Meonside herd tops at 6,000gns on debut at CCM Skipton Beef Shorthorn highlight

The Meonside herds top price 6,000gns heifer at the 2019 Skipton Beef Shorthorn highlight
The Meonside herds top price 6,000gns heifer at the 2019 Skipton Beef Shorthorn highlight

A first-time foray south of the border to make its debut at the North of England Beef Shorthorn Club’s 10th annual show and sale at Skipton Auction Mart paid rich dividends for the Meonside herd of Dumfriesshire’s Tom Bradley Farmer when claiming top price of 6,000gns with a prize-winning heifer.

Based at Wester Parkgate Farm, Parkgate, the Bradley Farmer holding led the way on price with a third prize intermediate junior heifer, Meonside Hyacinth Misty, a March, 2018-born roan by Elliot Salute, bred near Kelso by John Elliot, out of Meonside Hyacinth, one of the herd’s best breeding cows.

Stuart and Gail Curries supreme champion heifer at the 2019 Skipton Beef Shorthorn highlight

Stuart and Gail Curries supreme champion heifer at the 2019 Skipton Beef Shorthorn highlight

The heifer, a second prize winner at the Royal Highland Show and also placed fourth at the National Shorthorn Show, created keen interest at the ringside before finding a new home on Ireland’s west coast with well-known breeder Tom Staunton’s Caramba herd in Kinvara, Co Galway.

The Meonside herd also stood reserve female champion and overall reserve champion with a class-winning junior heifer, Meonside Lily May, another well-bred January, 2018, daughter of Elliot Salute, the first bull acquired by Mr Bradley Farmer when the family farmed near the Meon Valley and Hampshire.

The bull travelled with them when they moved lock, stock and barrel to Scotland in May last year and the young up-and-coming breeder has continued to develop the herd, first established in 2004 by his father Simon and granddad Frank. It now has 55 cows on the ground.

The red rosette winner, a third prize winner at the RHS and breed champion at Dumfries, is out of Meonside Lily Jay, one of the herd’s best female lines, made 3,200gns when joining Upper Swaledale hill farmers, Ravenseat’s Clive and Amanda Owen, stars with their large family of the reality tv show ‘Our Yorkshire Farm.’

Pictured with the principals at the 2019 Skipton Beef Shorthorn highlight are, from left, Tom Bradley farmer and Tina Russell with the reserve champion, Rebecca Braithwaite with the supreme champion and judge Bobby Landers

Pictured with the principals at the 2019 Skipton Beef Shorthorn highlight are, from left, Tom Bradley farmer and Tina Russell with the reserve champion, Rebecca Braithwaite with the supreme champion and judge Bobby Landers

Local husband and wife breeders, Stuart and Gail Currie, who run the Beautry herd in Rathmell, near Settle, and stood both champion and reserve at last year’s Skipton Beef Shorthorn highlight, were right on the mark again when landing a second consecutive championship with their first prize April, 2018, junior heifer and female champion, Beautry Tessa Melody.

She is a daughter of Poyntington Himself, an 8,000gns acquisition by the Curries in 2016, who also sired last year’s reserve champion heifer, which went on to sell for a heady 11,000gns, a new centre sales record price. Although the bull has since passed away the family has retained straws to ensure future progeny.

The victor, who was also the first prize junior heifer at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show, is out of Beautry Tessa Flute and was inside her own dam, Tessa X683 of Upsall, when becoming a 4,000gns reserve champion purchase by the Curries at the 2012 Skipton show. The grand dam’s second calf, Hagrid, was also the sire of Kooky Rose, the 2016 Rising Stars champion and reserve champion at the 2017 Skipton sale when sold for 4,500gns.

Melody, whose own dam was described as “the best cow we have ever had” by Mr Currie - she was rated as Excellent two months ago - became the first heifer to be offered for sale from the highly thought of family. She is herself scanned in-calf to Highlee Milo, bought privately by the Curries after becoming a first prize winner at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show.

Tina Russell with the Meonside herds reserve supreme champion at the 2019 Skipton Beef Shorthorn highlight.

Tina Russell with the Meonside herds reserve supreme champion at the 2019 Skipton Beef Shorthorn highlight.

Recipient of the I’Ansons Perpetual Trophy, she didn’t disappoint when selling for second top call of 4,500gns to Gates Farming Partnership in Cold Overton, Oakham, Leicestershire, who were following up on another Currie heifer purchase at the 2018 fixture.

Scottish show judge Bobby Landers, who runs the Cairnsmore Beef Shorthorn herd in Newton Stewart, commented: “The champion was tremendous on her legs. She stood out as being very correct – a really sweet heifer.”

The Curries, who established their pedigree herd at Beautry House in 2010, also achieved an eye-catching 4,200gns sale with another Poyntington Himself daughter, the March, 2018, Beautry Dewdrop Morgana, bred from the Excellent 93 4,000gns Shawhill Dewdrop Fairlady. She found a new home in Scotland with Fintry’s R Taylor and Sons.

The third highest price of 3,700gns fell to a second prize junior heifer from fixture regular, the Rt Hon Gerald Turton’s Upsall herd, Britain’s oldest Beef Shorthorn herd based at The Grange, near Thirsk.

The April, 2018, Ury Maid X1321 of Upsall is out of Ury Maid X328, also the dam of Fergus of Upsall a stock bull now breeding well with the Chapelton herd. By Dingo of Upsall, the heifer was scanned in-calf to Lucca of Upsall and also found a new home north of the border when joining Ayrshire’s W and J Mair.

The Upsall herd was also responsible for a third prize junior heifer, the February, 2018, Grenadier of Upsall daughter, Jilt X1297 of Upsall. She, too, was scanned in-calf to Lucca of Upsall and sold for 2,400gns to M and J Mair of Cummock in East Ayrshire.

The final junior heifer show class for youngsters produced a first and second prize double for a brace of maidens from Scottish father and son, John and Matthew Thomson, who trade as Thomson, Roddick and Laurie and run the Shawhill herd at Newlands, Eaglescliffe, near Lockerbie.

Sailing to the red rosette was Shawhill Mayflower, a May, 2018, daughter of Burnside Elite, a Northern Ireland-bred bull purchased for 8,500gns. The dam, Fieldhouse Charmaine Flo 21, was bred near Masham in North Yorkshire by Willis Graham.

The class winner sold locally at 3,000gns to Clitheroe’s Lister Brown, with the runner-up, Shawhill Marina, another April, 2018, daughter of Burnside Elite, also out of a Fieldhouse dam, Davina F28, selling for 1,700gns to L Falkingham, of Goole.

“Yorkshire-bred Fieldhouse cows are putting a good stamp on our herd,” said Matthew Thomson.

Stuart and Sue Hardcastle, who run the Marrgrange herd at Oxmardyke, Brough, in East Yorkshire, also consigned three Shorthorn bulls and while their 2017-born first prize winner and male champion returned home, the couple, who have been breeding Beef Shorthorns for six years and were offering their first bulls for sale, did sell the runner-up, the June, 2018, Chapeltown Clansman son, Marrgrange Marquis, for 2,300gns to Bingley’s Keith Downs.

Show regular Geoff Riby, who runs the Stonehills herd at Fraisthorpe, Bridlington, also caught the eye with a 3,000gns maiden heifer sale.

Beef Shorthorn maiden heifers averaged £2,287, compared to the previous year’s £2,054, with in-calf heifers averaging £1,604. Show sponsors were I’Ansons Quality Feeds and supermarket group Morrisons.

“This was one of the best shows of Beef Shorthorns to date at the November fixture and although the ringside was selective high-quality well-bred cattle found a ready audience throughout the sale,” said Craven Cattle Marts’ general manager and auctioneer Jeremy Eaton.

A standalone reduction sale of pedigree Beef Shorthorns on behalf of Rumsden Farm in Crowborough, East Sussex, produced the following top prices and averages: Cows and calves to 2,000gns (average £1,750), cows to 1,700gns (average £1,470), heifers to 1,800gns (average £1,130), bulls to 1,000gns (average £805).