Charolais bulls met a solid demand driven throughout by the commercial sector at the breed’s official spring sale in Stirling this week. Bidding peaked at 26,000gns, 12 lots traded at five-figure sums and 140 lots sold to average £6,538, a figure representing 73% clearance, leaving Charolais to once again take the lead at the spring multi-beef breed sales and grossing just short of £1m in total.
A further nine lots were later sold via the auctioneers outside the ring, bringing the total clearance to 78%.
British Charolais Cattle Society (BCCS) chairman Alasdair Houston said: “More Charolais bulls were sold at a higher average than at any other sale this spring reflecting the momentum swing back to modern British Charolais. The bulls traded today are great value when considering the premiums paid for Charolais cross suckled calves and store cattle are at £150 a head premium over other breeds; it all adds up.”
Sale leader at 26,000gns was Maerdy Hearthrob TI +56, SRI +50, a 19-month-old from Flintshire vet Esmor Evans of Mold. Sired by Maerdy Dynamite, he was out of Maerdy Beauty who secured the Royal female championship and Royal Welsh interbreed titles as an 18-month-old.
Hearthrob sold in a three-way split to the Campbell family of Thrunton Farm, Whittingham, near Alnwick, Drew and Bob Adam, of Glamis, Forfar; and Bill Bruce, Balmyle, Meigle, who said: “He’s a top bull by a great sire I’d seen as a calf and out of a fantastic show cow – a combination which doesn’t happen very often.”
Seller Mr Evans said: “My confidence in this bull is reflected in the fact I’ve retained several hundred straws.” This visit north of the border was to prove one of his most successful ever in more than 30 years of trading there. He sold a string of seven bulls to average £13,155, while 24 hours earlier he had secured the champion group of three with Darkvador sons, a title he’d won 12 months earlier with sons by Darkvador’s sire, Maerdy Blackout.
This week he also won both the junior and intermediate titles. The latter was awarded to Maerdy Hasse TI +48, SRI +50 who went on to receive the overall supreme championship which for Mr Evans was the eighth occasion and earned him the record holder title.
The 19-month-old Hasse happened to be the next lot in the ring selling for the day’s second top 25,000gns price to join Ronnie Baillie’s 60-cow pedigree herd and 250 commercial cows at Deerness, Orkney. Mr Baillie said: “This bull has the looks and the figures to match – he’s a very nice all-rounder.”
Sired by Darkvador and out of Maerdy Dredge, a Vald’Or-Ra daughter, he was described by the judge, Roy Milne, as “as near to perfect as you’ll ever get”.
“Hasse stood out as soon as he came in to the ring. He has tremendous presence, great character in the head and is very balanced; he has a smooth shoulder, length, width across the top, an adequate hind end and great locomotion,” Mr Milne added.
Next at 15,000gns was the junior champion, 17-month-old Maerdy Hwre TI +48, SRI +41, another Dynamite son and out of a homebred dam by Maerdy Ulm. The buyer was Mornity Farms, Alyth, Blairgowrie.
A bid of 22,000gns secured the reserve senior champion, Lochend Hickory TI +55, SRI +38 for Strathisla Farms, Ruthven, Blairgowrie. Sired by the 10,000gns Mortimers Echo, his homebred maternal granddam remains one of the best breeding females with her 18th calf at foot within the Millar family’s 30-cow Lochend herd based at Port of Menteith, Stirling.
For Iain, Rhona, John and Teen, it was their most successful day in 19 years of breeding pedigree Charolais, while for Strathisla Farms’ Adrian Ivory, Hickory was the only entry marked in the catalogue to join his 40-cow pedigree herd. Next at 17,000gns was the class winner, Sandelford Harrison TI +45, SRI +45, an 18-month-old by the 14,000gns Goldies Usher and out of a Drummeer Major sired homebred dam. Harrison was bred and exhibited by the Henderson family, George, his son Gary and grandson Gareth, of Bushmills, Antrim, who realised their highest price at auction in 37 years since establishing their herd which amounts to 10 cows.
Harrison went to join Peter Vasey’s 50-cow pedigree herd based at Wetheral, Carlisle. “This bull has unbelievable conformation, power, a good pedigree and figures to match,” he said.
Mr Vasey was investing some of the earnings from his string of seven bulls, each by the 10,000gns Carlisle champion, Ratoary Ferguson, and which sold to average £6,030. His leader at 10,000gns was the 19-month-old Edenhurst Heritage TI +57, SRI +57 to CG Greig (Farms), Gateside, Fife.
Ballindalloch Hero TI +42, SRI +42 lived up to his name for father-and-son team John and Raymond Irvine, of Tomintoul, Ballindalloch, and ensured they maintained their winning streak in Stirling for the third consecutive year.
After securing the reserve intermediate championship, Hero was pulled in to overall reserve supreme place before going on to command a 13,000gns bid from Corskellie Farm, Rothiemay, Huntly.
This 20-month-old was sired by Lochend Hero and out of a homebred dam from their 45-cow herd. Later in the day the Irvines offered Ballindalloch Hagar TI +54, SRI +52, a Maerdy Eryr son for 8,500gns to GR Davies, Cwmtirmynach, Bala.
Peter Heath, Hartfield, made yet another successful 1,000-mile round annual trip this time with Sackville Hercules TI +33, SRI +31, a 22-month-old by the 30,000gns Balmyle Bollinger and out of a Maerdy Vamp sired homebred dam from his 20-cow herd. Hercules secured the senior championship, the first ever major Stirling award for Mr Heath before selling for 11,000gns to CG McGillivray, Chapeltown, Ballindalloch.
A second 11,000gns call was made this time by A and D Renwick, Dundonnell, Rossshire, for Martland Heavyweight TI +38, SRI +36, a 20,month,old class winner by Beanhill Echo from J and C Wylde, Woolavington, Bridgwater.
Balthayock Haakon, the highest entry in the catalogue with a TI +78 and SRI +71, was secured for 10,000gns by Milne family, Robbie, Barbara and their son, James to run with their 320-cow herd at Oldmeldrum, Aberdeen.
Bred by David and Nick Walter, Balthayock, Perth, the 16-month-old Haakon was by the 8,000gns Swalesmoor Cracker, the current highest recorded bull for performance traits in the breed herdbook and out of a Balmyle Thunderbird sired homebred dam from their 80 cow herd.
Next from the Walters at 8,500gns was Balthayock Herald TI +46, SRI +55, a 29-month-old Balthayock Dante son. The buyer was Messrs Bindloss and Sons, Shap, Cumbria.
Thrunton Highlight TI +52, SRI +48, a 21-month-old by the 26,000gns Balmyle Dickler, attracted a 9,000gns bid from Lewis Forster, West Nubbock Farm, Lowgate, near Hexham, for the Campbell family, Ian, John and their father Colin, of Thrunton Farm, Whittingham. Another Dickler son, the19-month-old Thrunton Highflyer TI +50, SRI +44 made 8,500gns and also returned to Northumberland this time with P Charleton, Kirkwhelpington.
Esmor Evans rounded off the day by heading the female section at 5,000gns with Maerdy Gunhieda, a rising two-year-old served heifer by Vald’Or-Ra to JA Morris, Thurso. Maerdy Gwenllian, another same age served heifer by Dynamite made 4,000gns to T Smith and Son, Alford.
A draft from John Christie’s herd was headed at 4,000gns by Westcarse Caroline TI +30, SRI +33, a seven-year-old Roselier daughter sold with her five-month-old heifer, Westcarse Imogen by Mortimers Echo. The buyer was EF Mutch and Son, Forglen, Banff.
Other leading female entries included Midlock Holly TI +45, SRI +39, a 19 month old Kelton Trident daughter at 4,500gns from John Wight, Midlock, Biggar to Reece Millichap, Tonwyesail, Mid Glamorgan.
Hamish Goldie, Ruthwell, Dumfries offered Goldies Grandgirl TI +29, SRI +25, a two-year-old heifer by the 25,000gns Thrunton Camelot at 4,000gns to G Dalgarno, Brechin, Angus.
Twenty four hours earlier, the female line-up was leaded by two heifers by the 12,000gns Thrunton Explosive from Michael Durno, Glenlivet, Ballindalloch. Supreme honours went to Glenlivet Hooray TI +35, SRI +36, an 18-month-old twin out of Kelton Bonnie.
She made 3,400gns to AK Brooke, Glenluce, Newton Stewart. Darren and Donna Knox, March, Cambridge paid 3,400gns for the reserve champion, Glenlivet Hopeful TI +34, SRI +36, a 17-month-old out of a homebred dam.
Averages: 140 bulls £6,538; 14 females £3,353, Auctioneers: United Auctions.