A far from vintage show of Simmentals met a good trade for the finale of the Bull Sales at Stirling on Tuesday where no fewer than seven entries sold at five-figure prices and to a ceiling of 15,000gns, with three of the lead five from the Stronach family's Islavale herd.

Yet, despite these top end bids, overall averages still slipped by more than £1000 on the year, with 66 cashed at £5178 – the second highest breed average for the most sold through the ring. This figure is down £1009 on the 2018 sale which was also led by an Islavale bull, for three less. Clearance rates were a respectable 65% which was on a par with the remaining breeds.

"We had the best top end trade of the all the breeds and sold the most number of bulls with a better than expected trade, so I am pleasantly surprised given the fact we did not have a vintage show of bulls," said Neil Shand, chief executive of the Simmental Cattle Society.

"In saying that, good bulls were very easy sold and were selling to all areas. Producers were looking for quality bulls with good feet and legs and we also saw a few of the top end sell into pedigree herds which always helps the trade."

The sale on Tuesday was also one of the first from which the society was taking hair samples from every animal forward to check their DNA as opposed to breeders sending in hair samples – a practice paid by the society and one that will continue at all society sales in future. Some 10% of the results – taken at random – will be published, with the remainder stored.

Sire verification of all first calved heifers has also been introduced at a cost of around £20 per head to members, in a bid to protect the integrity of the Simmental breed in the light of the shenanigans occurring in other breeds.

While the breed enjoyed the best of the top end sales, it too struggled like the rest with some bulls changing hands for as little as 2000gns. Anything with size and a bit of shape was selling though, with entries from the Stronach family's 150-strong pedigree Islavale herd from Berryleys, Keith, particularly well sought after.

In all, the family's four entries topped the trade at 15,000gns which added to others at 14,000gns, 12,000gns and 8500gns, saw the Stronachs average just short of £13,000 for four.

Sale leader was Islavale Jackpot, the first son sold off the new stock sire, Corskie Highlander, an Ex92-classified bull by the Ex93 Dirnanean Bradley, and full brother to the 25,000gns Corskie Gingersnap that sold for 25,000gns.

Reserve junior champion at the pre-sale show, Jackpot is out of the Curaheen Bandit-sired cow, Islavale Farrah VG86 and sold to Lachlan Quarm, buying for his Annick herd from Annick Lodge, Irvine.

Sons of Ranfurly Confederate Ex94 – a bull bought at the Dirnanean dispersal for 7500gns that has bred sons to 24,000gns – proved popular selling at 14,000gns and 12,000gns. The dearest, Islavale Jerico, an 18-month-old red ticket holder bred from the Glenturk Premier-sired Islavale Wincey, sells all the way down to Cornwall with pedigree breeders Steve and Gill Gummow, Higher Killaworgey, Blackcross.

Earlier, Michael Logan who runs 250 commercial Limousin cross Friesian cows at Dalfask, Girvan, went to 12,000gns for Islavale Jacob. Reserve intermediate, this beefy boy is bred from the Curaheen Bandit daughter, Islavale Enid.

Curaheen Bandit, a bull bought at Roscommon for €9200 in 2011 after standing male champion was also behind the dam of the 8500gns Stronach bull, when Islavale Joker sold to Morayshire producers, D and DM Leslie, Redhill, Mosstowie, Elgin. The sire is the 15,000gns Atlow Dixon, which has done well for Islavale with sons to 13,000gns.

Robert MacGregor's Team Celtic sold for 11,000gns some years ago has already bred a good half dozen sons at five figures for the Wolfstar herd, and he did the same for his breeder, when the AI son, Team Jackpot realised 14,000gns. The 20-month-old bull from Mr MacGregor's 70-cow herd from just outside Perth, is bred from one of the best females being a daughter of the Tilbrook Noble-sired Team Misty 5, a former junior champion and reserve inter-breed junior at the Highland in 2009. Third in his class, he was knocked down to Bridget Borlase who runs 100 cows in the family's Sacombe herd from Watton at Stone, Hertford and was impressed by the bull's pedigree and figures.

Notably, it was Team Celtic that produced the junior champion and supreme overall for David Hazelton's 22-cow herd from Dungannon, Northern Ireland. His AI son, Ranfurly Jackall J9, which was producing a second championship here in four years for the herd, is bred from the Omorga Murray daughter, Ranfurly Lady Diana 22 Ex90. He made 14,000gns and goes out to work in Adrian Ivory's Strathisla herd from Meigle, Blairgowrie.

On the other side of the equation, Mr Ivory sold his best, Strathisla Jack, one of the first by the 20,000gns Dirnanean Grafter Ex93, for 8000gns to Aberdeenshire producer, M Cruickshank, Parkfield, Old Meldrum. He is bred from the Dellfield Brigadier daughter, Strathisla Foxy's Mira VG88.

John and Grace Houliston and daughter Gayle's small Saltire herd from Drem, North Berwick, produced it's second best sale too when Saltire Judge, a March 2018-born bull made 10,500gns. The bull which stood fourth in his class, is an AI son of Woodhall Ferrari, which bred the family's 14,000gns Saltire Impression, sold here last year, and out of the Popes Barclay show cow, Saltire Felicity. Commercial producer Fraser Stewart, who runs British Blue cross Simmental cows at Balglass, Lennoxtown, forked out the cash.

Polled genetics from Michael Durno and his father Leslie's Auchorachan herd from Glenlivet, also proved popular when Geoff Anderson, manager of the 260 commercial cows at Pitgaveny Farms, Elgin, went to 10,000gns for Auchorachan Juggernaut. This 17-month-old is from the first crop of calves by the polled AI sire, Curaheen Gunshot which made €15,500 at the herd dispersal, and bred from the Ex94 classified Auchorachan Autumn, an Omorga Samson daughter.

Top price for Gerald and Morag Smith and son Dougie's Drumsleed herd from Fordoun, Laurencekirk was 8500gns paid for Drumsleed Jeronimo – one of the first calves sold by the 11,000gns Wolfstar Gordy, which was also by Team Celtic. Bred from equally well known genetics on the dam's side, he is out of Drumsleed Cassie, which is a daughter of the 1998 Highland Show champion, Drumsleed Erin, and sired by Hockenhull Matthew. A red ticket holder from the 19-month-old class, he was knocked down to AD Sutherland, Connachie, Elgin.

The last of the big prices came when Colin Inglis, sold Greencap Jaeger, one of the first by the 8000gns Denizes Fabio, for 7500gns to Dorothy Moffat, Innerwick, Dunbar. No stranger to the show ring, this 20-month-old from Craegorry, Dalachy, Aberdour, was champion at Central and West Fife Show and junior champion at the Royal Highland. A red ticket holder at the pre-sale show, Jaeger is bred from the Kilbride Farm Chieftain daughter, Greencap Fee.

* Simmental females peaked at 3200gns for the pre-sale champion, Denizes Cadette 35, a January 2017-born heifer from the Barlow family from Four Oaks, Leyland, Lancs.

Full sister to the 5000gns Denizes Geronimo, she is by Bosahan Dynamo, a bull that has bred sons to 15,000gns and out of the Ashland Tornado daughter, Denizes Cadette 28. She sold due in January to Slievenagh International to A Stephen, Hatton Cottage, Dallas, Forres.

The same home also produced a 3000gns heifer in Denizes Nelly 7, a May 2017-born heifer by the 12,000gns Derrycallaghan Ernest out of a home-bred Dirnanean Apostle 9-sired cow. She also sold in calf to International and was purchased by Messrs Newton, Mains of Newton, Craigellachie.

The draft sale from Nick and Nadia Gwynne's Chestermann herd from Wigtownshire, sold to 3100gns for Chestermann Wick Nancy 2, a seven-year-old by Kilbride Farm Wick, out of a home-bred Blackford Ringleader daughter. She sold with April-born bull calf at foot by Sterling Empire, and back in calf to the same sire to the Simmers family of Backmuir Trading, Keith.

* Only one Salers bull was sold. Gill and Malcolm Pye's Rednock Mull, a June 2017-born bull from Port of Menteith, is by Rigel Rourke, out of Rigel Ocean, and sold to RH Kennedy, Edinbeg, Port Bannatyne, Bute.