Charolais took the top price, made the highest average and sold the most bulls of all the breeds at this year’s spring sales, when commercial buyers drove the flying trade at Stirling on Tuesday 20 February.
Bidding peaked at 46,000gns, 22 lots traded at five figure sums and 115 bulls sold to an average of £7,635 a whopping £1,514 increase on last year. Clearance rates were also up on the year by 6% to 88% for four more sold.
Commenting on the sale, the BCCS chairman Chris Curry said: “Over the past twelve months the demand for Charolais bulls at society sales has increased dramatically, showcasing the resurgence of faith in the breed. There was no shortage of commercial traders in the market for a Charolais bull today and willing to pay top prices for them.
“For the first time we have seen a significant number of the five figure selling bulls finding commercial homes, driven no doubt by the fact that Charolais sired suckler calves are topping the markets on weight for age. The commercial marketplace is looking for a breed that will tick all of the boxes, finishing quicker with lower costs and greater profits.”
Star attraction at the sale was David and Nick Walter’s supreme and senior champion Balthayock Minstrel. Sired by the Kirrimuir Show champion Balthayock Ferdinand and out of Barbican Lancer daughter Balthayock Gem, the May 2016-born Minstrel attracted a 46,000gns bid from Bill Bruce, Meigle, Perthshire, who shared the purchase with Neil Barclay, Insch, Aberdeenshire.
Balthayock Manifesto was also in the money for Major Walter at 19,000gns, purchased by Peter and Sheelagh Donger, Towcester, Northamptonshire. Bred from Swalesmoor Cracker daughter Balthayock Finesse, the May 2016-born Manfesto is sired by the Highland Show supreme M and S interbreed champion Balthayock Imp.
Next in the trade stakes for the Major at 16,000gns, was the reserve senior champion Balthayock Mandate, a 21-month-old son of the 20,000gns Royal Welsh Show supreme champion Maerdy Grenadier and out of Balthayock Gold who goes back to Swalesmoor Cracker. He goes home to work with HR and C Dalrymplre, Ballantrae, Ayrshire.
Adding to the Walter’s celebrations, they also received 14,000gns for another Balthayock Imp son. Class winner Balthayock Mikado who was purchased by James Jeffrey, Kelso, Roxburghshire is an April 2016-born out of Balthayock Heaven, a Swalesmoor Cracker daughter.
At 15,000gns was another Maerdy Hearthrob son, this time offered for sale by RM Adam and Son, Glamis, Angus. Newhouse Maxamus who had been tapped out as reserve intermediate champion twenty-four hours earlier, is a July 2016-born son of Newhouse Geisha, a daughter of the 28,000gns Perth supreme champion Brampton Nacodar and goes home to work in Co Down for the Ballynahinch-based Connolly family.
The reserve supreme champion and August 2016-born Maerdy Montypython, was the first of four top priced lots to sell for Flintshire Vet Esmor Evans, who sold a total of eight for an average of £8,990. Jeremy Price liked the look of this one and paid 14,000gns to take him home to Staunton-on-Wye, Herefordshire. His sire, the 10,000gns Blelack Fabulous was also a reserve senior champion at Stirling, while his dam is the Begonia-sired Maerdy Goddess.
Esmor’s next highest priced and selling in a two-way split to a couple of breeders from across the water at 12,000gns, was the 16-month-old Maerdy Maesmor. Maesmor is sired by the French-bred Maerdy Gouverneur and out of Maerdy Dynamite daughter Maerdy Iod. Jonathan Crawford, Maghera, Co Londonderry and Will Short, Omagh, Co Tyrone were the partners who purchased him.
Also in the money for Mr Evans was the red-ticket winner Maerdy Maosglas, who sold in an 11,000gns deal to B Keir and Son, Alford, Aberdeenshire. The August 2016-born Maoglas is out of the 16,000gns Stirling junior champion and Caithness Show supreme champion Clyth Diplomat daughter Maerdy Grug and sired by the above-mentioned herd sire Blelack Fabulous, who has bred sons to 28,000gns.
Adding to Esmor’s celebrations, he also received 10,000gns for the October 2016-born Maerdy Maldwyn, who stood second in his class at the pre-sale show. Another Blelack Fabulous son, this time out of the Maerdy Blackout-sired Maerdy Daphne, he was purchased by H Stewart, Lybster, Caithness.
Two bulls were knocked down at 12,000gns a piece with the first coming from RS McAskie, Keith, Banffshire. Staying local when purchased by WR Simmers and Sons, also from Keith, Strathisla Major is an 18-month-old son of the 11,000gns Carlisle senior champion Southwillow Hal and 19,000gns Doune and Dunblane champion Corrie Alan daughter Strathisla Hope.
The second 12,000gns bid came from A Strachan, Brechin, Angus for the August 2016-born Falleninch Mars. The 18-month-old Mars, who was crowned senior breed champion and reserve interbreed champion at Stars of the Future in November for breeder and exhibited Andrew Hornall, Stirling, Stirlingshire, is out of a previous Stars of the Future show interbreed champion Falleninch Isabella and sired by Fairway Jefferson.
Following on at 11,500gns was the June 2016-born Ballinlare Midas from J Wilson and Sons, Newry, Co Down, who stood third in his class on Monday. T Howden and Son, Balerno, Mid Lothian, were the winning bidders of this 11,000gns Burradon Goodfellow and 55,000gns Balmoral Show interbreed champion Sportsmans Columbo-sired Ballinlare Harmony son.
Matching the 11,000gns price tag and also receiving a blue ticket in the pre-sale show, was an offering from WK and P Drysdale, Blairgowrie, Perthshire. Glenericht Mecca, a 17-month-old son of the Highland Show and Royal Show interbreed champion Fleets Vibrant and 12,000gns Caylers Gladiator daughter Glenericht Jen was purchased by D Muirhead, Arbroath, Aberdeenshire.
Four further bulls were knocked down at 10,000gns a piece, with the first coming from Hamish Goldie, Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire. Goldies Marshall, who is sired by the 12,000gns Carlisle reserve senior champion Wesley Equinox, was tapped out first in his class and the 20-month-old is out of Goldies Hippy, a daughter of the proven high performing, short gestation and easy calving Blelack Digger. He goes on the Brechin to work for W Mather and Sons in their Angus holding.
Leading the bids for the small consignment of females at 7,000gns was the June 2016-born Goldies Madame, who had been awarded the female championship at the pre-sale show for breeder and exhibitor Hamish Goldie. Madame, who is a daughter of the top performing 15,000gns Gretnahouse Heman and bred out of Goldies Goldengirl, a Goldies Ambassador daughter, caught the eye of K Earle, Penybont, Carmarthenshire.
Averages: 115 bulls £7635; 14 heifers £3,684.
Auctioneers: United Auctions.