Averages: Pedigree – 12 bulls, £4208.75 (-£463.75 for four fewer sold); eight in-calf heifers, £2388.75 (+£813.75 for 10 fewer). Commercial heifers – 56 in-calf heifers, £1303.57 (-£469.76 for 26 more); 210 bulling and yearling heifers, £978.71 (-£338.71 for 10 more).

Beef prices at a seven-year low, combined with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, have hit all pedigree cattle sales over the past month and the Salers was the latest victim at last weekend's sale at Castle Douglas

With many suckler farmers already reducing cow numbers and several having dispersed as a result of the continued downturn, the Salers breed which is renowned for it’s ease of calving, saw averages drop in both the commercial and the pedigree bull sections at it’s main sale. Conversely the small number of pedigree in-calf heifers improved by more than £800 on the year, albeit for a smaller number.

The commercial section was most affected which added to an increased entry saw in-calf heifer averages drop by £470 on last year’s flying trade to level at £1303.57, while bulling and yearling heifers fell £340 to cash in at £979.

In saying that there was a 100% clearance in the commercial section, with pedigree bulls and heifers witnessing 71% and 73% of the numbers forward finding new homes.

“Trade was very much weakened by the general lack of confidence in the industry as a result of finished beef prices some £250 per head down on the year and the continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit,” said Robin Anderson, managing director at Wallets Marts.

Speaking after his final fling as auctioneer at Castle Douglas, before moving up to Aberdeenshire as head of operations of the livestock division at Aberdeen and Northern Marts’ at Thainstone at the beginning of December, Mr Anderson pointed out the industry is also suffering from a lack of capital and confidence to invest in the future.

Top price in the pedigree section was 6000gns paid for one of the last bulls in the catalogue, Bacardi Nashville, an 18-month-old entry from Roy and Adam Crockett from Deanfoot, Denholm, Hawick. A son of the French sire, Gulliver, a bull that has bred two previous Highland Show champions and a bull at 15,000gns, Nashville is out of the Seawell Fortune daughter, Bacardi Isla. He sold to Peter Alexander who bought three bulls to cross over his commercial Limousin enterprise based at Mains of Mause, Blairgowrie.

Next on his list at 5000gns was Harestone Magnum, a June 2017-born entry from Aberdeenshire breeders, Neil and Stuart Barclay, brought out by Robert Marshall. Magnum is by Whitebog Convener, a bull bought for 7500gns which is still going strong at 13 years of age having bred last year’s champion that sold for the joint top price of 9000gns. His dam is the imported French cow, Infidele, one of only 15 pure Salers females which run alongside pedigree herds of Charolais, Aberdeen Angus and Limousins at Harestone, Insch.

Second top price was 5200gns paid for retired Tiree vet, Patrick Boyd’s Drumaglea My Favourite. Local breeder Neil Austin, Boreland of Girthon, Gatehouse of Fleet, was the last man in on this 26-month-old son of the French sire Baron. My Favourite is also a full brother to the other 9000gns bull sold here last year being bred from Drumaglea Alice, a daughter of the French bull Variegeois and best female in the 28-cow herd having bred sons to 12,000gns at Stirling.

Mr Boyd’s second bull, Drumaglea Morris, a similarly aged son of the French sire, Bronson that has bred sons to 5000gns, also made the grade, selling at 4600gns. He is out of the Baron daughter, Drumaglea Joanna and headed home down to Devon with John Heard, Hughslade, Oakhampton.

Females were led by the production sale from Colin McClymont’s Cuil herd from Palnure, Newton Stewart. Tops here at 2800gns was Cuil Nina, a February 2018-born in-calf heifer purchased by Isle of Man breeder, Trevor Quirk who also bought another four Cuil heifers. Nina is by the 12,000gns Drumaglea Kingpin bull bought at Stirling and bred from the Ballymackeogh Leo daughter Cuil Hannah. She sold due in May to Cuil Malta.

Next on Mr Quirk's list at 2400gns was Cuil Nigella, a rising two year by Kingpin bred from the Ballygar Galway-sired Cuil Flo. She sold due in April again to Malta.

Second top price amongst the females was 2700gns paid for Cuil Meryl, a two-year-old by Knottown Nector, a bull imported from Southern Ireland by Colin's father, the late Graham McClymont, and bred from Cuil Eadie, a Cleuchhead Xerox daughter. She was purchased by WK Blair, Parkhead Cottage, Kilry, Blairgowrie, and again sold due to Cuil Malta, to calve in March.

Mr McClymont also enjoyed the best of the trading amongst the commercials, producing the champion pen in the shape of five yearlings which sold to the pre-sale judge, David Wilson, Kirkmabreck, Creetown, for the top section price of £1600 per head. Overall, Cuil sold 39 mostly yearling heifers to average £1247.69.

Top price amongst the cross-bred heifers was £1700 paid for a pen of four in-calf heifers from Roy and Adam Crockett, which sold due in April to Toquhan North Star, a bull bought privately from Andrew Sleigh. The buyers were JR Graham and Partners, Greenshields, Biggar.

Auctioneers: Wallets Marts.