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2,000 cattle for auction in Glenmore Estate herd sale

MORE than 2,000 cattle are to be auctioned at Stranorlar Mart next month in what will be one of Europe’s largest ever single sales. 
The Friesian cattle, valued in excess of €1.5 million, which comprised Glenmore Estate’s organic herd, are being sold off as the owners of Ireland’s largest organic farm confirmed their intention to exit the dairy sector.
Finn Valley businessman, Karol McElhinney of Glenmore Estates, purchased An Grianán farm in Burt for more than €17 million in 2017 and, in a statement issued yesterday, said they are now planning to focus solely on growing renewable energy crops.
Consequently a specialist livestock auction company, Harrison & Hetherington, based in Carlisle will manage the auction which will take place over three days at Stranorlar Mart in February. 
 
Speaking to the Donegal News yesterday, Manager of Stranorlar Livestock Mart, Mr Brian Crawford said buyers were expected to come from as far away as Germany.
 
“This is without a doubt one of the largest sales ever in the British Isles and Ireland if not Europe. It is being managed by ourselves and Harrison & Hetherington. They are one of the foremost auctioneers in the UK and handle all the major sales. They have never dealt with anything of this scale before. There’s a lot to be organised between now and the sale date but we are very proud to be given the opportunity to handle a sale as exciting as this.”
 
Mr Crawford said that all the milking stock will be auctioned over two days on February 7 and 8 while the in-calf heifers and drystock will be auctioned on February 21.
 
“There will be more than 2,000 cattle offered for sale and there’s a massive amount of work still to do. Over the coming days they will be scanned to see what’s in-calf and representatives from Harrison and Hetherington are arriving in Donegal tomorrow (Thursday) to get working on the auction. On the days of the auction they will also be bringing their own men to work at the sale while Glenmore Estates will also be staffing the auction.”
 
Mr Crawford said there will be much European interest in the sale and added: “Many of these animals were brought in from Holland and other parts of Europe by Mr McElhinney. He put a lot of work into building up the herd.”
The farm was bought by Mr Karol McElhinney for €17.4 million in 2017. The total estate stands at 2,400 acres, some 1,290 acres of which are designated as organic. 
 
The first of the dispersal sales will be held at Stranorlar Livestock Mart on 7 and 8 February. A follow-up sale of youngstock will be held on 21 February.
 
Specialist dairy auctioneer Glyn Lucas from Harrison and Hetherington livestock auction company based in Carlisle will manage the auction. Catalogues for the sale will be available from their website.
In August of 2018, Mr McElhinney announced that Glenmore Estates would be undertaking a redevelopment of the farmyard area of the estate, involving the removal of old infrastructure and construction of a state-of-the-art robotic dairy farm enterprise.
Glenmore intends to continue farming the estate’s 1,290ac of land organically and said that robotisation would “sustainably increase production” from its dairy business.
 
The company added that it would continue to work with the National Parks & Wildlife Service to ensure environmental protection of the Lough Swilly special protection area overlapping the farm. The farmyard’s redevelopment is in addition to extensive land improvement works undertaken at the farm.
 
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