Kilnaleck farmer Paul Sheridan, wife Pamela, their three boys - Charlie, Harry, Jack - and Ballymorrishill Pretty Polly ET at a previous show. She sold for a record €13,200 at the weekend.

Cavan farmer sets record price with 'cash' cow

Kilnaleck farmer Paul Sheridan received top price for one of his heifers at the Irish Charolais Society Elite heifer Sale in Tullamore at the weekend.

Heads turned and jaws dropped when bidding for Lot 22, Farmer Polly ET, sired by Aimable, sold for €10,200.

Necks were near creaking point when Farmer Polly ET's full sister, Ballymorrishill Pretty Polly ET, also sired by Aimable, sold next at Lot 23 for a record-breaking sum of €13,200.

From a purely mathamatical point of view, it means the two full sisters sold for a combined price of €22,400!

It rounded what was a “good day” at the sales for Paul and his three young sons - Jack, Charlie and Harry - who helped prep the animals for show last Saturday, November 14.

“It's a big thing surely, a big thing for a smaller farm like myself,” says Paul humbly.

While delighted, Paul had expected to get close to €10,000 for Pretty Polly, which was All-Ireland Calf Champion in 2019, and Reserve Champion in Tullamore.

“I was expecting €10,000 for her and maybe €5,000 for her full sister, but the numbers kept going up and up and up. When the sister went at €10,200, I didn't know what to expect going into the ring next. When the hammer fell, it was a remarkable price to get.”

It's not just the financial windfall however that has Paul happy. The welcome boon of positive publicity is a big thing when it comes to promoting his newly-established breeder's brand, 'Corglass Charolais'.

Paul runs a suckler farm near Kilnaleck and, along with his herd, has a “few sheep” as well.

His turn of good fortune is all the more remarkable given that he only has one pure-bred cow.

“We're getting the name out there now. We've had a few good heifers, and it's putting the name on the map, so long may that continue,” says Paul, who is involved in embryo flushing from the dam, Tobar Lila, and calving down to commercial heifers also.

“It's all down to the breeding,” adds Paul, who has this advice for any would-be breeders hoping to follow in his footsteps. “It's all well and good saying those things, but having it is another. You have to have something good to start with. If you haven't got that, you're wasting your time.”

Despite this being a strange year for everybody, the farming community included, 2020 has marked an impressive year for sales, capped in August when a rare breed of lamb became the most expensive sheep on the planet selling for a record price of £367,500 (€412,086).

Such sales, regardless of what form of breeding a farmer is involved with, does catch attention, admits Paul.

“That's what people are chasing, the perfect animal. It's all genetics. Everyone is looking for the best of the best, because when you have the best you can breed the best. That's the only idea we had when we started off here. The heifer we purchased, we knew when we had her that she was the one that was going to breed the champion. She's a great mother, a serious animal.”