PEDIGREE: Ballylinney Beef Shorthorns to be sold at auction for the first time

Derek and Cindy Steen with Ballylinney cattle
Derek and Cindy Steen with Ballylinney cattle

A sale of over 150 pedigree Beef Shorthorn Cattle from the renowned Ballylinney Herd will take place at Harrison & Hetherington’s Borderway Mart on Saturday the 14th March.

Owned by Derek and Cindy Steen, of Whitcastles Farm near Lockerbie, this is the first time that stock from this renowned pedigree herd has been available, publicly, through a sale ring.

The unique feature of the Ballylinney Herd is that although the herd has a distinguished pedigree, all are home bred. The sale includes all of the cattle born in 2011, 2012, and 2013, comprising of:

* 50 cows carrying second and third calves

* 20 first calved heifers with calves at foot

* 40 in-calf heifers, due in the spring

* 30 maiden heifers

* 10 bulls including stock bulls Priestland Cain, Junior Champion at Stirling 2011 and Tullycore St David, and 8 young bulls, 3 of which are sons of the renowned Fearn Wyvis

On announcing details of the sale Scott Donaldson, sales director of Harrison and Hetherington’s Livestock Division, said: “Derek and Cindy Steen have always focussed on the commercial aspect of the livestock they rear. Their Beef Shorthorn herd is made up of a marvellous foundation of well grown cows with strong maternal traits combined with tremendous conformation, good legs and feet. Other than a handful of specially selected males left entire, the steers are finished at between 340 and 400 kilos at well under 24 months with 90% grading R4L/4H or better.

“This offering of all of the 2011-2013 heifers as well as a number of top class young bulls, gives an unrivalled opportunity for any existing or new breeders to purchase from a high health status herd with some unique breeding, combining breed character with excellent genetics and a sound commercial emphasis. Although I expect great interest from pedigree breeders, these cattle will suit any commercial beef producer. The cattle from this sale will be available for ‘direct export’ providing an opportunity for buyers to purchase cattle and take them home directly, however interested parties must pre register their interest in advance.”

Starting in Northumberland, Derek and Cindy Steen established the Ballylinney herd in 1998, moving to the Borders in 2000. Over the years, they have continued to build up their stock, and today, they have a total of 140 pedigree-registered cows.

Renowned and well-respected, to date, Ballylinney cattle have only been sold privately as foundation stock or to enhance further some of the finest herds throughout the UK.

Giving further background, Derek Steen said: “Over the years, we have concentrated on improving and developing the herd, finishing the progeny and selling stock privately off the farm for breeding and as foundation stock. Although we have never shown cattle ourselves at shows or society sales, some of the stock up for sale certainly does have showing potential.”

Farming a total of 2500 acres, in the Scottish Borders, the Steen’s have a herd of 400 cattle including Stabilisers and Salers cross Beef Shorthorn suckler cows. They also have a breeding flock of 2,500 sheep.

Commenting in advance of the sale, Frank Milnes, secretary of the Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society, said: “The Ballylinney Herd is one of the largest herds of Pedigree Beef Shorthorns in the UK. This sale gives very significant opportunities for breeders and commercial farmers to purchase top quality functional cattle with an outstanding temperament, ease of calving and the ability to grow rapidly off grass and forage alone.

“Over recent years the Beef Shorthorn breed has seen a resurgence in popularity due to its recognised traits as being a functional suckler cow. The breeds easy calving, fertile, maternal characteristics and their low maintenance requirements have fuelled the breed’s growth in popularity in the suckler cow market. These traits for the functional suckler cows, coupled with the premium paid by Morrison’s for all Beef Shorthorn sired animals is ensuring continued demand.

Those interested in viewing the herd beforehand should contact the Steen’s on 01576 710641 or mobile 07703 581191. Scott Donaldson can be contacted via Harrison & Hetherington on 10228 406200 or 07801 377626.