The continuing premium on Charolais cross calves boosted demand for bulls at the breed’s main UK sale at Stirling yesterday.
Twelve traded at five-figure prices, with commercial cattlemen again representing the majority of buyers.
British Charolais Cattle Society chief executive David Benson said he was very pleased with the trade, despite just 65% of the 141 offered selling. The average for the 92 sold was £6,578, down £1,121 on last October when one bull traded for a breed world record of 100,000gn.
Society chairman Alasdair Houstoun waded into the ongoing debate on the use of estimated breeding values (EBVs).
The majority of the five-figure priced bulls all had genetics that put them in the top 1% of the breed.
But EBVs have been questioned.
Mr Houston said it would be crazy to pretend that EBVs did not count in a purchasing decision. But they needed to be combined with traditional stockman skills on bull selection.
He said the availability of EBVs helped in the science of breeding. “Where science is available to assist we should be using it. The feedback that we are getting is that the figures are useful element when making a decision to buy a bull,” he said.
But Mr Houston said buyers also need to use their eyes when buying bulls. “Someone who follows figures blindly is as crazy as someone who follows their satnav as it takes them off a cliff,” he added.
Sale topper at 22,000gn was Balmyle Headline, a May 2012 son of the 9,000gn Maerdy Egret and Balmyle Uptowngirl, from Bill Bruce, of Balmyle, Meigle. Egret’s only other son sold for 9,000gn, while Uptowngirl is a daughter of the 28,000gn Brampton Nacador, a former Perth champion.
Headline, with a self replacing (SR) score of +53 and +56 terminal sire (TS) index, was bought by Danny Sawrij for his 14-cow Swalesmoor pedigree herd at Allerbeck, Eaglesfield, Lockerbie. Mr Sawrij runs his family’s Halifax-based Leo Group, one of the UK’s largest waste and animal byproduct processors.
Michael Massie, of Mains of Elrick, Auchnagatt, had his best ever day, selling Elrick Highlander, an April 2012 son of Maerdy Dublin and Elrick Caroline, for 17,000gn, which beat his previous top by 2,000gn.
is the new chairman of the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association.
Mr Massie said Dublin had sold sons to 22,000gn for his father, Neil, at Blelack, Dinnet, Aboyne. Highlander was bought by pedigree and commercial breeders J. Wight and Sons, of Midlock, Crawford, Biggar.
Hamish Goldie, of South Bowerhouses, Ruthwell, Dumfries, traded his junior champion, Goldies Hotspur, at 15,000gn. The May 2012 son of Goldies Elation and Goldies Babs, with a SR +64 and TS of +66, was bought by W.R. Mill, of Forsie, Westfield, Thurso. Also at 15,000gn to J.A.C. Campbell, of 1 Farm Cottages, Scrabster, Thurso, was Mowbraypark Hercules, a March 2012 son of Klibreck Ecosse and Bassingbourn Velvet, from Mike and Margaret Atkinston, of Parkfield, near Ripon.
Mr Goldie then spent all his earnings paying 15,000gn for Gretnahouse Heman, a March 2012 son of Blelack Digger and Gretnahouse Beauty, from Mr Houston, who farms at Gretnahouse, Gretna. Beauty goes back to Balmyle Paradise, a cow bought after foot-and-mouth restocking in 2001 and who has produced a tremendous family line that includes seven stock bulls which have sold up to 25,000gn.
Wester Ross farmers A. and D. Renwick, of Keppoch, Dundonnell, paid 14,000gn for the supreme and intermediate champion, Culford Hector, an April 2012 son of Holstead Cracker and out of Culford Cherry, from Darren Knox, of West Fen Farm Bungalow, Whitemoor Road, March. Hector was male and reserve overall at the national Charolais Show this year.
Roy and Kirsty Milne and sons, James, Matthew and Sam, of Kennieshilock, Lhanbryde, sold their offering to 14,000gn for Elgin Highlander. This April 2012 son of Thrunton Alpha and Elgin Divine was third in his class at the Royal Highland in June.
Brian Buchan, of Clinterty, New Aberdour, paid 12,000gn for Charborn Heredity, an April 2012 son of Goldies Unbeatable and Charbron Duchess, from the Barons Cross Charolais Stud.
Brothers David, Graham and Willie Mathers, of Shandford, Brechin, bid to 11,000gn for Dunesk Hero from octogenarian breeder and near neighbour, Jim McMillan, of Craigmore, Farnell. The April 2012 son of Blelack Digger and Dunesk Bianca has a TS of +59 and a SR of +56. The Mathers have 20 pedigree cows and a suckler herd.