Demand for Simmental remains firm after record price is secured

A selection of commercial Simmental females will come under the hammer at Dungannon on Friday 20th March.
A selection of commercial Simmental females will come under the hammer at Dungannon on Friday 20th March.

The popularity of the Simmental breed continues throughout the British Isles with pedigree bulls achieving an 80% clearance at the spring sales hosted by United Auctions at Stirling.

“There was a strong demand for Simmental bulls, with the auctioneers remarking on a significant number of new commercial customers,” said society vice president Robin Boyd from Portglenone, who is also secretary of the NI Simmental Cattle Breeders’ Club.

“The 80% clearance rate was the highest recorded at the multi-breed event’s 150th anniversary sale, and was 4% more than its nearest continental rival.”

“With rising overhead costs commercial suckler farmers and beef producers are keen to take advantage of the Simmental breeds dual purpose characteristics. The Simmental boasts tremendous maternal and terminal traits, giving it a competitive edge when it comes to profitability.”

Mr Boyd continued: ”Simmental females are fertile, docile, and have great mothering instincts, coupled with plenty of milk; while Simmental progeny have excellent growth rates and are economical to finish on low input systems.”

Northern Ireland remains at the forefront when it comes to breeding pedigree Simmental cattle. This was evident in Stirling where 33 NI-bred bulls averaged £5,167, an increase of £203 above the breed’s sale average of £4,964. Local breeders also dominated the prize list, claiming many top awards including the supreme overall championship.

Closer to home and club member Cecil McIlwaine from Newtownstewart was overwhelmed when he sold a dropped calf for a record price of £510. The heifer calf was just over two weeks old, and attracted strong demand from bidders at Omagh Mart in early February.

Suckler herd owners will have an opportunity to invest in proven genetics at the NI Simmental Cattle Breeders’ Club’s forthcoming spring show and sale. The one-day event will be hosted by Dungannon Farmers’ Mart on Friday 20th March. The catalogue includes an entry of 27 pedigree bulls and 8 maiden heifers. Judging commences at 10.30am, with the sale getting underway at 1.00pm.

The pedigree portion of the catalogue will be followed by a sale of cross-bred Simmental females.

Club chairman Richard Rodgers said: “This is an official club show and sale, and customers are assured of quality and consistency.

“They can buy with confidence knowing that all pedigree and commercial cattle have been tested (negative PI) and vaccinated for BVD. Many of the pedigree bulls and heifers featured in the catalogue come from high health accredited herds.”

He added:”Pedigree stock will be veterinary inspected on the morning of the sale, and sold under the auspices of the National Beef Association. Bulls will be insured for fertility from the fall of the hammer.”

Catalogues for next week’s sale are available on request from Dungannon Farmers’ Mart on tel: 028 8772 2727. For further information on the Simmental breed in Northern Ireland contact club chairman Richard Rodgers on mobile: 07712 894727, or secretary Robin Boyd on mobile: 07799 346784.