The terrific year for British Limousin Cattle Society sales moved into its final period on Saturday 14th October at Borderway Mart, Carlisle, with the annual autumn show and sale of bulls.
A packed ring saw 113 bulls sold to an average of £7,018.27, up on the year by an impressive £914.10 for 20 more bulls sold with a clearance rate of 70%.
It was a sale that saw something to spark everyone’s attention, while the breeder’s bulls hit some fantastic headline prices, once again commercial producers were out in force showing their keen interest in the breed.
It is worth noting that while 14 bulls made five figures or more, 60% of the bulls forward sold for between 4,000 and 8,000gns, highlighting the depth of trade coming from the commercial side of the business.
Commenting on the sale BLCS chief executive Iain Kerr said: “There has been a strong demand for Limousin bulls throughout 2017 and it was great to see that continue at the society’s October sale with increased numbers sold and averages well up.
“Commercial buyers again underpinned the trade and a feature of the day was the emphasis they were placing on bulls that had good calving figures along with length, shape and good tops.
“Beef producers are looking for easy calving, easy care cattle that are feed efficient and producing high end suckled calves with tremendous carcase attributes.
“The Limousin breed is synonymous with these traits and that’s what is driving the continued and increased demand around the UK.”
Leading the way was the 70,000gns Ampertaine Magnum from James McKay, Maghera, Co Londonderry.
This April 2016 born bull by Loosebear Fantastic, and out of Ampertaine Fancypants, comes from the Kype Sharon family which has bred many top quality cattle including the 38,000gns Ampertaine Foreman and 20,000gns Ampertaine Commander.
He had stood as the reserve intermediate champion in the pre-sale show the day earlier under the eye of judge Mr Duncan Hazard, Mereside herd, Grantham, Lincolnshire.
The sale of Ampertaine Magnum at 70,000gns followed hard on the heels of the society’s May sale, also at Carlisle, where James McKay sold Ampertaine Mozart for the sale top price of 100,000gns.
The 120 cow Ampertaine herd has established a reputation for prolific sales of high quality breeding bulls to both pedigree and commercial buyers.
The herd’s philosophy is to concentrate on bulls that emphasise easy calving, but are modern in type with length, shape, plenty of second thigh, and with good mobility.
The Ampertaine herd, whose breeding has an increasingly significant fingerprint on the UK Limousin herdbook, sells around 50 bulls each year with the majority going to commercial producers at 13 to 14 months of age.
James is certain that the bull Ampertaine Abracadabra, on Magnums dam line, has been fundamental in driving the easy calving traits within his herd. Purchasing the top priced bull was Ian Handley for his Gunnerfleet herd at Chapel Le Dale, Ingleton, Lancashire.
Selling at 28,000gns was the pre-sale show intermediate and reserve overall supreme champion, Sarkley Moray from Messrs E H Pennie and Sons, Powys.
The April 2016 born natural calf is one of the first sons to be offered for sale by the 13,000gns Ampertaine Interest.
His dam Sarkley Hosanna is a very smart daughter of Sarkley Oriana who was a prolific show winner through 1999 and 2000. In a half share purchase arrangement he was knocked down to G J Lee and C M Lloyd for their Calogale herd, Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire and A H and K J Booth, for their Sevengun herd at Hardwick Hall Farm, Aston, Sheffield.
After the show the day earlier judge Mr Hazard remarked that he was a “quality carcase bull with good locomotion that had performed particularly well in the ring”.
He added that he “could see him doing well in either a pedigree or commercial herd”.
Three bulls sold at 20,000gns, the first being Gorrycam Major from Gorrycam Limousins, Newry, Co Down, Northern Ireland.
A bull with style and muscle he is maternal brother to Gorrycam Hunter who made 28,000gns at Carlisle back in October 2013.
The bloodline has also produced Gorrycam Diana who sold to 18,000gns and the 26,000gns Gorrycam Hazard.
He went home to J Mulholand, Midtown Farm, Great Orton, Carlisle.
As well as a commercial herd the Mulholland family run a traditional butchers shop in Great Orton.
They have a 50 year heritage of supplying fresh beef to local residents and restaurants and pubs across Cumbria.
Next up at 20,000gns was the June 2016 born Ballinloan Mountain from Stuart Fotheringham, Dunkeld, Perth and Kinross.
By the noted Wilodge Cerberus son Ampertaine Foreman, and out of Ballinloan Gaga, he came to Carlisle having been shown successfully over the summer.
At the Highland Show he stood as reserve overall beef breeder champion, plus he took the breed champion spot and reserve interbreed champion at the Perth Show.
With Stuart retaining a share he was sold to Albert Howie for his Knock herd at Stuartfield, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.
When the hammer went down on this bull it added to what had already been a successful trip to Carlisle for the Fotheringham family.
They had won The Carlisle Three Award for the best pen of three home bred bulls in the pre-sale show the day earlier with a team consisting of Ballinloan Mountain, Marshmallow and Master, all who were sired by Ampertaine Foreman.
On the day, judge Mr Hazard praised the “impressive balance” throughout the group.
In the sale, Ballinloan Marshmallow was knocked down for 7,000gns to Woodman and Son, Haltwhistle, Northumberland while Master made 12,000gns in selling to D R Owen and Son from Tywyn, Gwynedd.
The third bull to make 20,000gns was the June 2016 born Grahams Michael from R and J Graham, Bridge of Allen Stirling, who had been tapped out as the reserve junior champion in the pre-sale show.
He came for sale on the back of a successful summer on the show circuit.
Out of Millbrook Gingerspice by the well-known sire Ampertaine Elgin he stood as the Limousin supreme junior bull and the overall supreme bull at the Royal Highland Show earlier in the year.
In a share purchase arrangement he was sold to E W Quick and Sons for their Loosebear herd in Devon and Craig Ridley for his Haltcliffe herd in Wigton, Cumbria.
Next in the pecking order of top prices was Craig’s bull Haltcliffe Matthew at 16,000gns.
This May 2016 natural calf by Ducasse is out of Haltcliffe Hello.
He went home with R S Harker and Son, Kendal, Cumbria.
Of the three lots which made 15,000gns the first in the ring was another one of Craig’s bulls, Haltcliffe Mike.
The March 2016 AI bull was described as a bull with serious muscle.
By Volcano out of Haltcliffe Igls he was knocked own to J A Wood and Sons, Ratlinghope, Shrewsbury.
Next to make 15,000gns was Sarkley Mercury from E H Pennie and Son, Powys.
The April 2016 born calf by Ampertaine Interest out of Sarkley Halexine went home with Gary Bell.
A first generation farmer Gary runs 165 suckler cows at Haas Side farm in Lockerbie.
Limousin was his breed of choice when starting his farming enterprise because, in his own words he “believes they tick all the boxes when it comes to producing top quality calves and productive cows”.
A firm “commercial man at heart” his current stock bull is Hartlaw Indigo, bought at Stirling for 6,500gns.
He also has a Lodge Hamlet son, Pabo Mr Muscle, which he paid 10,500gns for at a previous sale at Carlisle.
Prior to this purchase his most recent buy was Redrock Mallard at 5,000gns from the Steadman Dodd dispersal.
The third bull to make 15,000gns was the pre-sale show champion Trueman Mozart, who in taking the title followed up his impressive haul at the Balmoral Show earlier this year.
The May 2016 born embryo calf from Henry Savage and Sons, Co Down, is the first bull by the 147,000gns world record price holder Trueman Jagger.
He is out of Trueman Honey, herself a past overall reserve supreme champion at the Balmoral Show.
In selecting him as champion the day before judge Mr Hazard commented that “he has great width for his age, an impressive top line over the plates and enough muscle where it was needed”.
The hammer went down at 14,000gns for Grahams Mungo, also from R and J Graham.
The May 2016 born AI bull, by Kilcor Iceman out of Galipette was knocked down to T W Roberts, Malthouse Farm, Cardiff.
Three bulls made the 12,000gns mark, the first of which being the aforementioned Ballinloan Master from Stephen Fotheringham.
Accompanying him at this price mark was Barons Mexeco from Willie Barron, Durham.
By the Plumtree Deus son Mereside Godolphin out of the stylish cow Barrons Echo he went home with E S and E Norman, Little Orton, Carlisle.
The third to make this price was Garnedd Max from the Jones family, Betws-Y-Coed, Conwy.
A natural calf by Trueman Idol out of Garnedd Heulwen he made the trip home to Orkney with Messrs R and J Johnson for their Hewan herd.
The last lot to come in over five figures was Jim Bloom’s Scorboro Matrix.
The March 2016 bull by Fenomen out of Scorboro Evening comes from a very good dam line that combines positive EBVs for calving, growth and docility with correctness and shape.
He was bought by the Chatsworth Settlement, Bakewell, Derbyshire.
In an interesting development for the breed, the sale at Carlisle attracted some keen interest from an overseas buyer, who, with assistance from Andrew Ewing, will be taking five bulls back to Spain at a total cost of 24,800gns.
With a family history dating back several generations, D Francisco Hernández Gutiérrez, his son and grandson run a herd of 300 Limousin cows in the Spanish province of Avil on their property Mingoblasco.
Developing their herd over the past 30 years the strapline for the enterprise is ‘Genetics and quality: Success’, it is exciting to see the degree of confidence Mr Gutiérrez has in bulls bred by UK Limousin breeders.
Other leading prices
9,500gns Wanthwaite Madmax, C R and H M Atkinson, High Howe, Penrith, Cumbria
9,000gns Tomschoice Mozart, B and M J Nelson, Milnthorpe, Cumbria
9,000gns Scorboro Magnum, N P Wilson, Moffat, Dumfriesshire
9,000gns Kinniside Mobydick, T Laird and Son, Cronberry, Cumnock, Ayrshire
9,000gns Proctors Major, A J Mason, Skipton, North Yorkshire
9,000gns Homebyres Macadoo, A Renton and H Redden, Berwick upon Tweed
9,000gns Swalesmoor Monty, Mingoblasca S L, Madrid, Spain
9,000gns Ampertaine Morton, J E Jordon and Son, Morpeth, Northumberland
8,500gns Loosebeare Mason, M Cameron, Banavie, Fort William, Inverness
36 senior bulls, £5,605.83
41 intermediate bulls, £8,183.60
36 junior bulls, £7,103.54
113 bulls overall £7,018.27
Auctioneer: Harrison and Hetherington