Quality, as opposed to quantity, was very much the name of the game at this week’s Stirling Bull Sales, where commercial and pedigree producers were prepared to fork out the big bucks for the top end of entries with good locomotion, while those that failed to make the grade headed home unsold.

With fewer suckler cows and so much uncertainty surrounding the future of the industry, good easy fleshing bulls with size, shape, breed character and correct on their legs, attracted that much needed premium. But, it was very much a buyers' market.

A cracking show of Beef Shorthorn and Limousin bulls saw averages improve on the year with the former boasting the highest average of the three breeds at £7491 for 47 – up a massive £1794 – and a new high for the red and white native. Such was the demand that no fewer than 10 Shorthorn bulls sold at five figure prices and to a high of 21,000gns. But, with just 66% of the numbers forward finding new homes, again, only the best were making the grade.

Limousin breeders undoubtedly enjoyed the best of the day’s trade, having produced the highest clearance rate at 90% and the second highest average at £7466 for 42 – up £777 on the year, backed up by top prices of 17,000gns on two occasions.

Meanwhile, a far from vintage show of Aberdeen Angus bulls saw averages fall £542 to £6185 and the February sale, is the breed’s biggest sale of the year. In contrast to previous years, when the breed boasts the highest number of five-figure sales, this year saw only four, with a top of 20,000gns paid twice.

The small but select sales of Herefords and Lincoln Reds sold to 4000gns.

Sadly, with a declining suckler cow herd, the common denominator in all breeds was the reduced number of bulls sold in the year.