April 12, 2017 Champion is a Legend

A small but high-quality offering of Charolais bulls saw a high of 3,500gns at the South West Charolais Association’s annual sale at Holsworthy on Wednesday 12th April, where bulls averaged £2,934 with three more sold than last year.

Champion and Top Price Polgoda Legend - 3,500gns

Champion and Top Price Polgoda Legend – 3,500gns

Bidding peaked at 3,500gns for the pre-sale show champion Polgoda Legend from David and Bernadette Stacey, St Austell, Cornwall.  The 15-month-old Legend is bred from a good show line being sired by the Royal Cornwall Show breed champion Balbithan Eria and out of homebred Polgoda Glamoupuss, herself a Royal Cornwall show class winner and he stays local in Bugle, Cornwall going home with HJ Trudgian and Partners.

Reserve Champion Balbithan Mustang - 3,200gns

Reserve Champion Balbithan Mustang – 3,200gns

Just behind at 3,200gns was the reserve champion from Mr and Mrs Andrew White, Swanage, Dorset. Balbithan Mustang is another with show success in his pedigree as his homebred dam Balbithan Flora goes back to the 12,000gns Devon County Show champion Newhouse Benson and he is sired by the 11,500gns Loganbar Goran. This January-2016-born lad caught the eye of GHJ Medland, Peter Tavy, Devon.

Mr Medland was in a buying mood and went on to purchase two more including the first of three to sell for a 3,000gns price tag. Lovistone Leicester who stood third in his class at the pre-sale show is a 15-month-old sired by Balthayock Hamish and was bred and exhibited by Brian Nancekivell, Okehampton, Devon.

Another selling for the same price, from the same home and from the same sire was the November-2015-born Lovistone Leonard, this time out of homebred dam Lovistone Illusive going back to the proven easy calving and short gestation Blelack Digger. Leonard was purchased by AJ and DM Finnemore and Son, Advent, Cornwall.

The final bull to sell for 3,000gns was exhibited by Will Palmer and Son, Truro, Cornwall and was knocked down to A Crane, Kedworthy, Devon. The 23-month-old Springfarm Eldon son Trenestrall Lazie who had been tapped out second in his class earlier in the day by judge John Wylde.

There were just two heifers forward both exhibited by Jane Haw on behalf of Dorset breeders Mr and Mrs Andrew White and sired by the 11,500gns Loganbar Goran. First to sell was the 23-month-old Balbithan Lavender which was purchased by DT Daniel, North Petherwin, Cornwall for 1,550gns. Then moments later Mr Daniel snapped up the slighter younger 22-month-old Balbithan Lenor for the same price.

Average: 9 bulls £2,934; 2 Heifers, £1,628
Auctioneers: Kivells

Champion Presentation with Society CEO Peter Phythian, Judge John Wylde and Bernadette and David Stacey

Champion Presentation with Society CEO Peter Phythian, Judge John Wylde and Bernadette and David Stacey

Show Results
Wednesday 12 April 2017
Judge: John Wylde, Bridgewater, Somerset

Class Two – Bull born on or between 06/05/2015 – 26/12/2015
1st – David and Bernadette Stacey – Polgoda Legend – s. Balbithan Eria
2nd – Will Palmer and Son – Trenestrall Lazie – s. Springfarm Eldon
3rd – Brian Nancekivell – Lovistone Leicester – s. Balthayock Hamish

Class Three – Bull born on or between 05/01/2016 – 07/02/2016
1st – Mr and Mrs Andrew White – Balbithan Mustang – s. Loganbar Goran
2nd – Mr and Mrs Andrew White – Balbithan Macbeth – s. Balbithan Inkleberry
3rd – Patrick Greed – Killerton Macduff – s. Maerdy Eurocrat

Class Four – Bull born on or between 11/02/2016 – 25/02/2016
1st – David and Bernadette Stacey – Polgoda Maverick – s. Balbithan Eria
2nd – Mrs C Clapp – Cove Milkyway – s. Thrunton Fairfax
3rd – Brian Nancekivell – Lovistone Magnus – s. Woodpark Fearless ET

David and Bernadette Stacey – Polgoda Legend – s. Balbithan Eria
Reserve Champion
Mr and Mrs Andrew White – Balbithan Mustang – s. Loganbar Goran

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April 11, 2017 British Genetics Dominate the Irish Sale Trade

Buyers at this year’s Irish Charolais Cattle Society Premier show and sale in Elphin, on the 25 March were looking to purchase bulls with British linage giving high euro star indexes and good calving figures.

Leading the trade at €7,000 was the October 2015 born bull, Drumcullen Longshot. Exhibited by John Fleury from Killyon, Co. Offaly, this catchy bull is a son of the herd’s former stock bull, Vexour Granville. Imported from the UK from breeder Jan Boomaars, Woldingham, Surrey, in 2012 when he was just a year old, Granville has certainly left his mark on the Drumcullen herd, siring a number of high priced cattle in recent years. A second prize winner in the pre-sale show, Longshot sold with a five-star terminal index of €134 and a calving figure of 7.3% to Michael Phillips from County Sligo.

The pre-sale show was judged by Patsy Mc Cabe from the Blakestown herd in county Louth. He found his senior champion in the form of Sionhill Lazer exhibited by the Carey’s from Killucan, Co. Westmeath.  One of the ringside favourites from the moment he entered the ring, Lazer is a November 2015 born son of British bred Balthayock Hamish from David and Nick Walter, Balthayock, Perthshire. He went under the hammer with a five-star terminal index of €129 and a calving figure of just 6.4%. He was knocked down to James Johnston from Northern Ireland at €5,500.

The reserve senior male champion went to another British sired son this time out of Elgin Davinci bred by Roy Milne, Lhanbryde, Morayshire. Westmeath breeder Aidan Farrell was the exhibitor of Williamstown Lenny, a November 2015 born bull who stood top of the line in a strong second class of bulls, but failed to meet his reserve in the sales ring.

Taking home the junior champion of the show was the winner of the last class of bulls, Drummand Master. Just over 13 months old on sale day, this young bull was bred and exhibited by Michael Quigley from Inniskeen, Co. Monaghan.  A son of the UK sire JHC Campbell and Sons’ 18,000gns Thrunton Fairfax, Master exchanged hands at €4,800 to M and P Connolly from Roslea, Co. Fermanagh.

Getting back to the top sellers again, Michael Kavanagh from Brownshill, Co. Carlow was next in line with their first prize winner, Brownshill 14 Major. A pre-sale favourite having won the junior male champion at last year’s National Charolais Show, this January 2016 born son of the British 70,000gns Royal Welsh Show supreme champion Barnsford Ferny bred by Tom and Sheena Gatherer, won his class before selling for €5,800 to Thomas Whitehead, Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny.

Hitting the €4,800 mark was Carrickbrack 96 Maximus exhibited by Noel Maxwell from Convoy, Co. Donegal. This January 2016 born son of the renowned easy calving UK sire Blelack Digger bred by Neil Massie, was one of the highest index bulls catalogued with a five-star terminal index of €153, a five star replacement index of €132 and a calving figure of just 6.5%. This bull’s pedigree is no stranger to success in the sales ring, with full brothers selling for numerous high prices in Ireland and Scotland. He was snapped up by County Mayo breeder Joe Mc Donnell from Louisburgh.

March 29, 2017 WHAT A PARTY!


7694David Benson retirement party held at Gretna Green on 25 March 2017













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March 15, 2017 Mains of Gallery

The Charolais is the breed of choice of the Gammie family and forms the backbone of its respected suckler and finishing business in Laurencekirk, south of Aberdeen.

The Gammie family made the move from Kingswells on the outskirts of Aberdeen down to Fordoun, Laurencekirk in 1971 where father Ronald and his three sons Norman, Douglas and Alastair now farm four units at Hatton Mains, Mains of Gallery, Davo Mains and Easter Tulloch.

Norman, father Ronald, Alastair and Douglas

Norman, father Ronald, Alastair and Douglas

An acreage of 2450 is farmed, with 1100 owned and 1350 farmed under contract. In addition to the 705 acres of grass, a mix of crops is grown including winter barley for feed and this year, field beans will be grown. Wheat and oil seed rape are both sold along with spring barley destined for the malting market.


Mains of Gallery and Davo Mains were best known as dairy farms until the herds were sold in 2002 and 2006 respectively but the suckler herd had been established and cattle finished for a number of years before that.


“We had always finished cattle and set up the finishing unit at Mains of Gallery when we stopped dairying.” says Norman. In the intervening years, the suckler herd has been built up to 400 cows with 150 at Davo Mains and 250 at Easter Tulloch and approximately 1800 head of cattle are finished annually.


Cows are predominantly Simmental or crosses, using Aberdeen Angus or Simmental bulls on heifers. However, the one constant has been the Charolais breed and the business now runs 14 bulls and 90% of calves produced are to the Charolais.


Bulls have their feet checked and trimmed at the end of the year and then receive Harbro Bull Fertility supplement for four weeks before being put to work. Bulls go in with the cows and calves in the last week of March and are kept inside for three weeks.


“We get a much better conception rate because they are not having to chase them round a field. They’ll cover a lot more cows with an 85-100% conception rate first time round” says Douglas.


Bulls come from a number of different bloodlines but one bull in particular, Carscreugh Hernando is readily praised by Alastair as his attributes have shown through well in his calves.


“He is breeding well and has produced good, lengthy calves. He moves well on his feet and is a real stock getter” says Alastair who runs the suckler herd with Douglas.


“His second crop of calves are coming through now. He’s very active and keeps his condition really well” added Alastair. Advocates of the Charolais breed, they all share the view that you cannot beat the breed for carcase weight and speed of growth.


Prior to calving the cows are fed on a ration of silage, draff and Super Suckler SEC minerals with access to ad lib straw. They get extra protein once they have calved, adding some blend and barley to their ration. Access to the same mineral continues over the summer at grass.


The herd is all spring calving beginning in mid-January and this year, two thirds of the cows were calved by mid-February.


“Cows and calves get turned out at the first flush of grass” says Douglas who is based at Davo Mains. “The cows get a flush of milk and by this stage the calves are big enough to take advantage of the increase in milk and are also big enough to nibble at the grass.”


With them being born early in the year, calves are wormed in mid-August and the brothers have seen a big difference in the health of the calves. “Some are bothered with hoast and lungworm which can lead to pneumonia and this practice has helped to reduce stress in our calves” says Douglas.


Calves are creep fed from an early age and right through the summer. “They don’t eat much but it encourages them and they get used to it.”


They move to a rearer ration of 16% protein Beefstock in June at around 4-5 months of age until weaning around 10th October. Stots are weaned first and moved to another farm where they are vaccinated and wormed according to the animal health plan. Heifers are clipped, receive their animal health treatments and are left with their mothers for a further five to six days. Cows are then turned out weather permitting.


Up until 2015, all males were kept entire but last year all male calves were castrated. “Our bulls were finishing at heavier weights so castrating them has been beneficial because of the weight restrictions. The market doesn’t want bull beef and you’d struggle to keep them under 400kg at 12 months.” he added.


“We’ve just sorted out the feeding rations for these stots and it will include Maxammon barley, beans, Harbro blend, draff, silage and Harbro Beefmax minerals with Rumitech and Yea-Sacc” says Douglas.


The heifer ration from weaning to 14 months comprises straw, silage, beans, Harbro blend, Beefmax minerals and barley which has a protein level of 17%. From 14-18 months they go onto a 14% protein feeding ration of straw, barley, potatoes, molasses, Beefmax minerals and Harbro blend.


Once the heifer’s frame has been grown, the diet is adjusted, lowering the protein level and increasing the starch to increase the muscle area and the carcase weight.


A great deal of work is put into the diets, tailoring them to suit the genetics and management of the cattle and the family work very closely with David Mackenzie of   Harbro.


Heifers are reaching 680kg at approximately 19 months (580 days), less their birth weight of 40kg, 640kg over 580 days, achieving 1.1kg/day average.


Bulls weigh in at 700kg at approximately 14 months (427 days), less birth weight 40kg, 660kg over 427 days, achieving 1.55kg/day average.


Eldest son Norman runs the finishing unit at Mains of Gallery and he purchases 1300-1400 head of cattle from Thainstone, Inverurie, Quoybrae in Caithness and across the Pentland Firth in Orkney.


Cattle are bought all year round so that there is a constant product with ABP, Perth being their main buyer. “You need to keep going over the summer to be able to get that rise in price” says Norman.


“I’m looking for cattle that have good length and shape with the potential to gain 170kg live weight. I’m buying in at around 500kg, going to 660-720kg in 110 days (looking to put on 1.5kg/day).”


“Of the cattle bought 80-90% are Charolais crosses and 90% are heifers but whether a stot, a bull or a heifer, the Charolais give you the heaviest weight at the youngest ages” says Norman. “It definitely shows in the kill sheets when you put them away.”

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March 14, 2017 Peter Phythian joins the Charolais Society

Peter March 2017

We welcomed Peter Phythian on his first day at the Society today and he is “very much looking forward to meeting members and working with all members up and down the beef chain – breeders, commercial farmers, auction marts, processors and retailers, and to subsequently making a positive difference.”

Peter is pictured here at the recent Stirling Bulls sales with Jemma Forrest and her Champion bull Edenhurst Leader and retiring CEO David Benson.

Peter brings 35 years of experience of working throughout the food chain – from grass roots to retail. He moves to the post from Eurofins where, as business manager he worked with the global company’s feed analysis, genomics, food legal advice and BRC audit divisions.

He began his career on the family’s Lancashire farm managing both pedigree Charolais and commercial cattle. After graduating with a diploma in agriculture, Peter worked with the Meat and Livestock Commission and the European Food Safety Inspection Services before being appointed MLC Commercial Services’ chief executive. He is a member of the Meat Innovation Group and in his spare time likes to watch Wigan Warriors Rugby League.

March 7, 2017 Future beef farmers = Charolais

6 March 2017

Future beef farmers = Charolais

Future beef farmers are using EBVs and focusing on easy calving Charolais bulls, according to one leading university’s students.

Charolais was the first choice of sire for almost 50% of Harper Adams University final year Foundation Degree students completing an assignment which required a detailed plan for a new suckler herd.

The Charolais bulls they selected had one thing in common, they were all within the breed’s top 20% for calving ease, according to Simon Marsh, Principal Lecturer and Beef Cattle Specialist.

The breed’s popularity has also surged in the last 12 months, he says. In 2016, 39.3% of students responding to a similar exercise chose Charolais.

“This year’s assignment confirmed that the beef farmers of the future are using EBVs and focusing on Charolais bulls with good calving ease,” says Mr Marsh.

HAU student choice of terminal sire 2017

Breed %
Charolais 48.8
Limousin 24.4
Angus 7.3
Simmental 4.9
British Blue 4.9
Hereford 4.9
Blonde 2.4
Others 2.4

Source: HAU


The Harper Adams (4,000 word) assignment briefed students they had just accepted a job as farm manager on a lowland farm and the owner has instructed him/her to establish a suckler herd. They had to write a detailed plan for the herd including choice of breed of cow and bull, calving season, replacement policy, management of reproduction, feeding, grazing management, rearing system of the weaned calves and health plan.

Issued by Liz Snaith Agricultural Communications on 07974 678833



March 3, 2017 Lumberjack axes the competition at Dungannon

There was a steady trade for Charolais at the Northern Ireland Charolais Club sale held in Dungannon on Friday 3 March where the 33 bulls sold topped at 4,900gns with a clearance rate of 77% and a bull average of £2,918.

Prices peaked at 4,900gns for the star of the show who earlier in the day had been awarded the supreme, male and junior championship titles for breeders and exhibitors Harold Stubbs and grandson Alan Burleigh of Crummy, Co Fermanagh. David McIlwaine, Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone was the man with his hand in the air when the hammer went down on the 16-month-old Derryharney Lumberjack, who is sired by the 22,000gns Newhouse Bigal and is out of the home-bred Derryharney Daffodil who goes back to the 15,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Burradon Talisman.

Supreme Champion & Top Price Derryharney Lumberjack - 4,900gns

Supreme Champion & Top Price Derryharney Lumberjack – 4,900gns

Moments earlier the same vendors had secured 4,100gns for Derryharney Lanzac, who had also been picked out by the judge being awarded a yellow-ticket. This September 2015-born lad also boasts an impressive pedigree being a son of the popular AI sire Goldies Eddy and dam Derryharney Ipad, a daughter of the 10,000gns Perth supreme champion Thrunton Bonjovi. He goes on to work for Ian Smyth in Castlewellan, Co Down.

Derryharney Lanzac - 4,100gns

Derryharney Lanzac – 4,100gns

The reserve supreme, reserve male and senior champion Drumlone Landmark was next in the bidding stakes at 4,300gns. The breeding here includes the 25,000gns Stirling intermediate champion Inverlochy Ferdie and the Oldstone Egbert-sired dam Drumlone Edwina. The April-2015 born Landmark was snapped up by David McFarland, Beragh, Co Tyrone from consigner Kenneth Veitch, Lisbellaw, Co Fermanagh.

Reserve Supreme Champion Drumlone Landmark 4,300gns

Reserve Supreme Champion Drumlone Landmark 4,300gns

Adding to Mr Veitch’s celebrations, he also received 3,600gns for the class winning, 14-month-old Drumlone Luckylad, this time sired by the renowned short gestation and easy calving sire Blelack Digger who caught the eye of Sandra Hunter, Bushmills, Co Antrim.

Two bulls were knocked down at 4,000gns the first being the reserve supreme champion from Brian Quinn, Dungannon, Co Tyrone. Hillview Limitededition who had already been successful in the show ring being placed first in his class at last year’s Pedigree Calf Fair, was purchased by ED Sherrard, Belfast. The August-2015-born Limitedediton is out of the Dungannon female champion Ballyreagh Eilsa who goes back to the 18,000gns Perth intermediate champion Fury Action and is sired by the aforementioned Inverlochy Ferdie.

Reserve Senior Champion Hillview Limitededition - 4,000gns

Reserve Senior Champion Hillview Limitededition – 4,000gns

Marcus Smyth, Coleraine, Co Derry was another buyer to bid to 4,000gns this time for Woodpark Leroy ET, a 16-month-old son of the 30,000gns Dingle Hofmeister from Will Short, Omagh, Co Tyrone.

Making 3,200gns for breeders Liam Johnston, Tempo, Co Fermanagh was Mountain Landmark. This 20-month old is the first son to sell by herd sire Aghinure General and was purchased by Andrew McCammond, Cloughanduff, Co Antrim.

Just behind and commanding a 3,000gns bid from Adrian Wilson, Ballymena, Co Antrim was Burnside Lordalmighty who is sired the by 16,000gns Stirling junior champion Clyth Diplomat, while the dam is Sandelford Deva, a heifer by the 14,000gns Goldies Usher. The December 2015-born Lordalmighty was awarded a blue-ticket in the pre-sale show and offered by Brian McAllister and Son, Kells, Co Antrim.

Female Section

Leading the bids for the females at 3,500gns was the blue-ticket winning Battleford Lady from Bartley Finnegan, Dungannon, Co Tyrone. The June 2015-born Lady sired by the 70,000gns Royal Welsh supreme champion Barnsford Ferny and out of the Scottish-bred Balbithan Vespasian daughter Blelack Cerise was knocked down to Kenny Preston, Omagh, Co Tyrone.

Battleford Lady - 3,500gns

Battleford Lady – 3,500gns

Just behind at 3,400gns was the female champion Dartonhall Julie a November-2014-born entry from John Erskine, Killylea, Co Armagh. The man behind the money on this 19,000gns Perth reserve junior champion Corrie Alan daughter was Martin Donaghy, Dungannon, Co Tyrone.

Female Champion Dartonhall Julie - 3,400gns

Female Champion Dartonhall Julie – 3,400gns

Averages: 33 bulls £2,918, nine heifers £2,433
Auctioneers: Dungannon Farmers Mart


Show Results
Judge: John MacGregor

Class One – Bulls born on or between 10/04/2015 – 11/06/2015
1st – Kenneth Veitch – Drumlone Landmark – s. Inverlochy Ferdie
2nd – George Henderson – Sandleford Lawson – s. Conval Frank
3rd – Caldwell McAskie – Rushfield Levi – s. Rushfield Fernando
4th – James McBride – Moorlough Lennon – s. Thrunton Voldemort

Class Two – Bulls born on or between 21/06/2015 – 14/08/2015
1st – Brian Quinn – Hillview Limitededition – s. Inverlochy Ferdie
2nd – Clive Hoey – Rawbrooke Lambo – s. Maerdy Dublin
3rd – Liam Johnston – Mountain Landmark – s. Aghinure General
4th – Gilbert Crawford – Edenhurst Laureate – s. Ratoary Ferguson

Class Three – Bulls born on or between 01/09/2015 – 28/10/2015
1st – Harold Stubbs and Alan Burleigh – Derryharney Lumberjack – s. Newhouse Bigal
2nd – Harold Stubbs and Alan Burleigh – Derryharney Landrover – s. Goldies Eddy
3rd – Harold Stubbs and Alan Burleigh – Derryharney Lanzac – s. Goldies Eddy
4th – Trevor Phair – Brogher Leader – s. Goldies Eddy

Class Four – Bulls born on or between 02/11/2015 – 29/12/2015
1st – Kenneth Veitch, Lisbellaw – Drumlone Luckylad – s. Blelack Digger
2nd – Brian McAllister and Son – Burnside Lordalmighty – s. Clyth Diplomat
3rd – Caldwell McAskie – Mountjoy Limerick – s. Montgomery Ianto
4th – Thomas O’Neill – Glenramble Lucky – s. Blelack Digger

Class Five – Bulls born on or after 03/01/2016
1st – James Watson and Son – Cornascriebe Max – s. Thrunton Flyingscotsman
2nd – Cameron and Katherine Marshall – Crosskeys Monarch – s. Hideal
3rd – James McBride – Moorlough Max – s. Liscally ETI ET
4th – Graham Davison – Ballygargan Major – s. Thrunton Fairfax

Class Six – Females born on or between 07/08/2014 – 01/06/2015
1st – John Erskine – Dartonhall Julie – s. Corrie Alan ET
2nd – Bartley Finnegan – Battleford Lady – s. Barnsford Ferny
3rd – Brian and William McAllister – Burnside Lappy – s. Conval Frank
4th – William Whyte – Innisrush Jemma ET – s. Doonally New

Class Seven – Females born on or between 10/07/2015 – 26/12/2015
1st – Kenneth Veitch – Drumlone Loopyloo – s. Lochend Apache
2nd – Stuart and David Bothwell – Killadeas Lois – s. Conval Frank
3rd – Stuart and David Bothwell – Killadeas Lola – s. Blackford Dynamite
4th – Stuart and David Bothwell – Killadeas Lorna – s. Goldies Usher

Junior Male Champion
Harold Stubbs and Alan Burleigh – Derryharney Lumberjack – s. Newhouse Bigal
Reserve Junior Male Champion
James Watson and Son – Cornascriebe Max – s. Thrunton Flyingscotsman

Senior Male Champion
Kenneth Veitch – Drumlone Landmark – s. Inverlochy Ferdie
Reserve Senior Male Champion
Brian Quinn – Hillview Limitededition – s. Inverlochy Ferdie

Supreme & Male Champion
Harold Stubbs and Alan Burleigh – Derryharney Lumberjack – s. Newhouse Bigal
Reserve Supreme & Reserve Male Champion
Kenneth Veitch – Drumlone Landmark – s. Inverlochy Ferdie

Female Champion
John Erskine – Dartonhall Julie – s. Corrie Alan ET
Reserve Female Champion
Kenneth Veitch – Drumlone Loopyloo – s. Lochend Apache

P1070923 P1070897 P1070889 P1070854 P1070848 P1070846 P1070844 P1070838 16. Surpreme And Reserve Overal Champion 15. Female Champion and Reserve 14. Junior Male and Reserve Champion 13. Senior Male and Reserve Chmapion

March 1, 2017 Charolais set the pace at Aberdeen

Overall champion Strathys Lionheart and Reserve champion Kinclune Laurent, Andrew Hornall,Stuart Allan, Kevin Mallarkey and Judge Tracey Nicol

Overall champion Strathys Lionheart and Reserve champion Kinclune Laurent, Andrew Hornall,Stuart Allan, Kevin Mallarkey and Judge Tracey Nicol

Charolais topped the bull sales at the Royal Northern Agricultural Society Spring Show on Wednesday 1 March 2017. Where 21 Charolais bulls sold to a top price of 8,000gns and averaged £4,170 with a clearance rate of 84% – a massive increase on last year’s 60%.

Topping the Charolais lots at 8,000gns and securing the top price of the day across all breeds, was the reserve breed champion and March 2015-born Kinclune Laurent. D Blair and Son, Balmerino, Fife, liked the look of this son of the 20,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Beechtree George who has sold sons here before to 8,500gns for breeders John Wilson and Sons, Kinclune, Alford, and who in turn is sired by the Royal Show male champion Gretnahouse Archangel.

The Wilson’s, who sold a total of six to average £4217.50 had another Beechtree George son in the money, this time out of a home-bred 20,000gns Perth supreme champion Thrunton Crownprince daughter. Kinclune Legend, a 21-month-old who had been tapped out first in his class earlier in the day, attracted a 4,200gns bid from Messrs Steel, Banchory, Aberdeenshire.

Two bulls were knocked down at 6,000gns a piece with the first being the red-ticket winner and June 2015-born Doon Lancelot consigned by Neil Barclay, Insch, Aberdeenshire. The 16,000gns Royal Welsh Show reserve male champion Anside Foreman is the sire of this Irish-born lad who caught the eye of E Innes and Son, Glenlivet, Ballindalloch. With another two bulls going on to new owners the Harestone herd averaged £4,655 for the trio.

The second call of 6,000gns was paid by DM McCallum, Dingwall, Ross-shire, for the 18-month-old Lettoch Logan. Logan is the first son to sell by herd-sire Killadeas Dwane and is out of Ugie Giselda who goes back to the 14,000gns Goldies Banker for breeders and exhibitors Colin Stuart, Braes of Glenlivet, Banffshire.

The Interbreed and Charolais champion was the next to sell for Kevin Mallarkey, Ellon, Aberdeenshire, who earlier in the day had been honoured to receive their award in a presentation by HRH The Princess Royal. Champion Strathys Lionheart is a 22-month-old first of son of herd-sire Maerdy Harrypotter while the dam is the 30,000gns Maerdy Andes-sired Airdlin Fuzz. E and J Mackie were the last bidders standing and paid 5,500gns to take him home to Fyvie, Turriff.

Two bulls then achieved 4,500gns apiece with the first finding a new home with C Addison and C Chapelpark, Ellon, Aberdeenshire. The June-2015-born Bonnykelly Landlord who stood second in his class at the pre-sale show and whose full brother sold at the same time last year for 5,000gns for Graeme Leggat, New Pitsligo, Fraserburgh, is sired by the 9,000gns New Deer Show Champion Newhouse Challanger and is out of the 10,000gns Maerdy Rumbull daughter Bonnykelly Erin.

Local breeder and first time Charolais seller Neil Wattie, Alford, Aberdeenshire, matched the 4,500gns price tag with Tonley Lavezzie, who has been shown successfully previously attaining reserve breed champion at the Banchory Show and first prizes at the Turriff and Keith shows. The outfit behind the money on this 12,000gns Caylers Hustler son, who at 16-months-old was the youngest Charolais of the sale were TE and M Walker, Banff, Aberdeenshire.

Show Results
Judge: Tracey Nicol, Balthayock, Perth

Supreme Champion Strathys Lionheart

Supreme Champion Strathys Lionheart

Class One – Bulls born on or between 23/03/2015 – 02/05/2015
1st – K & J Mallarkey – Strathys Lionheart – s. Maerdy Harrypotter
2nd – John Wilson and Sons – Kinclune Laurent – s. Beechtree George
3rd – Michael Massie – Elrick Leonardo – s. Thrunton Fearless

Class Two – Bulls born on or between 03/05/2015 – 07/06/2015
1st – John Wilson and Sons – Kinclune Legend – s. Beechtree George
2nd – M Bruce and Partners – Logiestate Lairdoellon – s. Goldies Golddust ET
3rd – Michael Massie – Elrick Lincoln – s. Thrunton Fearless

Class Three – Bulls born on or after 08/06/2015
1st – Neil Barclay – Doon Lancelot – s. Anside Foreman
2nd – Robert Leggat – Bonnykelly Landlord – s. Newhouse Challanger
3rd – John Wilson and Sons – Kinclune Luckylad – s. Kinclune Herbert

K & J Mallarkey – Strathys Lionheart – s. Maerdy Harrypotter

Reserve Champion
John Wilson and Sons – Kinclune Laurent – s. Beechtree George

Society Chairman Andrew Hornall, John Wilson's Reserve Champion Kinclune Laurent, Kevin Mallarkey's Champion Strathys Lionheart and Judge Tracey Nicol -®AnneMacPherson- ANM Spring Show 17-052 -®AnneMacPherson- ANM Spring Show 17-049 -®AnneMacPherson- ANM Spring Show 17-039

February 28, 2017 Charolais Supreme Champion at first Commercial Show of the Year

Star of Future Surpreme Champion

Star of Future Surpreme Champion

A Charolais heifer from the Veitch Family Lisbellaw County Fermanagh, took top honours at the Northern Ireland Star of the Future Commercial Show in Dungannon and went on to secure the top price of the day.

The heifer born in April 2016 weighing 440kg, first won the Charolais championship and is sired by Ashleigh Admiral out of a Lim x BB cow. The heifer is a full sister to the commercial Charolais show champion in Fintona 2014.

Blair Dufton from Aberdeen was the master judge and when picking his supreme champion, commented “I wanted an animal which was well fleshed, well balanced, and walking properly with lots of potential for summer shows and Christmas. This was a real top of a heifer”.

Mr Dufton went on to purchase the mighty stylish calf to take home to Aberdeen for a top price of £3,400. Brigadoon Charolais sponsored the Charolais section and were delighted to see the Charolais sired heifer winning the supreme champion and selling for the top price.

Sponsor Brigadoon Charolias with Surpreme Champion exhibited by Alan Veitch

Sponsor Brigadoon Charolias with Surpreme Champion exhibited by Alan Veitch


February 24, 2017 The life cycle never stops at the McKelvey’s ever busy cattle farm

Thomas McKelvey

Thomas McKelvey

Behind the busy farm supplies operation in Ballynahinch,  McKelvey Bros runs one of the top finishing units in County Down.  Finishing 1000 bullocks and 300 heifers including 1000 head of Charolais last year. The cycle never stops says Thomas McKelvey.

“We graze 400-500, mainly Charolais because they do best at grass.  You can get Charolais finishing at 16-20 months, this is where the breed has the big advantage and passes other continental breeds.  We want weight for age, nothing will beat them”.

The new beef unit was built in 2012, the farm itself has 500 acres.  A total of 260 acres of grass is grazed and McKelvey Bros knows the significant feeding value of grass. The remainder is for cereals and grass silage.

“Buying growing cattle lets us spread the risk.  It lets us utilise the grass better and gives the best use of our intensive finishing”.

McKelvey Bros purchases cattle all year round predominately from  Clogher, Markethill, Saintfield and Hilltown They particularly purchase Charolais in larger batches around the 8-12 months to grow them on grass and have them finished between December and March.

Cattle for grass are purchased in February/ March time, looking for leaner cattle and those which will give the highest feed conversion rate to maximise profit.

“We buy the top cattle at the ringside, within a price range for good commercial cattle. Similar continental cattle can be bought but they do not deliver the same growth and profit as a Charolais”.

“The Charolais has growth, some breeders take them too far, maybe to get a bit more money for them but this leaves the finisher little to gain.  It’s better to sell them in a leaner condition”.

“You have to look at what it costs the breeder to get them heavier, if they are too well fed they don’t do so well.  They lose condition when they go out to grass and they just melt”.

McKelvey Bros tries to keep on top of the market and have a good idea of what happens.  We see gradual changes in the suckler market, cattle being sold at lighter weight – the finisher needs to get their chance to do their bit”.

All cattle at McKelvey’s farm are weighed on arrival and treated for IBR, Blackleg, worms and fluke.  Marker tags are put in all cattle for easier identification and herd management.

The ration remains the same wheat, barley, sugar beet pellets and maize meal mixed in the diet feeder with silage,straw and vegetables.  This mix would be fed at 4.5kg per head up to 7.5kg at finishing time.  Cattle are fed twice a day, morning and a fresh run at lunch time bringing the cattle forward.

With the new reduced weight limits,  McKelveys don’t want the cattle  going over 700kg and incurring a penalty. So at 500kg they are put  on the finishing ration.

Thomas says good minerals help with weight gain.  “It helps  to keep them leaner and in the better grades”.

Two loads of washed vegetables are used every week. The cattle always have fresh feed in front of them and it maximises their intake and weight gain.

“The cattle have to grow  to a certain level and they need the frame on them to finish.  They cost a bit more to buy but you get them to a better end price more quickly”. McKelveys aim to have in-spec cattle to achieve mainly top grades.

McKelvey Bros cattle are kept mainly on slatted floors fitted with rubber slat mats, with some kept on straw bedding. There are pens of 40 in the new building and pens of 25 in the original sheds.  Finished cattle are drawn from the December to March period with 50 going for slaughter each week.

The new purpose built shed would be wanted by any beef farmer, holding over 400 head with open ends and side ventilation. Cattle are very comfortable here, hence maximising growth rates.

McKelvey Cattle“The weight limit is capped at 420 kg for bullocks, with severe penalties for cattle over this limit that is why we try to keep them within the specification”.

“Charolais bullocks averaged about 385 kg for the year with heifers coming in at 345 kg average, we have very few which are overweight”.

The business operation concentrates on bullocks as they leave a better return and finish heavier.  Heifers finish quicker but the better weight gain is in the bullocks.

Most of McKelvey Bros cattle go to ABP Lurgan a mere 25 miles away again ensuring cattle remain calm and stress free as possible.

There is an air of calm at McKelveys, cattle are quiet and contented. It is a very efficient operation where the cattle can be fed in two hours, leaving plenty of time for other jobs to be done.

Thomas points out that “you can get a premium with native breeds (Aberdeen Angus) but, you can get the same premium with good continental grades. In essence the Charolais gives the weight we want with the conformation that we want in the shortest time.”

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