Walsh on the double in Offaly
A DONEGAL breeder maintained a long-running winning streak when recording a double success at the Irish Aubrac Cattle Breed Society Show and Sale at GVM Mart, Tullamore on Saturday.
John Walsh, Rockhill, Ballintra showed 18-month-old Ballintra Larissa to win the overall Championship of the show and the April 2016-born Ballintra Lea took Reserve Champion.
Both maiden heifers are by the same sire, Despagnou, with the Champion out of his herd dam Ballintra Fame and the Reserve out of Rockhill Bunty.
Auctioneer Tom Cox brought the hammer down at €3,200 for the Champion, while the Reserve Champion made €2,800. Both were purchased by Anthony Kerin, Miltown Malbay, Co Clare.
John Walsh also received the top price of the day in the in-calf heifer section when Ballintra Kaye sold for €3,000. The March 2015 born in-calf heifer — due to calve next February — is a full sister of the Champion of the show. His fourth entry was a January 2017 born heifer, Ballintra Madonna, which sold for €1,000.
But success is nothing new to the Ballintra herd, which has a trail of show successes, including championship awards six times within the past decade for the Aubrac breeder, who keeps a 50 head suckler cow herd and supplies the progeny to his very successful victualler business, EWS Butchers, based in Donegal town.
“The herd is all Aubrac because they are a very easy breed to manage and mature early at good carcase weights, which is also good for the butcher business,” he said.
The heifers are usually slaughtered at 500-550kg at 18-24 months and he says that “demand for the Aubrac beef is great”. “It is a very big seller with us — the customers love it,” he added.
James Donnellan, Chairman of the Irish Aubrac Cattle Breed Society, described the sale as “satisfactory”.
“The weather had some affect on the prices, but the bulls sold well — interest in the breed is continuing to spread,” he said.
The top price for a heifer calf was €1,800 for Hazelwood Mandy exhibited by William P Walsh of Ballintra, Co Donegal, while Kevin O’Brien of Turloughmore, Co Galway, received €1,500 for Turloughmore Lidia 2.
The highest price for a bull was paid for 19-month-old De Buitlier Lenny, winner of his class, sold by Francis Butler of Culvin Streete, Co Westmeath for €3,050.
One in three of the maiden heifers sold for between €2,000 and €3,000.
Evan Walsh (above), with the overall Reserve Champion and Champion at the Irish Aubrac Cattle Breed Society Show and Sale at Tullamore exhibited by his uncle, John Walsh, Rockhill, Ballintra, Co Donegal. They sold for a combined €6,000
Francis Butler (left) of Culvin Streete, Co Westmeath, with his first-prizewinning registered pedigree bull at the Irish Aubrac Cattle Breed Society Show and Sale