The buoyant trade for finished, store and breeding cattle over the past year was reflected in record prices for Aberdeen-Angus and Beef Shorthorn bulls at the ‘Perth’ sales at Stirling on Tuesday.
Aberdeen-Angus sold to a top of 18,000gns with the average price for the 144 bulls sold soaring by £404 to £5080 – just marginally ahead of the previous record achieved two years ago.
It’s a long time since the Beef Shorthorn breed was the talk of the Perth sales but the average of the 71 bulls sold wasn’t far behind the Angus at £4991, with a new record price of 15,000gns, surpassing the 14,500gns and 14,000gns paid for the renowned pair, Pittodrie Upright and Pittodrie Uprise, from the Pittodrie herd at Pitcaple in 1948.
Trade was, however, mixed for a mixed show of Aberdeen-Angus and commercial breeders were able to pick up bulls at more modest prices early in the sale. However, the stronger, younger bulls came on to a great trade and drove the average upwards.
Former Scotland rugby captain, David Sole, who led Scotland to a famous “grand slam” victory against England at Murrayfield in 1990, scored another grand slam on his debut at Monday’s show with a bull from his herd at Glenbuchat, Strathdon.
His sole entry, Glenbuchat Bruce K149, a massive son of the £14,000 Deveron Latimer G188, carried off the senior championship and sold privately for 12,000gns after being withdrawn from the ring when bidding reached 11,000gns. Buyer was Bill Bruce, chairman of Scotia Homes, owner of the Logie herd at Ellon, who had earlier bid unsuccessfully on a number of bulls.
Prior to the sale, Mr Bruce also made another private purchase for an undisclosed price, buying the youngest of the Blelack consignment from Neil F Massie and Sons, Blelack, Dinnet. The bull, Blelack Evril K554, is the son of a cow which has already bred sons which sold for 25,000gns and 19,000gns.
Top price at Tuesday’ sale, however, was 18,000gns paid by former breed president, Bob Lane, for his Penguin herd at Wolverhampton. His purchase was a second prize bull, Cardona Potter K703, by Blelack Prince Conqueror G708, from meat wholesaler, Robbie Galloway, managing director of Scotbeef of Bridge of Allan.
This was followed at 17,000gns paid by recently retired First Group chief executive, Sir Moir Lockhead, who, as the president of the Scottish Rugby Union, was still smarting from Scotland’s shocking defeat at the hands of England at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The purchase for Sir Moir’s Glassel herd at Banchory, run by daughter Claire, with 10 year old grandson, Ian Lockhead Anderson, taking a keen interest, was the supreme champion – one of four outstanding bulls by Rawburn Rochester from the Eastfield herd of Ewan Brewis at Kelso.
Mr Brewis was emulating the success of his father, the late Tom Brewis, at Perth 53 years ago when Elevate of Eastfield, was supreme champion and sold for the then phenomenal record price of 25,000gns for export to the USA.
The Eastfield quartet sold for a gross of 55,000gns to average £13,818.75 with the others realising 10,000gns to Ireland, 15,000gns to the Moncur herd at Inchture and 13,000gns to the Unigarth herd in Orkney.
Owner of the Skaill herd in Orkney, Colin Davidson, was also in the money, selling three sons of Nightingale Proud Jake to a top of 16,000gns for the reserve supreme champion to the Carlhurlie herd in Fife.
An all North-east transaction was the sale of a third prize bull, Blelack Lord Hudson K383, by Netherallan Peter Pershore E052, from the Massie’s at 10,000gns to Lord Catto for his Schivas herd at Ellon. Blelack also sold one at 7000gns for export to Germany.
Another Border herd with an impressive offering was the Wedderlie herd of John and Marion Tilson who also sold to a top of 10,000gns for Wedderlie Kallander to Scott and William Harcus, Quanterness, Kirkwall, Orkney.
Setting the new breed record for Beef Shorthorns was a rising two year old bull, Chapelton Dauphin, by Chapelton Typhoon, from former QMS chairman, Donald Biggar, Chapelton, Castle Douglas.
The old-established Chapelton Shorthorn and Galloway herds were wiped out in the foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001 but Donald has since re-established the herd, as well as building up a new Aberdeen-Angus herd, largely on embryos imported from Canada.
The buyers of his top-priced bull at 15,000gns were Bill and James Landers from Newton Stewart.
The Shorthorn breed is enjoying a welcome resurgence in interest which has been boosted by the Morrisons supermarket group paying a premium of 20p/kg for Shorthorn-sired cattle for their new traditional beef range.
Other prices included 10,000gns paid by father and son, James and John Scott, Fearn Farm, Tain, who also sold at 9000gns, and 10,000gns and 9000gns for two from Major John Gibb, Glenisla, Alyth. It is good to see those who have stuck by the Shorthorn breed getting their just rewards.
However, it will not only be the Scottish native breeds that are in demand and the Limousin sale yesterday (Wednesday), and the sale of Simmental and Charolais, in two weeks’ time, will no doubt experience the same strong demand.
It demonstrates yet again that in the better economic times, beef farmers are always prepared to invest in improving their stock.