Record bull price claimed

A TWO-YEAR-OLD Aberdeen-Angus bull has this week been sold privately to an American buyer for what is claimed to be a UK record price of 75,000gns.

The existing record price at open public auction has stood for almost 50 years since 1963 when Lindertis Evulse was sold at the Perth sales for 60,000gns.

This week's sale of Balmachie Black Bear H050 by Messrs J F Lascelles, Balmachie, Carnoustie, marks a new milestone for the Aberdeen-Angus breed and a re-opening of the export market to the USA, which was a leading destination for Aberdeen-Angus bulls in the 1950s and 1960s.

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"This is a major breakthrough for Aberdeen-Angus in the UK and we are delighted to have achieved this sale," said John Lascelles, Jun, who has paraded the bull to championship success at three top shows over the past year. "The buyer first saw the bull at the Royal Highland Show last June and has been relentlessly trying to buy him ever since. I am pleased that we have been able to retain the UK semen rights so the influence of this outstanding young bull will not be lost to the UK."

Black Bear, a son of one of the leading sires in the breed, Rawburn Lord Ross C126, has been in the championship line-up every time he has been shown, winning the reserve supreme championship at the Scottish National Calf Show as a ten-month-old calf in 2008, the junior and reserve supreme championship at the Highland last June, culminating in the supreme championship at the National Calf Show at Carlisle in October. The judge at both the Highland and Carlisle shows, Alastair Fraser, of Newton of Idvies, Forfar, Angus, said the bull "had it all".

"He has power, length and great locomotion and will certainly be a bull to watch in the future," said Fraser.

The bull also has excellent growth figures being well above breed average at 200, 400 and 600 days for weight gain, eye muscle, retail beef yield and leanness.

Buyers, husband and wife Jackie and Kelly Grisson of 8G Angus near Dallas, Texas, have leading herds of both Angus and Brangus (Brahman x Angus) and have built up a strong export trade in semen to Brazil and Venezuela. Jackie Grisson saw the bull at the Highland Show and returned for the Calf Show in October determined to buy him.

"American breeders are tending to breed smaller Aberdeen-Angus these days and she was keen to buy a bull with greater growth potential to suit the conditions in their part of the US," said Lascelles.

The bull will remain at Balmachie for showing at the Highland in June before being sent to UK Sire Services in Devon for semen collection. He will then be shipped to the USA and Lascelles has been asked to show him at the Houston Show.

The Lascelles will be hoping to repeat their success of last year at the Highland where they carried off the supreme championship with the 22-month-old bull, Balmachie Keystone G041, sold at Perth the previous February to Adam and Pip Robson, Chathill, Northumberland, for 13,000gns. The Grissons have also purchased semen from this bull.