AVERAGES improved across the boards at the Luing Cattle Society's Premier sale at Castle Douglas, where an increased entry of bulls and a reduced number of females met a strong demand for regular buyers and new. 

The sale also welcomed three new consignors which were hoping to reap the rewards of their investment into the breed during the last few years.

"There was a steady trade throughout with an extra five bulls sold on the year," said the society's chairman, Dave Stanners, of the Tynedale herd. "This shows the fairly big demand for the Luing as people are looking for easy to handle cattle, that are easy fleshing and naturally doing."

The top price of 8500gns was paid for one of two bulls forward from founders of the breed, the Cadzow Brothers, from Ardlarach, on the Isle of Luing, who were helped by new stockman, Euan Ferguson, who was full of praise for the herd he has to work with. Their leader was Luing Viking, a 23-month-old dark red lad that is the dearest to sell so far by the home-bred Luing Nero, himself a Wooplaw Heriot son from the Callum family that has bred heifers retained in the herd as well as more bulls for future sale. Said to always have the 'X factor' and real presence as a calf, Viking is bred from a Luing Denziel-sired cow from the Achfolla line that scored 10s and 9s in her dam classification. He caught the eye of Bruce Gilchrist and heads to work in the Floors herd at Rawburn, Longformacus, Duns. 

The Scottish Farmer:

          Finlarg Viscount made 7500gns

Next best at 7500gns was one of three bull entries from husband and wife team, Robert and Hazel McNee, who run 180 Luings at Over Finlarg, near Tealing, of which 120 and bred pure and the remainder to the Simmental. Their Finlarg Viscount offered some different genetics to the other Finlarg bulls as he is the first sold by the 3800gns Lochbroom Royal, of which heifers have been retained. Selling to Neil Anderson, who was buying of behalf of Professor Penny's Harehead unit at Cranshaws, Duns, the 21-month-old Viscount is just the second calf bred from Finlarg Bracklinn, a Benhar Lennox daughter. 

That Benhar Lennox, which sired the 11,000gns Finlarg Senator sold in 2016, was the sire of the McNees' next top lot at 6500gns, Finlarg Vulcan. A month older than his byre mate, he is out of the Benhar Dynamite-sired Benhar Bounty K2, and was snapped up by R Sutherland at Outchester Farms, Northumberland.

The Scottish Farmer:

          Selling for 7200gns was Harehead Viper

Helping to fund the purchase of the 7500gns Finlarg Viscount, 93-year-old Professor Penny, who still takes great interest in the goings on at Harehead, enjoyed a good day's trading with five bulls selling to average £6258, having hit a top of 7200gns for Harehead Viper. Brought out by Neil, with help from stockman Ronnie Wylie and part-time hand, Patrick Anderson, their Harehead Viper is a son of the 8000gns Finlarg Nero that also sired the 17,000gns Harehead Sivivatu sold two years ago. Born in April, 2016, out of a home-bred dam that goes back to Benhar Flint, a 7000gns purchase that put a stamp of good feet in the herd, he was knocked down to W and J Tweedie, of Brownsbank, Biggar.

The Scottish Farmer:

          Harehead Vegas realised 7000gns

Just behind on 7000gns when sold to Roy and Andrew McNee for their Benhar herd at Woodend, Armadale, was the similarly aged Harehead Vegas, another by Finlarg Nero but this time out of a home-bred daughter of Milkieston Laurdrup, one of 300 Luings at Harehead, of which 180 are pure. 

Just a few lots later the Harehead team sold another son of Finlarg Nero to D Hysop, at Clydeside, Lamington, for 6800gns. Another born in April, 2016, Harehead Vulcan offers a different dam line, being out of a home-bred daughter of the 14,000gns Nunnerie Harvey. 

The Scottish Farmer:

          Also hitting 7000gns was Benhar Volvo

Another herd to celebrate a good day was the Benhar herd from Roy and Andrew McNee, with assistance from James Wightman, which peaked at 7000gns and also secured the top female price of 2700gns for a pair of in-calf heifers. Their top bull was Benhar Volvo, a bull already tried and tested at home which is by the aforementioned Benhar Lennox that has bred exceptionally well in both the Benhar and Finlarg herds. Selling to Alan Cowens, buying for Philiphaugh Estate, Thirlawdean, his dam is the Merkland Amos-sired Benhar Lily D32, which also produced the 7500gns Benhar Jaguar. 

The Lily D32 cow also featured in the pedigree of the next highest lot from Benhar as she bred the dam of the 6500gns Benhar Velvet in the shape of the Merkland Compo-sired Benhar Lily F701 in the 180-strong herd. He is another son of Benhar Lennox and heads to work at West Preston, Kikbean, for Stephen Murray's Rockcliffe herd. 

New consignor Phil Simmers saw his Backmuir Vinny go through the ring unsold, but later received 6000gns for him from PA Murray, High Ersock, Whithorn. This lad is by the 6800gns Harehead Rodger bought in 2015, which the dam is a College-bred cow by Crofts Hunter, from the expanding herd at Backmuir, Keith. 

Three from Willie and Billy Graham's 55-cow Craigdarroch herd from near Sanquhar, Dumfries, were in the money, with the dearest at 6000gns selling to CM Reid, Boreland, Eddleston. Brought out by stockman Ally Smith, that was Craigdarroch Vamp, a son of the 9000gns Finlarg Nimrod that bred last year's 6800gns Craigdarroch Torres, while the dam is a home-bred Harehead Jake daughter. 

Selling for 5500gns to Billy Renwick, Craig Douglas, Yarrow, was Craighead Vinnie, which features similar breeding to the former, being by Finlarg Nimrod and out of a home-bred Harehead Jake daughter.

That same cross produced the 5200gns Craigdarroch Vegas, which was snapped up by Landale and Co, Dalswinton. 

The last bull to break the 5000gns barrier when sold at that price was Silwick Vaslav all the way from Brian Ridland, Aikerness, Evie, Orkney. He's by the Nunnerie Harvey bull while the dam is the Silwick Hoilter-sired Silwick Kecksie K2. Forking out the cash were Dave and Annabel Stanners, and Vaslav now heads to work on their Tyndeside herd at Low Chesterhope, West Woodburn, Hexham. 

The Scottish Farmer:

        The champion in-calf heifers from Rockcliffe sold for 2300gns

  • FEMALES met a good trade from start to finish, peaking at 2700gns apiece for the very first pair in the ring from the McNees at Benhar. The two heifers from the Misty family are both by Attonburn Nijinsky, which sired last year's 9000gns Benhar Typhoon, and sold to Messrs Burke, Nether Stewarton, Peebles, due in the next few months to Lochbroom Royal. 

Benhar also received the reserve ticket for in-calf heifers, as judged by Douglas McFadzean, of Balado, Kinross, with this pair – one by Attonburn Nikinsky and the other by Benhar Lennox – selling to CM Reid, Boreland, Eddleston, for 2300gns. They were also in calf to Lochbroom Royal. 

The champion pair of in-calf heifers, Rockcliffe Reiver daughters from Stephen Murray, Kirkbean, sold to Sophie McCalrie, Hassockrigg, Harthill, for 2300gns each. They were due to calve from April onwards to Benhar Sheriff. 

Among the bulling heifers it was the reserve pair from Andrew Barr's Milkieston herd from Eddleston, Peebles, that topped at 2350gns. Sired by Harehead Prof, they sold to Messrs Burke, Peebles, who also bought the champion pair – one by Finlarg Nero and the other by Benhar Piper, from Professor Penny, Harehead – for 1900gns. 

Harehead also offered a Finlarg Nero-sired bulling heifer for charity, which raised 1900gns for the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation when sold to Andrew Ewing, at Dumbretton, Annan. 

Second best bulling heifer price of 2300gns was paid for a duo from the Cadzow Brothers, Luing, of which one was from the Ardluing line and sired by Luing Limerick, while the other was from the Achfolla family and by Luing Nero.  

Averages: 31 in-calf heifers, £2355.73 (+£326.98 for four fewer sold); 98 bulling heifers, £1538.27 (+£183.48 for 40 fewer); 28 bulls, £4998.75 (+£32.49 for five more). 

Auctioneers: Wallers Marts