A roaring trade for 90 cows, heifers and calves from the renowned Blelack Aberdeen-Angus herd and a new breed record price dominated a frenetic day of multi-breed pedigree sales at Stirling yesterday.
Graeme and Neil Massie smashed the breed record for females set by themselves two years ago with a price of 35,000gn for a seven-year-old cow, Blelack Lady Eraline. The 7,000 acre Balavil sporting estate near Kingussie was the successful bidder for the top price female and estate manager George Pirie went on to buy another 25 animals before signing a cheque for over £180,000.
Balavil’s owners are Hannah and Eric Heerema, who run Nyetimber, the largest producer of sparkling wine in the UK. Hannah, a granddaughter of the late gaelic singer Calum Kennedy, bought the estate 18 months ago for an undisclosed figure and plans are under way for a £5million refurbishment of the farm buildings as well as building up the new Aberdeen-Angus herd to 60-70 animals and establishing new flocks of Cheviot and Blackface sheep.
Blelack owners Neil and Graeme Massie were overwhelmed by the demand for what Graeme described as the “matrons” of their herd. The Massies have retained 50 Aberdeen-Angus heifers on their 750-acre Aberdeenshire farm and will sell their Charolais herd later this week. Their entire Beef Shorthorn herd has been sold privately.
Other top or local prices paid for Blelack cattle included 10,000gn for Lady Eraline’s seven-month-old male calf Blelack Lord Eston, bought by Norbreck Genetics, Lancashire.
R Gardiner, Newton Smiddy, Lyne of Skene bought one for 13,500gn; David Stubbs of AJR Fasteners, Milton of Collieston, Ellon bought females at 10,000gn twice, 5,500gn, 5,000gn and 4,000gn; C and E McCombie, Auchincrieve, Rothiemay paid 9,000gn; J Steel West Drums Farm, Brechin paid 4,500gn and K WW Brown, Craigowmill Farm, Milnathort paid 5,000gs.
Blelack averages: 25 cows with calves at foot sold to a top of 10,000gn to average £5,926; 38 cows and heifers in calf sold to 35,000gn to average £7,466; 14 bull calves sold to 10,000gn to average £4,598; 13 heifer calves sold to a top of 11,000gn to average £6,090.
Press and Journal farming editor Gemma Mackenzie was left baffled yesterday when Aberdeen Journals was listed as the buyer of a 5,500gn Aberdeen-Angus cow at the Stirling Bull Sales.
The buyer for the cow, which was being sold as part of the Blelack herd dispersal, came up as Aberdeen Journals on a computer in the press room at United Auctions’ Stirling Agricultural Centre.
Ms Mackenzie was left wondering whether or not she had accidentally waved her arm by the ringside at the wrong time.
However, a quick investigation followed by a huge sigh of relief, revealed there was a technical glitch with the press room computer and the buyer was in fact Alasdair Houston who runs the Gretnahouse herd at Gretna Green.