Pedigree Beef Shorthorn cattle from the renowned Ballylinney herd are to be sold publicly for the first time through a sale ring.
More than 150 cows owned by Derek and Cindy Steen, of Whitcastles Farm near Lockerbie, will go under the hammer at Harrison & Hetherington’s Borderway Mart in Carlisle on March 14.
Despite having a distinguished pedigree, the herd is entirely home-bred, with the sale featuring cattle born between 2011 and 2013, and comprising:
50 cows carrying second and third calves;
20 first calved heifers with calves at foot;
40 in-calf heifers, due in the spring;
30 maiden heifers and
10 bulls, including stock bulls Priestland Cain, the Junior Champion at Stirling 2011 and Tullycore St David, as well as eight young bulls, three of which are sons of the renowned Fearn Wyvis.
Scott Donaldson, sales director of Harrison and Hetherington’s Livestock Division said: “Derek and Cindy Steen have always focussed on the commercial aspect of the livestock they rear. “Their Beef Shorthorn herd is made up of a marvellous foundation of well grown cows with strong maternal traits combined with tremendous conformation, good legs and feet.
“Other than a handful of specially selected males left entire, the steers are finished at between 340 and 400 kilos at well under 24 months with 90% grading R4L/4H or better.
“This offering of all of the 2011-2013 heifers as well as a number of top class young bulls, gives an unrivalled opportunity for any existing or new breeders to purchase from a high health status herd with some unique breeding, combining breed character with excellent genetics and a sound commercial emphasis.”
Mr Donaldson added that, although he expected great interest from pedigree breeders, the cattle would suit any commercial beef producer.
“The cattle from this sale will be available for ‘direct export’, providing an opportunity for buyers to purchase cattle and take them home directly,” he added.
“However interested parties must pre-register their interest in advance.”
Beginning in Northumberland, the Steens established the Ballylinney herd in 1998 before moving to the Borders in 2000. Over the years, they have continued to build up their stock and today have a total of 140 pedigree-registered cows.
Farming a total of 2,500 acres, they have a herd of 400 cattle overall, including Stabilisers and Salers cross Beef Shorthorn suckler cows, as well as a breeding flock of 2500 sheep.
To date, Ballylinney cattle have only ever been sold privately as foundation stock or to enhance further some of the finest herds throughout the UK.
Mr Steen said: “Over the years, we have concentrated on improving and developing the herd, finishing the progeny and selling stock privately off the farm for breeding and as foundation stock. Although we have never shown cattle ourselves at shows or society sales, some of the stock up for sale certainly does have showing potential.”
Throughout recent years the Beef Shorthorn breed has seen a resurgence in popularity due to its reputation as a functional suckler cow.
The breed’s easy calving, fertile, maternal characteristics and their low maintenance requirements have fuelled the growing interest as has the premium paid by Morrison’s for all Beef Shorthorn-sired animals.
Frank Milnes, secretary of the Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society said: “The Ballylinney Herd is one of the largest herds of Pedigree Beef Shorthorns in the UK.
“This sale gives very significant opportunities for breeders and commercial farmers to purchase top quality functional cattle with an outstanding temperament, ease of calving and the ability to grow rapidly off grass and forage alone.”
Those interested in viewing the herd beforehand should contact the Steens on 01576 710641 or mobile 07703 581191.
Mr Donaldson can be contacted on 01228 406200 or 07801 377626.