Aberdeen-Angus breeders enjoyed a good day for the first of the Bull Sales at Stirling, on Monday, with prices peaking at 25,000gns and an average up £144 on the year.

It was a particularly pleasing day for Barrie Turner, chief executive of the breed who said trade was better than anticipated given the continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

“It was a very, very pleasing sale in spite of the impending parliamentary circus and the risk of a no deal scenario looming,” he said.

“Buyers were more cautious but at the same time, if they know they need a bull to bull cows, they have to buy and they have faith in the Aberdeen-Angus brand and breed which suits a lot of farming systems.”

Backing up these statements, Mr Turner added that the membership was continuing to grow, with just short of 2600 members at present, with 161 having come on board over the past year.

He also highlighted the growing demand for Aberdeen-Angus heifers on the continent which over the past few years has witnessed ‘thousands’ of females bound for France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Romania and Bulgaria, with a surge in demand in recent months on the run up to the UK leaving the EU. Future exports, post March 29, he said will be a lot more costly, with the society having to fork out heavily for new software for new export certification and in the situation of a no deal, unknown tariffs.

However, despite the ongoing political turmoil, there was a strong demand for bulls from UK breeders at the sale, where no fewer than six lots sold at five-figure prices. Overall, 88 bulls sold to average £5887 – up £144 on last year’s sale albeit for 13 fewer, when 101 levelled at £5750. The clearance rate was 74%, which was a rise of 2% on the same event last year.

While trade was decidedly slow initially, it was nevertheless a senior bull that topped the entry, when Linton Gilbertines Elgin, from the Trustees of the Late Gordon Brooke, Upper Huntleywood, Earlston, made 25,000gns to Ewan Brewis, Lempitlaw, Kelso.

“I just liked everything about the bull as soon as I saw him – his breeding, size, power, style and good legs,” said Mr Brewis, who owns the 48-cow Eastfield herd managed by stockman Iain McGillivray.

For his money he gets one of the best bred bulls in the catalogue, an April 2017-born bull from the 120-cow Linton herd managed by Johnny Elliot and brought out by stockman Iain Campbell. A full brother to the 30,000gns Rawburn Emblem that sold to Ballathie, Elgin is backed by Canadian/American genetics on both sides being sired by the Rawburn Enigma and out of Rawburn Ellen Erica.

Placed third in his class at the pre-sale show, by judge Tom Arnott, Haymount, he was first in his class at the Highland and second at the Great Yorkshire, to his herd mate, Linton Gilbertines Powerhouse that sold here for 22,000gns in October.

There were more celebrations to come for the Linton camp with other bulls by home-bred Canadian/American sires, selling at 9000gns and 7200gns, to boost the herd average to £9608 for six bulls.

Dearest was Linton Gilbertines Pheonix, an unplaced junior, purchased by the Holystone Estate, Morpeth. June 2017-born, Phoenix is the first son sold by Rawburn Braw Lad, a bull that sold privately to Andrew Hodge, Rulesmains, while the dam, Linton Gilbertines Peggy, is by Galawater Bentley.

And, selling at 7200gns was Linton Gilbertines Expect, a May 2017-born son of Rawburn Black Watch, a sire used at home on heifers for several years, out of the another home-bred Galawater Bentley daughter. He headed home with Balcaskie Farms, Arncroach, Anstruther, Fife.

There were more Canadian/American genetics behind the second top priced lot at 17,000gns from John and Marion Tilson and daughter Wanda Hobbs’ Wedderlie herd from Gordon, Berwickshire. This was Wedderlie Bright Man, a junior bull by Wedderlie Timaru, a Canadian embryo that sold to the Ballindalloch herd as a five-year-old. His dam, Wedderlie Bright Maid is a Perkhill Eagle daughter out of the 6000gns Rosemead Bright Maid. Niall Dallas, head stockman of the 80-cow Glympton herd, Oxford, was the final bidder on this bull which goes back the 25,000gns Wedderlie Netmark.

On the debit side, Wedderlie forked out 11,000gns for Daniel Whiteford’s second prize winner, Borewell Black Magic. Producing a personal best for this relatively young herd from Borewell, Scremerston, Berwick upon Tweed, was a May 2017-born son of Blelack Explosive, out of Bosullow Blackbird, a Radar grand-daughter.

The first sons of Weeton Evolution, a Warrenho Dalmigavie-sired calf out of Blelack Evora, bought privately from John Loftus, proved popular for Neil and Graeme Massie’s 90-cow Blelack herd from Dinnet, Aboyne, with sons at 15,000gns and 6000gns.

The dearest, Blelack Lord Heartford which stood reserve junior at the pre-sale show, is out of Blelack Lady Heather, a Warrenho Emperor daughter and full sister to the 25,000gns Blelack Lord Hidalgo purchased by Ballathie Estates some years ago. He headed home with Andrew Hodge and his daughter Emma, buying for the Rulesmains herd from Duns, while the five Blelack bulls cashed in at £7455.

The Logie herd from Ellon – now owned by David Stubbs of AJR Farms – enjoyed its best sale too, selling Logie Defiance for 13,000gns to the Allen family of the Stouphill herd from Alnwick.

Their bull, the junior champion and reserve overall at the pre-sale show, is by Rawburn Enoch, a sire that has bred sons to 10,000gns for the 100-cow Logie herd managed by Andrew and James Reid. Full brother to a previous 6000gns bull, this June 2016-born entry is bred from Logie Delia, a Netherallan Peter Pershore daughter out of the 16,000gns Skaill Delia X16.

On the income side, the Allens – William and Kate, son Dallas and daughter Ruth – enjoyed a cracking day, selling their five bulls to average just shy of £6700. Tops here at 10,000gns was their popular reserve senior, Stouphill Mr Peroni, another son of the 7000gns Duncanziemere Jigsaw, a bull that bred sons to a top of 12,000gns, last year to average £7700 for three. He is out of Stouphill Merry Primrose, which is a daughter of the foundation cow, Lakewood Merry Primrose, and was knocked down to Robbie Galloway buying for the Cardona herd at Doune, managed by Ewen Roberts.

Martin McCornick and daughters Gemma and Kate, also came up with the goods with bulls from their 70-cow McCornick herd at 8500gns and 7200gns. The first, from Boreland, Kirkcowan, McCornick Evander, a first prize senior, is the first son sold by the 6500gns Skaill Dino, a prize winning bull bought here in 2014, out of the McCornick Kedge-sired heifer, McCornick Eventer. Placed second at the breed’s Winter National Show, Evander sold north to Orkney with J and R Stranger, South Seatter, Sandwick. The three McCornick bulls averaged £7525.

Later McCornick Kaino, a May 2017-born bull made 7200gns selling to AS Hogg and Partners, Birkenside, Earlston. He is by Halbeath Pentagon, a bull bought privately after the dispersal which has since bred sons to 11,000gns. The dam is McCornick Kim, a Netherton Mr American daughter that goes back to the famous Fordafourie Kim.

Top price for Alan Lawson and son Steven’s Hallington herd from Newcastle Upon Tyne, was 8500gns paid for Hallington Jethro Eric, the first son of the Blelack Prince Consort son, Hallington Eurostar sold. He is bred from the Blelack Prince Consort-sired Hallington Jubilee Erica that bred the 11,000gns Hallington Jack Eric and was knocked down to R Leiper, Bygate, Ponteland, Newcastle.

Two bulls came under the hammer for 8000gns including another from the Hallington herd, purchased by Stobo Home Farm, Stobohope, Peebles, managed by Gary McDonald. Hallington Jericho Eric, by Hallington Emperor, a Blelack Egotist son that stood reserve junior at the Highland Show, is out of Hallington Jubilee Erica, a Peter Pershore daughter and one of 60 cows in the Hallington herd.

Matching that bid was Alastair and Graeme Fraser’s Idvies Private, a second prize winner from the father and son team’s Forfar-based operation. Willie and Helen Brown, buying for their Drumdow herd at Turnberry, Girvan, were the final bidders on this second prize Deveron Latimer son, out of Idvies Privara, a daughter of the privately purchased Shadwell Black Broughton.

The judge, Tom Arnott, Haymount, backed his decision and bought his choice of champion after being most impressed by the top end of bulls forward in each class. Taking his eye was the stylish senior champion, Glassel Jeremy Eric, a March 2017-born bull from Keith and Clare Anderson, Banchory. Producing a first championship here for the family, was a son of the 17,000gns Eastfield Jacobite, out of the top breeding cow, Glassel Julie Erica. He was shown by son Ian and realised 6000gns.

Auctioneers: United Auctions