Despite strong competition for superior quality calves and top prices of £5600, £4600 and £4000 at the Thainstone Spectacular show and sale, overall bullock and heifer averages mostly slipped on the year.

While heifer improved by £10.96 per head to level at £1994.71, bullocks slipped £335.38 to £1393.04. The sale of 49 head which saw 41 change hands also saw averages per kg fall on the same sale last year with heifers levelling at 421.8p, down 27.9p per kg, while bullocks cashed in at 327.2p, back 79.2p.

It was nevertheless a cracking day for Orkney breeder, Balfour Baillie, brother Hamish and their father Jim, when they sold eight of their nine calves of which two topped the sale at £5600 and £4200.

Dearest was Mr Baillie's second prize Limousin heifer from Sebay View, Tankerness, an April 2018-born heifer that passed the weighbridge at 498kg. Producing a personal best for this 80-cow herd was the second prize winner to both the Orkney County and East Mainland Show champions. One of the first calves sold from the 7500gns stock bull, Ronick Laddie, she is bred from a British Blue cross heifer bought as a bulling heifer from Mains of Throsk, and sold to Donald Morrison, Cairn Nulla, Kinlochbervie, who aims to show her at LiveScot at Lanark and the Christmas Classic at Thainstone.

Ian Millar of Miller Farms, Lurg, Midmar, Aberdeenshire, bought the £4200 calf. This was an end of May 2018-born red Limousin cross bullock that scaled 540kg. He is by Craigatoke Jameson, a 9000gns purchase at Carlisle, that has bred calves to 2200gns, to include last year's reserve bullock and the 2018 County Show champion, out of a British Blue cross cow bred by David and Neil Work, Mains of Drumbreck, Udny.

Mr Baillie's Orkney Show champion, a similarly aged black heifer by Jameson, which stood second in her class made £2500. She weighed in at 540kg, and sold to David and Neil Work.

Later, Stewart and Lynsey Bett, Castleton, Stirling, went to £2100 for an eight-month-old, 356kg Limousin cross heifer from Sebay View, by the 28,000gns Proctors Cavalier.

The judge, Anita Padfield, who together with her partner Paul Barwood, has already exhibited show calves at more than 20 shows this year, bought her choice of champion, a February 2019-born heifer calf at £4000, to take back home to Potter Heidgham, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

"She caught my eye as soon as she came in the ring. She's a great calf – I couldn't fault her," said Ms Padfield, who is a regular buyer here and intends to exhibit her purchase at the East of England Smithfield Show.

Show stopper here was Tracy Jacks, a 347kg Limousin cross heifer by the AI sire, Lodge Hamlet, from Barry Paterson, a joiner to trade who runs just four cows at Cairndaie Croft, Sauchen, Inverurie. This youngster which was bought as a calf at foot from Craig and Katreen Malone, Pitcairn, alongside it's dam, a British Blue cross heifer, is no stranger to the lime-light having secured no fewer than eight calf championships and five reserve commercial cattle titles at shows in the North.

Next at £2200 was the reserve senior champion from Steven Smith, Sunnyhill Croft, Turriff. Previously unshown, this July 2018-born Limousin cross heifer was bought at Forfar in the Spring from WN Lindsay, Cairnleith and sold to the Simmers family of Backmuiur Livestock, Keith, having passed the weighbridge at 464kg.

Mark and Debby Munro, who had seven calves forward from their 130-cow Invercharron herd from Ardgay, of which four secured red tickets, were also in fine form, selling to a top of £2000 for their third prize senior heifer. Another by the AI Limousin sire, Lodge Hamlet, this 605kg April 2018-born heifer was bought

at Quoybrae from Ian Stewart, Reisgill, and went on to with the Young Farmers' North Circuit championship for son Duncan (15). She was knocked down to Marion and John Mackay, Knockaneron, Nairn.

Just behind, on £1850, Blair Duffton, Huntly, bought the first prize September 2018-born heifer from Invercharron. Home-bred and a first prize winner at the summer shows, she is by Powerhouse Lynx, a bull bought at Carlisle for 2000gns that has bred calves to £4000.

Bailea Cavalier, a bull bought privately that kept going until he was 13years of age, having sired numerous show winners, produced the Munros senior champion, a January 2018-born Limousin cross heifer. Second in her class at Nairn Show, she was knocked down to Sheep Park Farms, Bridge of Marnoch, Huntly.


Father and son duo, John and Craig Robertson from Newton of Logierait, Pitlochry, received £1700 for a 505kg, home-bred Limousin cross heifer by Whinfellpark Iago. Born in June, 2018, she stood third in her class and sold to D Lumgair and Son, Gask, Letham, Forfar.

LEADING awards

Unhaltered – Senior heifers born in 2018 – 1 and 3, FA Smart and Son, East Tolmauds, Tornaveen, Torphins, 561kg, £1400 and 574kg, £1380; 2, C Buchan, Nether Saoch, Longside, Peterhead, 528kg, £1180. Senior bullocks born in 2018 – 1, J Munro and Son, Invercharron, Ardgay, 510kg, £1300; 2, WJ Jack and Sons, Woodend, Muir of Ord, 540kg; 3, G and J Greenlaw, Balgarin Farms, Ballater, 390kg, £940. Junior heifers born in 2018 – 1, I Miller, Miller Farms, North Lurg, Midmar, 515kg; 2, S Smith, They Byre, Sunnyhill Croft, Turriff, 494kg, £1180; 3, Smallburn Farms, Plewlands, Duffus, 414kg.

Haltered – Born 2018 – Bullocks – Heavyweight – 1, G Hendry, Heads of Auchinderran, Keith, 644kg, £1320; 2, B Baillie, Sebayview, Tankerness, Orkney, 540kg, £4200; 3, B Paterson, Cairndaie Croft, Auchen, Inverurie, 520kg, £1150. Mediumweight – 1, J Robertson and Co, Newton of Logierait, Pitlochry, 452kg, £1620; 2, JS Baillie and Co, Sebay, 443kg, £1650; 3, W Robertson and Son, Fodderletter Farms, Tomintoul, £1450. Lightweight – 1, J Munro and Son, 438kg, £1350; 2, J Robertson and Co, 433kg, £1250; 3, J Morrison, Newtack, Keith, 437lg, £1060.

Heifers – 1 and 3, J Munro and Son, 585kg, £1650 and 605kg, £2000; 2, B Baillie, 540kg, £2500. Mediumweight – 1, J Munro and Son, 515kg, £1850; 2, B Baillie, 498kg, £5600; 3, J Robertson and Co, 505kg, £1700. Lightweight – 1 and champion heifer born 2018, S Smith, The Byre, Sunnyhill Croft, Turriff, 464kg, £2200; 2, J MacIver, Wester Colfrield, Kinloss, 460kg, £1300; 3, B Baillie, 356kg, £2100.

Born 2019 – Bullocks – Heavyweight – 1, Smallburn Farms, 343kg, £1550; 2 and 3, J Munro and Son, 393kg, £1150 and 338kg, £1000. Lightweight – 1, Smallburn Farms, 301kg, £1300; 2 and 3, B Baillie, 313kg, £1180 and 324kg and £1100.

Heifers – Heavweight – 1, champion heifer born 2019 and overall champion, B Paterson, 347kg, £4000; 2, Dunbeath Farms, Mains Farm, Dunbeath, Caithness, 285kg, £1650; 2, G and J Greenlaw, Balgairn Farms, Ballater, 314kg. Lightweight – 1 and 2, JS Youngson, Westerton, Cullerlie, Echt, 248kg and 311kg.