BYGONE DAYS: Bids reach £2,105 at Christmas beef sale at Allam’s Mart

The annual Christmas show and sale of beef cattle had been held during the week in Allam’s Mart reported Farming Life in December 1990.

Pictured at the annual Christmas show and sale of beef cattle which was held at Allam's Mart in Belfast in December 1990, is Stephen Smyth from Strabane with the supreme champion, a Charolais heifer. Picture: Farming Life/News Letter archives
Pictured at the annual Christmas show and sale of beef cattle which was held at Allam's Mart in Belfast in December 1990, is Stephen Smyth from Strabane with the supreme champion, a Charolais heifer. Picture: Farming Life/News Letter archives

The 67 heifers sold averaged £146.20 per 100kg; 61 steers averaged £143.39.

Auctioneer George Clegg told Farming Life: “The quality, especially in the heifer classes, was outstanding.”

HONOURS FOR THE CHAROLAIS BREED

Jim Sloan of Kilkeel with the Ulster Housewife's Choice, a pedigree Belgian Blue heifer pictured at the annual Christmas show and sale of beef cattle which was held at Allam's Mart in Belfast in December 1990. Picture: Farming Life/News Letter archives

The Charolais breed again took the honours at the Christmas show and sale. Bringing out the champion was Stephen Smyth from Victoria Bridge, Strabane, who helped his father on the home farm, but also had an off-farm job.

Stephen had bought 
his Charolais heifer as a suckled calf in the sales the previous year and even felt she would make a good 
entry for the Christmas show.

However, she did not get any special treatment, but was in the house on slats with the rest of the Smyth’s commercial cattle the previous winter and went to grass with them in the spring.

Four months before the show, Stephen did start to give her meal and she weighed in on the day of the sale at 620kg.

Pictured at the annual Christmas show and sale of beef cattle which was held at Allam's Mart in Belfast in December 1990, is Benny Robinson from Benburb, who is seen holding the reserve champion. The animal, a Belgian Blue, was exhibited by Benny's sister-in-law Pamela Robinson, also from Benburb. Picture: Farming Life/News Letter archives

Stephen told Farming Life: “She put on exactly one kilo per day. But it is a feature of the Charolais breed . . .to put on flesh quickly.”

The attraction in the judge’s eyes, and he had come all the way from France to carry out his task, was her ability to carry her weight.

He pointed out that there were a lot of animals which had put on a lot of weight, but could hardly walk.

He said: “The champion is a well-fleshed animal that can walk smartly and good on her legs.”

New Ulster Agricultural and Forestry Minister Jeremy Hanley, left of the picture, choosing his own Christmas tree at Belvoir Forest Park on the edge of Belfast in December 1990. He is being advised on the right tree by John McEwan, timber marketing officer with the Forestry Service. Picture: Eddie Harvey/Farming Life/News Letter archives

REPUTATION FOR QUALITY

One could hardly say that Bangor butcher David Mawhinney had got a bargain, for he paid £325 per 100kg to buy the champion.

He agreed that it was not a realistic price, but explained: “If the right animal wins at Allam’s we will purchase it.

“We might have to pay over the odds, but it reinforces our image of quality.

“We have a policy of buying the best and selling the best and a number of our regular customers know that we very often buy a champion for Christmas.

“Already they have booked roasts and other cuts from this animal.

“It is our Christmas speciality which reinforces our reputation for quality.”

Mr Mawhinney told Farming Life that he found red meat sales as buoyant as ever, pointing out that they suited the trend for more naturally produced food being produced from grass.

He said that his champion was “the perfect beast with excellent conformation and the right amount of cover”.

He concluded that cuts from the champion would be displayed in his shop window in Bangor during Christmas week.

AWARDS AND PRICES

Baby Simmental heifer: 1, D Duffin, Randalstown, 510kg, £202 (£1,030,20); 2, Hy Hillis, Ballymena, 510kg, £141 (£719.10); 3, Alan Leckey, Castlederg, 520kg, £141 (£733.20).

Baby Charolais heifer: F O Smyth, Strabane, 620kg, £325 (£2,105); 2, Mrs Anne McCrea, Coagh, 600kg, £129 (£774); 3, B Mullan and Sons, Coleraine, 540kg, £141 (£777.60).

Baby Limousin heifer: 1, Simon Allen, Benburb, 550kg £156 (£858); 2, Eric McCrea, Stewartstown, unsold; 3, Joe Redmond, Loughgall, 520kg, £142 (£738.40); highly commended, Hy Hillis, Ballymena, 510kg, £140 (£714).

Baby heifer, any other breed: 1, Joe Redmond, Loughgall, 580kg, £170 (£985); 2, Joe Redmond, 570kg, £166 (£946.20); 3, Alan Leckey, Castlederg, 550kg, £150 (£825).

Simmental heifer, with incisors: 1, Stephen Williamson, Benburb, 570kg, £160 (£912).

Charolais heifer, with incisors: 1, Stephen Williamson, Benburb, 710kg, £150 (£1,065); 2, B Mullan and Sons, Coleraine, 690kg, £140, (£966); 3, R P McCrea, Strabane, 700kg, £142 (£994).

Limousin heifer, with incisors: 1, Simon Allen, Benburb, 720kg, £143 (£1,029,60); 2, W and F Hill, Randalstown, 590kg, £134 (£790.60); 3, D and V Clinton, Ardglass, 540kg, £134 (£723.60).

Blonde d’Aquitaine heifer, any age: 1, Simon Allen, Benburb, 540kg, £140 (£756); 2, John Henry, Crumlin, 500kg, £153 (£765); 3, B Mullan and Sons, Coleraine, 510kg, £127 (£647.70).

Heifer, any other breed, with incisors: 1, Frank Taggart, Ballymena, 740kg, £142 (£1,050.80); 2, Declan McKenna, Clogher, 780kg, £147 (£1,146.60); 3, Frank Taggart, 740kg, £140 (£1,036).

Baby Charolais steer: 1, J Lewis, Portadown, 620kg, £141 (£874.20); 2, Alan Leckey, Castlederg, 600kg, £141 (£846); 3, Hy Hillis, Ballymena, 500kg, £140 (£700).

Baby Limousin steer: 1, Des Robinson, Benburb, 590kg, £141 (£831.90); 2, M Posnett, Benburb, 520kg, £155 (£806); 3, Nigel Matchett, Portadown, 520kg, £148 (£796.60).