Hereford premier sale

John Conlon from Markethill with his Drumatee herd which was judged top Hereford herd in Northern Ireland and runner-up in the UK National competition
John Conlon from Markethill with his Drumatee herd which was judged top Hereford herd in Northern Ireland and runner-up in the UK National competition

At this time of year local Hereford Breeders are focussed on preparations for one of the big events on the Hereford calendar – the Premier Show and Sale in Dungannon mart.

This is the major sale for the Hereford Breeders Association and offers the biggest and best selection of young Hereford sires each year.

Some of the quality females which earned second place in the UK herds competition for John Conlon

Some of the quality females which earned second place in the UK herds competition for John Conlon

With just over a week to go to the big event - bulls have been washed, haltered and are being trained to present themselves to good advantage in the show ring.

With 31 bulls catalogued, association chairman, Adrian Irvine is pleased with the entry.

He said: “Our breeders are responding to the increased demand for Hereford bulls. We have seen a 300% increase in the numbers of Hereford sired calves born in the province since 2010 and the throughput of the Hereford beef schemes has increased by 400% over the same period.

“This is driving the growth in popularity of the breed as a terminal sire in commercial beef and dairy herds and our breeders are stepping up to the challenge – producing more good, growthy bulls to meet the demand.”

Cill Cormack Nevada, herd sire in the Drumatee herd was  judged best stock bull in the Northern Ireland Herds competition

Cill Cormack Nevada, herd sire in the Drumatee herd was judged best stock bull in the Northern Ireland Herds competition

This year’s offering includes some stars of the 2018 show season - plus many which have impressive performance figures as well as distinguished pedigrees behind them.

Four of the bulls catalogued are eligible for the Hereford Society’s Superior Carcass incentive.

These are bulls which demonstrate exceptional performance in terms of growth and carcass traits, measured through the breed’s recording scheme and purchasers can claim £5 per calf (up to 100 calves) from the society on their progeny.

The pre-sale weighing and a thorough veterinary inspection ensures that all bulls are up to breed standard for growth and are sound, functional breeding animals.

A young bull calf with its mother in the Drumatee herd near Markethill

A young bull calf with its mother in the Drumatee herd near Markethill

“Many of the long established herds are represented in the line-up but the resurgence of interest in the Hereford has brought an influx of new breeders and some of them are staking their claim to be major influencers of the breed in the future,” says Adrian.

One such breeder is John Conlon from Markethill who is consigning two bulls to the sale.

John purchased his first Hereford just eight years ago and his Drumatee herd has been developed with the addition of some of the best bloodlines from across the British Isles.

The herd has enjoyed considerable success – winning the Northern Ireland herd competition in 2018 and going on to take second place in the competition for best Hereford herd in the UK.