£25,000 record breaker bull

County Antrim Simmental breeders Leslie and Christopher Weatherup have set a new breed record of £25,000 for a bull bred in Northern Ireland.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 11:55 am
Lisglass Kirk sold privately by Leslie and Christopher Weatherup, Ballyclare, for a £25,000 Northern Ireland Simmental record Picture: Mullagh Photography
Lisglass Kirk sold privately by Leslie and Christopher Weatherup, Ballyclare, for a £25,000 Northern Ireland Simmental record Picture: Mullagh Photography

The five-figure price tag is a dream come true for the father and son duo. “We’re totally overwhelmed!” explained Leslie Weatherup who has previously sold bulls to a top of 10,000gns at Stirling, and females for a herd best of 6,600gns.

The record-breaking bull is Lisglass Kirk, a twenty-month-old son of the NI-bred Mullyknock Gallant. His dam is the 2017 Balmoral Show champion Lisglass Goddess GP83, a daughter of the herd’s successful stock bull Dermotstown Delboy, Balmoral supremo in 2014 and 2015.

Christopher Weatherup explained: ”This bull stood out from the moment he was born, and is one of the most outstanding bulls we have ever bred. He is extremely correct and has tremendous length, power and muscle, coupled with style and breed character. We firmly believe he has a big future within the Simmental breed.”

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The Weatherup family Leslie, Christopher, Laura, Archie and Rita from Ballyclare, with their £25,000 record breaking Simmental bull Lisglass Kirk. Picture: Julie Hazelton

Last year Liglass Kirk was placed sixth in the autumn bull calf class during the British Simmental Cattle Society’s Virtual Show. The online competition attracted a strong entry of 68 young bulls born between July and December 2019.

Christopher continued: “We had planned to sell Lisglass Kirk at Stirling in February, but circumstances beyond our control, which included the nonsensical animal movement restrictions outlined by post-Brexit NI Protocol, meant we couldn’t take him to the society’s national showcase event in Scotland. We were extremely frustrated and disappointed.”

The Weatherup family attribute the record-breaking deal to the power of social media. “Until now, I hadn’t fully appreciated the power of social media. My wife Laura took videos, and we posted photographs and details of four Simmental bulls on Facebook for sale,” said Christopher.

“The response went beyond all expectations. Within a short period of time my page was flooded with likes and comments, and the posts were shared numerous times. As a result, all four bulls have been sold averaging £9,500, with two going to pedigree herds.”

Christopher added: “Lisglass Kirk attracted unprecedented interest. My phone was ringing continuously, and there were a number of pedigree breeders from mainland UK expressing strong interest in him.”

Closing the deal were Philip Simmers, and sons Andrew and Reece, from Backmuir Farm based in Keith, Banffshire. They farm an extensive acreage of mixed arable and grassland, alongside pedigree and commercial suckler enterprises totalling in excess of 600 cows.

Leslie Weatherup founded the 35-cow pedigree herd thirty years ago. “I’ve bred numerous show winners and achieved good prices for bulls and females, but this deal represents the pinnacle of the herd’s history.”

The bull’s dam, Lisglass Goddess was shown three times in 2017, winning the supreme championship at Balmoral, followed by the supreme championship ribbons at Ballymena Show, and the breed’s female and reserve overall titles at Fermanagh County Show.

Lisglass Goddess was bred from Lummin Bronte EX90 – an Omorga Volvo daughter bought privately as a heifer from David and Margaret Thompson, Ahoghill. She bred well, with her first son Lisglass Fortune winning the senior championship at the Pedigree Calf Fair, held at Balmoral’s former King’s Hall site in 2015. He sold for 5,200gns at Stirling in February 2016.

With the agricultural show circuit cancelled for a second year due to the pandemic, Leslie and Christopher are focusing on the autumn. Leslie added: “Balmoral Show has been re-scheduled until September, and we are currently planning ahead for later in the year. The NI Simmental Club is staging a 50th Anniversary sale of elite heifers at Dungannon on 22nd October, and we have a number of promising young bulls and heifers coming on.

“At this stage we aren’t sure if we’ll be returning to Stirling in October, it all hinges on the NI Protocol. If the current regulations remain in place, we’ll be selling our stock locally and privately off-farm.”