WITH an additional two marts participating and strong demand leading to a sale top price at Hilltown, the steady growth of the SureCalf programme at the Province’s suckled calf sales is clear to see.
This year, the animal health company Zoetis, who organise the SureCalf programme, offered a prize of £100 to the best SureCalf at the opening shows at the participating marts.
At the first show and sale at Hilltown Mart, Henry Quinn, Kilkeel, took the SureCalf honours and at the second event the winning SureCalf was certainly in demand when Corrie Meats paid the top price of the night for this 326kg Limousin heifer which was exhibited by Seamus Cunningham, Kilkeel, who received £1,450. Judge on this occasion was Jim Quail, ably assisted by his young grandson James.
Ballymena’s suckler calf show and sale had a packed yard with Richard McGinley, Ballymoney, receiving the Zoetis prize for his 349kg Charolais bull selected by judge Gareth Corrie, which sold to D Salt, Dungannon, for £960.
Enniskillen’s two shows and sales were winning events for father and son team Marshall and Jonathan Wright of Lisnaskea. At the first event their Charolais bull calf weighing 285kg sold for 261p per kg making a total of £745.
The judge on this occasion was Robert Simpson and purchaser was B McCauley, Moneyslane, County Down.
At the second Ennikillen event, judge Richard Law chose a Charolais bull calf to take the honours. Eric Beattie, Brookeborough, purchased this 310kg calf at 256p per kg to realise £795.
The other newcomer to the Surecalf event was Plumbridge Mart where judge Richard Devine awarded the £100 Surecalf prize to Gary Warnock for a 360 kilo March born bull calf which made £990 and sold to Allister Doran, Castlecaufield. Gary had six March and April born bull calves which averaged 350 kilos at £865.
Commenting on the success of the SureCalf programme, Aurelie Moralis, Veterinary Consultant with Zoetis, said: “It is a programme that is gaining momentum as buyers experience the benefits and are prepared to reward the seller adequately.
“This has been our experience in Scotland – the programme started slowly and expanded as both buyers and sellers experienced the benefits of what SureCalf can offer.”
Aurelie went on to say that the procedure for the programme is very simple. The information required is the dates of birth of the calves, numbers being sold, the date of vaccination and the batch number of the vaccines used as well as the name of their veterinary practice. The participants then receive personalised SureCalf certificates.
On the day of sale the seller provides the buyer with this signed certificate showing compliance with the SureCalf programme. The seller will also receive blue ear tags which can be fitted around the existing ear tags and cards for the calf pens, thus identifying the vaccinated calves for the buyers.
The SureCalf programme requires calves to be over 10 weeks of age, and vaccinated one to three weeks prior to sale with a single intranasal dose of Rispoval IntraNasal (against BRSv and PI3v) and a single intranasal dose of Tracherine (against IBR).
The buyer benefits from up to six months cover against IBR and up to three months cover against BRSv and PI3v ensuring calves are protected throughout the sale and into the winter housing period.