A rip-roaring trade for commercial beef breeding heifers at the Alexander family’s Jalex sale not only saw prices peak at £9000, with others at £5500 and £5000 twice, additional females also had to be brought in to meet demand.

The on-farm, online Jalex Select sale of 54 in-calf heifers staged last weekend just outside Belfast, averaged a colossal £3092, with a further 44 similarly aged and bred females then cashing in at £2111. Such was the demand that no fewer than 22 lots sold at £3000 or more.

Dearest at £9000 was a top show female that had made her presence felt on the Welsh, English and Scottish circuits.

Bred in Wales by Llyr Hughes, this May, 2018-born three-quarter-bred Limousin by Derryguillinane Kingbull was calf champion at the Agri Expo and baby beef best at the Welsh Winter Fair, before selling to Stirling-based show enthusiasts, Stewart and Lynsey Bett.

The following year she won many top awards, including being champion of champions of Keith and supreme heifer at LiveScot, where she was purchased privately by James Alexander.

The heifer sold due in February to the Limousin sire, Trueman Idol, to Robert Miller, Moneymore, Co Londonderry, who intends flushing her after she calves.

The Scottish Farmer: Second top price was £5500 paid for this in-calf heiferSecond top price was £5500 paid for this in-calf heifer

Essex-based Ben Whiting, Bottles Hall, bought several of the lead priced lots, including the next top two at £5500 and £5000, along with others at £3900 and £3700.

Dearest was a black June, 2017-born heifer by the Netherhall Epic Limousin son, Hodgestown Ian. She changed hands due in June with a heifer calf to the P381 Limousin sire.

Minutes earlier, an October, 2018-born British Blue heifer by Imperial, carrying a Limousin heifer calf by the same sire, made £5000.

Matching that £5000 bid, Sinead Douglas, Co Meath, bought a British Blue cross heifer, by Knockaloura Igoe and due in May with a Limousin bull calf by Nighteagle.

British Blue crosses proved popular, with Raymond Boyd, Drumquin, Co Tyrone, forking out £4600 and £3750 for two. The former, a Bluestar Irwin-sired heifer sold carrying a Limousin heifer calf due in May.

Selling at £3750 was a heifer by Celestin du Fond de Bois, which again sold due in May to a Limousin.

Two came under the hammer for £3900. First was an October, 2018-born heifer by Gamin due in June with a Limousin heifer calf. The McKennas, from Maghera, Co Derry, bought her.

Matching that bid was a June 2018-born British Blue cross heifer, due in June with a Limousin bull calf. She was purchased by Middlesborough producer, Peader Donnelly, Bankflow, Great Ayton, who bought a further eight heifers.

Overall, 17 lots sold to the Republic of Ireland, with 24 selling to England and Wales.

Auctioneers: Richard Beattie/MartEye