle, Doolin, Co. Clare. In-calf to a Salers bull and due on 10th December, she fetched €2200 in the ring. The second placed heifer was owned by Mr. P.J. Mason. She also made €2200.

In the halter-led pedigree section, first place went to a 20 month old maiden heifer owned by Declan Bell, Clarecastle, Co. Clare. Out of a homebred cow, Ballyvonnavaun Janice and by Manusmore Norris, she made €2500. Second place went to Oliver and Martin Kerins, Co. Sligo for a 19 month old maiden heifer. She made €1880.

Overall, demand for good quality heifers was strong with buyers present from right across the country, including Northern Ireland. The majority of buyers were seeking well-grown heifers with a good frame, with a view to crossing with a terminal Charolais bull. When crossed with Charolais, the Salers will produce golden coloured calves with excellent skeletal development and vigour. These weanlings and stores are proving very saleable, thus the keen interest in Salers and Salers cross heifers as replacements. The calving ability of the Salers cow and her ability to go back in calf are also key factors driving her popularity.