A LONG winter coupled with hefty fodder and bedding prices impacted the sale of Simmental bulls at Stirling on Monday, where 116 cashed in to average £5477 having met a clearance of 82%, which compares to 112 at £6066.

This, said the society’s chief executive, Neil Shand, is all down to rain, straw, silage and hay: “The price of the winter really affected the trade today, and the winter hasn’t even finished yet. There were a lot of bulls away between 4000gns and 7000gns, so the commercial boys were working to a budget.

“But money’s tight, and if you’d offered that clearance rate in the current climate to us last night, we’d have bitten your hand off.”

The celebrations started early for the Stronach family – Stewart, son Stewart and his partner Fiona Sutherland – when their Islavale herd secured a number of prizes throughout the show before they led the sale with bulls at 24,000gns and 16,000gns. Their leader was a bull with a proven show record as Islavale Heston stood reserve senior champion at the Stars of the Future Show back in November before he scooped the reserve junior ticket on Sunday. He is among the first crop of bulls by the Ranfurly Confederate bull bought at the Dirnanean dispersal for £6800, whose first crop, which were mostly heifers, will be retained in the 140-cow pedigree herd that runs alongside a commercial herd of three-quarter Simmental females at Berryleys, near Keith. Born in September, 2016, Heston is just a heifer’s calf out of Islavale Fran, which is in turn by the €9000 Curaheen Bandit bull that has produced sons to 16,000gns. With the bidding rising rapidly, Heston was knocked down to Richard McCulloch, of the Overhill House herd near Armadale, West Lothian.

“He really caught our eye when he entered the sale ring,” said Mr McCulloch, who was buying the bull to work in his 140-strong herd managed by new stockman, Cammy Jackson. “He’s very mobile and square-bodied with a good head and strong colour. He’s got good breeding behind him too which is different to what we’ve got at home, so he’ll add something new to the mix.”

The Scottish Farmer:

          Islavale Harvest, 16,000gns

Just a few lots early, another Confederate son that stood second in the same class when paraded by Lauren Stronach and Ellie Sutherland realised 16,000gns when snapped up by the Robson family for their Kilbride Farm herd across the water near Ballyclare, County Antrim. Islavale Harvest is another’s heifer calf, this time out of Islavale Flower, a daughter of the Woodhall Walker bull bought as a calf at foot a few years back that has since sired sons to 10,000gns.  

The Scottish Farmer:

          Islavale Hugo, 10,000gns

It was the turn of the Stronachs’ senior and overall champion next when, despite initially going unsold, he attracted a final bid out the back of 10,000gns and heads to Whiteknowes, Deskford, Cullen, Buckie, with the Barclays. He offers different breeding to the former two as the 23-month-old is among the first crop by the home-bred Islavale Echo, which goes back to Curaheen Wakeman, while the dam is the Chestermann Varney-sired Islavale Emblem.

With a string of 13 bulls selling to average £8489 when ably helped by Kyle Cooper, Richard Davidson and Garry Patterson, while the irreplaceable Calum Gill looked after the stock at home, the Islavale team welcomed a further 7000gns for the blue ticket holder, Islavale Hero. Another 23-month-old, this Celtic Comet son is out of the Woodhall Walker-sired Islavale Emerald, and heads to a new home along the road at Pitgaveny Farms, Elgin.

Also hitting the 7000gns mark when sold to near neighbours, Phil and Symon Simmers, at Backmuir, Keith, was Islavale Hamilton, another second prize winner but this time by Atlow Dixon, which was purchased for 15,000gns when he stood supreme champion at Stirling and has since produced sons to 12,000gns. His dam, too, has produced the goods as the Glenturk Premier-sired Islavale Whoopi has sons working in pedigree herds at Delfur and Wolfstar.

The Scottish Farmer:

          Camus Harold, 12,000gns

Northern Ireland breeders, Harold Stubbs and grandson Alan Burleigh, of the Derrycallaghan herd on Innisrooisk Road, Crummy, are usually in the prizes at Stirling and this year was no different as they secured the intermediate championship before selling their entry for 12,000gns. What was different this year, however, is the fact their success was with a bought-in bull in the shape of Camus Harold, which was bought privately from his breeder, Joe Campbell, who had used him on couple heifers before selling him on. Bred from the polled cow, Camus Easter, herself a daughter of Dirnanean Apostle, this July, 2016-born son of Kilbride Farm Newry was snapped up by Jim and Vikki Wood, buying for their Popes herd at Dutton, near Preston.

The Scottish Farmer:

         Kilbride Farm Haka, 10,000gns

Going some way to cover their earlier purchase, the fifth and final bull to break the five-figure barrier when sold north to Corskie with the Green family was Kilbride Farm Haka, a first prize winning junior from the Robson family – Billy and sons, Michael and Norman, together with Michael’s son Matthew and help from Louise Allan. He’s from the best of Kilbride Farm bloodlines, being by the home-bred Kilbride Farm Warren, which was used at home and bred the 18,000gns Kilbride Farm Doubleaction sold to Blackford before he realised 9500gns himself. His dam is Kilbride Farm Eunice 145D, a daughter of  Crugmelyn Brenin.

The Scottish Farmer:

          Blackford Hurricane, 9000gns

Bridget Borlase, of the Sacombe herd in Hertfordshire, paid 9000gns for the sole entry from the judge, Anne MacPherson, who runs 25 cows near Croy, Inverness, together with her father Billy, and husband Raymond. Their 19-month-old Blackford Hurricane is backed by money making genetics, being by the 16,000gns Hockenhull Waterloo that also sired the record-holding 45,000gns Bel Dhu Capercaillie, while his dam, Blackford Walnut, goes back to the former Perth champion, the 10,000gns Kilbride Farm Strabane, which has in turn bred sons to 16,000gns.

The Scottish Farmer:

         Woodhall Hugh, 8000gns

Having met a good trade at the major herd reduction earlier in the day (see separate report), entries from the late Hector Macaskill’s Woodhall stable were in the money as bulls from the herd near Innerwick, Dunbar, reached 8000gns, 7500gns and 7200gns. Dearest when sold to Delfur Farms, near Rothes, Aberlour, was Woodhall Hugh, which boasts overseas genetics as he’s by the €7000 Curaheen Emanuel while his mother is Woodhall Dee, by the Danish bull, Steinadler.

Later on in the sale, the McGowans, of the Incheoch herd near Altyh, paid 7500gns for Woodhall Herbie, a second prize winner by Knockreagh Dandy. His dam line is full of home genetics as Woodhall Woodhall Cecily is by Woodhall Volvano.

Also in the money for herd that now numbers just a handful of females managed by Fiona and daughter Jenny, was Woodhall Hadrian, another second prize bull which this time heads to a new home at Cushnie Farms, Wardes, Kintore, Inverurie. There’s yet different genetics behind this lad as he is by the Danish AI bull, Linde General, while his dam, Woodhall Dahlia, is by the Raceview All-Star KK bull that has done well in the herd and produced a number of top priced bulls. 

The Scottish Farmer:

        Pitmudie Houston, 7800gns

Sitting in between these prices when sold to the Brown family at Hilton of Culsh, New Deer, Turriff, for 7800gns, was the reserve intermediate champion from Heather Duff and her dad, Arthur. That was Pitmudie Houston, one of the first sons sold by the 7800gns Overhill House Eragon, with three more due to be sold in May. This prize winner from the Royal Highland and the Scottish National, is out of a purchase from the Leading Ladies sale at Carlisle in the shape of the Omorga Volvo daughter, Manor Park Babe, one of 60 breeding females in the Brechin-based herd.

Another red ticket holder was next in the trade stakes at 7500gns when Wolfstar Humdinger from Alex and Ross King sold to Colin Inglis, who was buying for his Greencap herd at Craegorry, Aberdour. Humdinger is a full brother to the 11,000gns Wolfstar Gordy sold to Drumsleed last year, being by Team Celtic and out of the Hiltonstown Soloman-sired Wolfstar Wannabe, who now has three sons working in pedigree herds.

The father and son team from Ormiston, East Lothian, also received 7200gns for Wolfstar Hendricks, another by the 11,000gns Team Celtic whose first eight sons sold at auction to average more than £10,500. Forking out the cash for this lad, which is bred out of the Dirnanean Vincent-sired Wolfstar Beauty, was R Forrest, Preston, Duns.The Scottish Farmer:

          Corksie Harry, 7500gns

The junior champion with a proven track record in the show ring then sold to Newton Farms, Craigellachie, Aberlour, for 7500gns. That was Corskie Harry from the Green family, Nan and Jimmy, son Iain and daughter Laura, from near Garmouth, Fochabers, who were helped as usual by stockman Robert Taylor. This overall Young Farmers’ champion from the North-east circuit is out of the family’s show cow, Corskie Blossom 10, by Ballinalare Farm Nightrider, while his sire is the 22,000gns Dirnanean Bradley that went on to win at the Highland in 2014.

John and Michael Barlow’s Denizes Hero, a red ticket holder, was the second of five bulls to sell with a 7000gns price tag and is sired by the Bosahan Dynamo bull that also sired the lads’ 15,000gns Denizes Gallant sold in February last year. Used at home in the herd at Four Oaks, Walton Lane, Leyland, he is a heifer’s calf out of Denizes Melody 18, an Ashland Tornado daughter. Hero heads to the North-east to work at Andy Anderson’s Smallburn Farms, Plewlands, Duffus.

Also hitting the 7000gns mark was the sole entry from Kenneth Veitch, but it wasn't one of his own breeding as Coolcrannel Hero was originally bred by W Phair. Selling north to Orkney with D Isbister, Oldhall, Stromness, he combines Dermotstown Delboy on to the Drumlone Anchor daughter, Coolcrannel Fiona.

It was a good day for the society’s chief executive too, as Neil Shand received 7000gns for his Cairnorrie Hulk, which is backed by the home-bred sire, Cairnorrie Flintstone. Bred from the Brinkton Major-sired Burghbridge Vicky 2 in the herd near Methlick, Ellon, he heads to work at MacFarlane Farms, Quixwood, Duns.

The Scottish Farmer:

        Strathisla Honesty's Twiggy, 6800gns

Females were in the money too as a special offering to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Strathisla herd saw entries hit 6800gns, 6000gns and 5800gns. Notably, all of these were sired by the 14,000gns Islavale Donald, of which four sons sold in October to average 8500gns, and most were PD’d in calf to last year’s intermediate champion, the 20,000gns Dirnanean Grafter. Selling for 6800gns to Harte Farms, at Leonards Island, Clones, County Monaghan, was Strathisla Honesty’s Twiggy, a rising two-year-old bred out of a Dressogie Victorious daughter from the prolific Twiggy line which has produced bulls to 11,000gns.

At 6000gns, the similarly aged Strathisla Hawthorn’s Harriet also heads across the water to Maghereagh Lane, Randalstown, County Antrim, with G and J McCammond. She’s out of an Omorga Samson-sired ET, of which a couple heifers and bulls were retained by Adrian Ivory to join the Strathisla herd.

Strathisla Humble’s Harriet heads down to the Cornwall-based Sowenna herd with KC and P Hawkey, Higher Tregolls, St Wenn, for 5800gns. She was also in calf to either Dirnanean Grafter or Woodhall Ferrari.

Garry Patterson paid 4000gns to take Strathisla Hippie’s Geraldine, another by Donald and in calf to Grafter, north to join his Aultmore herd at Upper Forgie, Keith.

The collective sale of females peaked at 4000gns for the reserve champion from Jim and Patricia Goldie, which was paraded by son Neil. Their Newbiemains I’m Brilliant, a yearling which stood second on her only other outing at the Stars of the Future, is backed by home genetics, being by Newbiemains Empire and out of the Monaduff Vision-sired Newbiemains Blinking Brilliant, one of the best lines in the Annan-based herd. She caught the eye of JH Logan and Co, and heads to a new home at Dalfask, near Girvan, Ayrshire

Keep an eye out in the February 24 issue of The Sf for all the leading awards and reports of the other breeds at round two of Stirling Bull Sales.