A LAHINCH farming family have achieved their highest-ever weanling prices.

At the final Gort Co-opeative Livestock Mart cattle sale of 2021, the Hayes family earned €7,200 for a 430kg Belgian Blue-sired heifer from a pedigree Limousin dam. The heifer was purchased from the Joyce family of Galway with another heifer which made €7,180 also at the same sale. He also sold another homebred-heifer on the night at €3,400.

Tony sells his progeny at Gort Co-operative Livestock Mart and Ennis Mart, weighing 400-500kgs at 9-12-months. Their weanlings averaged between €1,350 and €1,360 in 2020, their top price was €3,000 with €2,900 the best figure the year previous. He said they have sixteen heifers and ten bulls left to sell over the coming months.

He farms forty five acre enterprise with his father Peadar, mother Joan and brother Brendan. Their 35-cow suckler herd comprises mainly Limousin-cross-Belgian Blue alongside some Simmentals, Charolais-crosses, and Parthenaises. The Hayes’ traditionally strived to breed a plainer-type Limousin cow with first and second-cross genetics from a dairy herd. The family uses 90% of AI on their herd, beginning in March and utilise a Limousin stock bull to mop up until June.

According to the Pallaskenry Agricultural College graduate, “breeding heifers are gone out of control last year and they are very expensive”. He noted, “Some people have lost interest in farming, and there are only a certain amount of younger farmers coming on”. Accolades won by Tony at agricultural shows include the overall commercial champion title at Corrandulla Show, the female commercial champion silverware at Charleville Show, and second and third place at the All-Ireland suckler heifer championships in Swinford, County Mayo.

Tony assists 35% of calvings and uses calving cameras to monitor cows and also checks them regularly. The herd achieves a 375-day calving interval using teaser bulls, a synchronisation programme with heifers and culling non-performing cows.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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