Lacklustre day at bull sales in Stirling

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THE top price for Aberdeen-Angus bulls fell far short of the 60,000gns reached 50 years ago – still a record for the breed – at the annual spring sale of bulls yesterday at Stirling.

Buyers from the USA and South America led the trade in 1963 when the infamous Lindertis Evulse – a bull which subsequently proved infertile - sold for £63,000 but yesterday it was left to home buyers to fuel a lacklustre trade although there was a smattering of foreign visitors present from Germany, Denmark and Italy.

Yesterday’s trade saw only five five-figure prices, with a top of 18,000gns for the reserve supreme and intermediate champion at Monday’s show, the 21-month-old Morven Kyle L743, from Neil Massie, Jun, Logie Coldstone, Aberdeenshire, but brought out from the Massie family’s nearby Blelack herd.

New breed president, Russell Taylor, Moncur, Inchture, said trade for good commercial bulls was remarkably strong but the final average had been adversely affected by a reduced number of bulls sold at high prices for pedigree breeding and a tail of poorer quality bulls which had failed to find buyers. He said 15 bulls had been rejected under a new pre-sale inspection which, he felt, would have to be even more stringent in the future.

Massie’s winner, sired by Blelack Evolution J140 and packed with top American genetics on the dam’s side, was bought by leading breeder, Alastair Fraser, Newton of Idvies, Forfar, who spotted the bull on his arrival at Stirling on Saturday and was determined to buy him.

The bull boasts a terminal sire index of +49 and a self replacing index of +59. But there were gasps from the ringside at Monday’s show when judge Angus Stovold, from Surrey, who retired as breed president on Sunday, overlooked the Morven bull and awarded the supreme award to an entry from the Norfolk herd of the Saudi-based Maktoum family of horse-racing fame. Their winner, Shadwell Excalibur L552, a 16-month-old son of the former Blelack herd sire, Netherallan Peter Pershore E052, realised only 7,000gns to J Walker and Sons, Sauchenbush, Echt, Aberdeenshire.

And it was the Massie family who claimed the next two highest prices when they sold two sons of the home-bred Blelack Equity J127 for 11,000gns each, the second prize Blelack Lord Handsome L739 going to Jonathan Doyle, Northern Ireland, and the first prize Blelack Justin Eric L772 to Rognvald Sinclair, South Unigarth, Sandwick, Orkney.

Blelack also sold a son of the Netherallan sire, the 21-month-old Blelack Jupiter Eric L707, at 10,000gns to David Walker, Galcantray, Nairn – a member of the Walker’s shortbread dynasty – and the same price was obtained by Macmerry-based specialist catering butcher, John Gilmour, who sold his senior champion, Belhaven Dryburgh Abbey L344 – by the same sire – to Aberdeen builder, Kenny Pratt, Oldtown, Peterculter.

Gilmour also sold his female champion at 8,200gns to Marsdens Farms, Sheffield, who also paid the top price for females of 16,000gns for a five year old cow from John Elliot, Roxburgh Mains, Kelso.

The average for Aberdeen-Angus bulls was up by more than £100 on the year to a record £5,182 but only 103 bulls changed hands compared with 140 last year.

Trade for Beef Shorthorn bulls slumped from last year’s record of £4991 for 71 to £3820 for 47 head. Top price was 8,500gns for the 22-month-old Burnside Elite, a first prize winner by Creaga Dice, from William and Jill McAllister, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Buyer was John Thomson of Thomson Roddick and Laurie, Newlands, Eaglesfield, Lockerbie. This was followed at 8,000gns paid by W S Robson and Sons,Yatesfield, Otterburn, Newcastle, for the champion, Chapelton Exemplar, a 22-month-old son of Chapelton Typhoon, from Donald Biggar, Chapelton, Castle Douglas.