October 2015

October 20, 2015 Stirling Charolais peak at 50,000gns; 80 bulls average £7,085

Charolais lead multi-breed week: highest number of bulls sold, highest average price and highest top price

Top price Balthayock Justice with Breeder Major Walter and team and the proud new owners Gilbert Crawford and Joe Wilson

Top price Balthayock Justice with Breeder Major Walter and team and the proud new owners Gilbert Crawford and Joe Wilson

British Charolais met a solid demand from a packed Stirling ringside on Tuesday 20 October where prices peaked at 50,000gns and 80 entries sold through the ring to average £7,085 at the breed society’s autumn sale. Charolais once again remained dominant during the week’s multi-beef breed fixtures, by recording the highest number of bulls sold, highest average price and highest top price.

The Society Chairman Steven Nesbitt remarked that “the buyers are realising the necessity of a quality bull and are being quite selective due to the amount of good quality crossing bulls available that are able to produce fast finished calves for the current market place. Purchasers had a lot of faith in Charolais bulls for commercial beef production because the progeny have the ability to hit the target weights efficiently.”

50,000gns Top Price Balthayock Justice

50,000gns Top Price Balthayock Justice

The top priced lot of the day at 50,000gns was the junior and reserve supreme champion Balthayock Justice TI +84 SRI +80, exhibited by David Walter, Balthayock, Perthshire. The 17 month old Justice has previously claimed reserve champion at the Kirriemuir and Perth shows and is sired by the homebred Balthayock Ferdinand. He was purchased in a partnership by Gilbert Crawford, Maghera, Co Derry and Joe Wilson, Newry, Co Down.

Gilbert Crawford commented “We bought this bull for his breeding and style, we were impressed by his look and this was backed up by his outstanding performance figures, placing him in the top one percent of the breed. He will make an excellent stock bull for both the Coolnaslee and Ballinlare herds”. The judge Andrew Hornall of Falleninch, Stirling, concluded that “Justice is a fantastic pedigree animal that has the attributes and efficiencies required for modern beef production, his figures reflect what is required for today’s commercial as well as pedigree market”.

Deeleview Jonathan

Deeleview Jonathan

Mr Crawford also sold one of the top priced lots, the 18 month old class winner Deeleview Jonathan TI +64 SRI +56 sired by Blelack Digger was purchased by Greystoke Castle Farms, Penrith, Cumbria for 10,000gns.

Maerdy Jerusalem

Maerdy Jerusalem

Next along at 28,000gns was the 17 month old Maerdy Jerusalem TI +73 SRI +72. Jerusalem was exhibited by Esmor Evans, Mold, Flintshire, who went on to sell a total of 6 lots to an average of £9345. This son of the 10,000gns Blelack Fabulous was another joint purchase, this time by Redhead and Watson, Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland and JHC Campbell and sons, Alnwick, Northumberland.

Supreme Champion Castellmawr Jacpot

Supreme Champion Castellmawr Jacpot

The Supreme Champion Castellmawr Jacpot went home with Colin and Fiona Wight, Biggar, Lanarkshire for 16,000gns. This 18 month old Goldstar Gentleman son from A and M Williams, Pwhelli, Gwynedd, has already seen success in the show ring having been crowned this year’s junior and male champion at the Royal Welsh Show. The Judge Mr Hornall commented that “he was a great beast with considerable tops, fleshing correctness and power for modern beef production with good pelvis and length of body”.

Senior Champion Deunawd Jeff

Senior Champion Deunawd Jeff

Also from wales Will Owen, Criccieth, Gwynedd secured 13,000gns for the Senior Champion Deunawd Jeff who was purchased by D and R Durno and Sons, Glenlivet, Ballindalloch. The 18 month old son of Allanfauld Cheiftan has previously gained the distinction of becoming the male and reserve supreme champion at the National Charolais show.

Elrick Juno

Elrick Juno

A call of 12,000gns was paid by Wallace Brown, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire for Elrick Juno from Michael Massie, Ellon, Aberdeensire. The 17 month old is sired by the 16,000gns supreme Stirling champion Thrunton Fearless.

Marwood Journal

Marwood Journal

The 18 month old class winner Marwood Journal was next along at 11,500gns. This 22,000gns Burradon Goldenballs son from RA and J Blyth, Hartlepool, Cleveland who was the Breed Champion at the Great Yorkshire show and was purchased by OTW Chandler, Abergavenny, Gwent.

Thrunton Javelin

Thrunton Javelin

Thrunton Jackpot

Thrunton Jackpot

Next to sell was JHC Campbell, Alnwick, Northumberland who sold a total of five bulls sired by the homebred Thrunton Gladiator to an average of £8925. The first to go at 10,000gns was the 19 month old class winner Thrunton Javelin who went home with JAC Campbell, Thurso, Caithness. Then he received 9,000gns from B Grant, Inverness, Inverness-shire for the 18 month old Thrunton Jackpot. Next along Thrunton Jason who was purchased by Williams Brothers, Blackmill, Bridgend for 8,800gns. Then at 8,200gns going home with WM Barnetson and Sons, Wick, Caithness was Thrunton Jaguar.

Thrunton Jaguar

Thrunton Jaguar

Blelack Jigsaw

Blelack Jigsaw

Also at 10,000gns was the class winner Blelack Jigsaw TI +65 SRI +64, exhibited by NF Massie, who went on to sell a total of five bulls. Jigsaw a 16 month old son of Caylers Hustler was purchased by Balbirnie Home Farms, Freuchie, Fife.

Gretnahouse Jimbob

Gretnahouse Jimbob

Alasdair Houston, Gretna Green, Dumfries-shire sold two top priced bulls, the first of which went home with DM Keay and Son, Kirriemuir, Angus for 9,500gns. The Goldies Eddy son Gretnahouse Jimbob TI +67 SRI +68. Then securing 8,500gns from C Colgan, Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland was the 22 month old Gretnahouse Immense TI +65 SRI +67 sired by Gretnahouse Ultimate.

Gretnahouse Immense

Gretnahouse Immense

Derryharney Jumbo

Derryharney Jumbo

The reserve intermediate champion was next to go at 9,000gns. Exhibited by Harold Stubbs and Andrew Burleigh, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh was Derryharney Jumbo a 17 month old sired by the 55,000gns Thrunton Voldemort and was purchased by Beattie Livestock, Omagh Co Tyrone.

Blackford Juniper

Blackford Juniper

Also securing 9,000gns for Anne MacPherson, Croy, Inverness-shire was the reserve junior champion Blackford Juniper. He is sired by the 19,000gns Corrie Alan and was purchased by D Bryce and Son, Kilry, Alyth.

Next along at 8,500gns was the 19 month old Blelack Digger son Tillside Jackass TI +62 SRI +60, who was purchased from Redhead and Watson, Berwick upon Tweed, Northumberland by JC Millar, Kingaoldrum, Kirrimuir.

A final call of 8,000gns was paid by J Wright, Girvan, Ayrshire for the 20 month old Goldies Jubilee TI +72 SRI +64 who is sired by Goldies Gladiator and was exhibited by Hamish Goldie, Ruthwell, Dumfries-shire.

Female Section
The top price in the female section of 6,000gns was paid by Brailes Livestock, Banbury, Oxfordshire for the 20 month old Tillside Jessie by the 30,000gns Balmyle Bollinger. Jessie was part of the production sale from EJ & AM Fox, Biggar Lanarkshire who went on to sell 11 more lots to an average of £3290.

Next along was the 23 month old Blelack Blackberet daughter Tillside Icon who was purchased by R and N Barclay, Insch, Aberdeenshire for 4,300gns and securing 3,800gns was Tillside Ingrid. This 21 month old 30,000gns Dingle Hofmesiter daughter was purchased by Redhead and Watson, Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland.

D and M Campbell, Lybster, Caithness sold seven females in their production sale the top price of 4,400gns being paid for Caithness Isla, a 27 month old by Corrie Alan going to I and D Goldie Annan, Dumfries-shire.

Female Champion Goldies Illusion

Female Champion Goldies Illusion

3,500gns was paid for the female champion from Hamish Goldie. Goldies Illusion TI+62 SRI +60 a 23 month old Blelack Digger Daughter was purchased by C Johnstone, Ripon, North Yorkshire. Mr Goldie also went on to sell the 17 month old reserve female champion Goldies Jiffy TI +60 SRI +58 by Alwent Goldbar who went home with Mr Spence, Norton Dounby, Orkney for 2,600gns.

Also selling to the same price to JH & AG Paton, Kinross, Kinross-shire was Gretnahouse Jeigg, a 17 month old sired by the 12,000gns Wesley Equinox from AG Houston, Gretna Green, Dumfries-shire.

Averages: 80 Bulls £7085, six females £2170, seven Caithness females £2910, 12 Tillside females £3290.

Auctioneers: United Auctions

Supreme Championship Castellmawr Jacpot & Balthayock Justice

Supreme Championship Castellmawr Jacpot & Balthayock Justice

Senior Championship Deunawd Jeff and Goldies Javelin

Senior Championship Deunawd Jeff and Goldies Javelin

Intermediate Championship Castellmawr Jacpot & Derryharney Jumbo

Intermediate Championship Castellmawr Jacpot & Derryharney Jumbo

Junior Championship Balthayock Justice & Blackford Juniper

Junior Championship Balthayock Justice & Blackford Juniper

Show Results

Supreme Champion
A & M Williams – Castellmawr Jacpot – s. Goldstar Gentleman
Reserve Supreme Champion
Major DFWH & NR Walter – Balthayock Justice – s. Balthayock Ferdinand ET

Senior Male Champion
W Owen – Deunawd Jeff – s. Allanfauld Chieftan
Reserve Senior Male Champion
Hamish Goldie – Goldies Javelin ET – s. Killadeas Legend

Intermediate Male Champion
A & M Williams – Castellmawr Jacpot – s. Goldstar Gentleman
Reserve Intermediate Male Champion
HC & AA Stubbs – Derryharney Jumbo – s. Thrunton Voldemort

Junior Male Champion
Major DFWH & NR Walter – Balthayock Justice – s. Balthayock Ferdinand ET
Reserve Junior Male Champion
Anne MacPherson – Blackford Juniper – s. Corrie Alan ET

Female Champion
Hamish Goldie – Goldies Illusion – s. Blelack Digger
Reserve Female Champion
Hamish Goldie – Goldies Jiffy – s. Alwent Goldbar ET

Group of Three
JHC Campbell – Thrunton Jason, Thrunton Javelin & Thrunton Jaguar

Class One – Bulls born on or between 4 November 2013 & 13 February 2014
1st – Robert McWilliams – Stranagone Jones – s. Blelack Digger
2nd – Martin Irvine – Anside Jagermeister – s. Elgin Davinci
3rd – MV & AE Atkinson – Mowbraypark Jenson ET – s. Mowbraypark Paramount ET
4th – JHC Campbell & Sons – Thrunton Isambard – s. Balmyle Dickler
5th – Alasdair Houston – Gretnahouse Immense – s. Gretnahouse Ultimate ET

Class Two – Bulls born on or between 14 February 2014 & 12 March 2014
1st – JHC Campbell & Sons – Thrunton Javelin – s. Thrunton Gladiator
2nd – JHC Campbell & Sons – Thrunton Jason – s. Thrunton Gladiator
3rd – George Russell – Lesliepark Jacob – s. Mandela Dillon1 ET
4th – RA Milne & Sons – Elgin Jerry – s. Alwent Goldbar ET
5th – WP Bruce Ltd – Balmyle Jubilee – s. Elgin Glenlivet

Class Three – Bulls born on or between 13 & 31 March 2014
1st – M Massie – Elrick Jackpot – s. Thrunton Fearless
2nd – WP Bruce Ltd – Balmyle Jupiter – s. Balmyle Eclipse
3rd – Hamish Goldie – Goldies Jonjo – s. Alwent Goldbar ET
4th – D Burkill – Beechtree Joe – s. Goldies Eddy
5th – Redhead & Watson – Tillside Jackass – s. Blelack Digger

Class Four – Bulls born on or between 1 & 3 April 2014
1st – W Owen – Deunawd Jeff – s. Allanfauld Chieftan
2nd – Hamish Goldie – Goldies Javelin ET – s. Killadeas Legend
3rd – WD & JA Connolly – Brigadoon Jaguar – s. Royal Captain
4th – RA & J Blyth – Marwood Jetsetter – s. Newhouse Bigal
5th – William Whyte – Innisrush Jagger – s. Goldies Usher

Class Five – Bulls born on or between 4 & 8 April 2014
1st – A & M Williams – Castellmawr Jacpot – s. Goldstar Gentleman
2nd – JHC Campbell & Sons – Thrunton Jaguar – s. Thrunton Gladiator
3rd – Balfour Brothers – Clonatrig Jethro – s. Blelack Digger
4th – MJ Massie – Elrick Jazzman – s. Thrunton Fearless
5th – William Whyte – Innisrush Jimbob – s. Goldies Usher

Class Six – Bulls born on or between 9 & 16 April 2014
1st – Gilbert Crawford – Deeleview Jonathan – s. Blelack Digger
2nd – I & D Goldie – Solwayfirth Jackdaniels – s. Solwayfirth Banker
3rd – D & P Murray – Guthrie Jedburgh – s. Balmyle Eclipse
4th – JHC Campbell & Sons – Thrunton Jackpot – s. Thrunton Gladiator
5th – George Henderson – Sandelford Jared – s. Conval Frank

Class Seven – Bulls born on or between 17 & 23 April 2014
1st – RA & J Blyth – Marwood Journal – s. Burradon Goldenballs
2nd – Redhead & Watson – Tweeddale Jackpot – s. Blelack Blackberet
3rd – M & J Hayhurst – Whitecliffe Jason – s. Elgin Davinci
4th – NF Massie & Sons – Blelack Justice – s. Caylers Hustler
5th – Mervyn McKeown – Royaldowns Jetstream – s. Alwent Goldbar ET

Class Eight – Bulls born on or between 24 & 30 April 2014
1st – HC & AA Stubbs – Derryharney Jumbo – s. Thrunton Voldemort
2nd – NF Massie & Sons – Blelack Jason – s. Glencoe Hagrid
3rd – Gilbert Crawford – Coolnaslee Jimbob – s. Maerdy Fiend
4th – WP Bruce Ltd – Balmyle Johnbull – s. Balmyle Eclipse
5th – I & D Goldie – Solwayfirth Jaguar – s. Solwayfirth Banker

Class Nine – Bulls born on or between 1 & 7 May 2014
1st – Hamish Goldie – Goldies Jester – s. Alwent Goldbar ET
2nd – DE Evans – Maerdy Jon – s. Blelack Fabulous
3rd – Major DFWH & NR Walter – Balthayock Jacobite – s. Elgin Glenlivet
4th – D & P Murray – Guthrie Johnshaven – s. Balmyle Eclipse
5th – Kelsall & Marsden – Bleasdale Jacob – s. Alwent Goldbar ET

Class Ten – Bulls born on or between 8 & 14 May 2014
1st – Anne MacPherson – Blackford Juniper – s. Corrie Alan ET
2nd – MJ Massie – Elrick Juno – s. Thrunton Fearless
3rd – DE Evans – Maerdy Jogger – s. Maerdy Dynamite
4th – Pat Hackett – Fury Junior – s. Inverlochy Ferdie
5th – HC Stubbs & AA Burleigh – Derryharney Jumpingjack – s. Grove Enterprise

Class Eleven – Bulls born on or between 15 & 24 May 2014
1st – Major DFWH & NR Walter – Balthayock Justice – s. Balthayock Ferdinand ET
2nd – JW Millar – Lochend Jammydodger – s. Mortimers Echo
3rd – RA & J Blyth – Marwood Jago – s. Burradon Goldenballs
4th – PT Heath – Sackville Jackpot – s. Elgin Davinci
5th – James Jeffrey – Kersknowe Jambo – s. Inverlochy Fencer

Class Twelve – Bulls born on or after 25 May 2014
1st – NF Massie & Sons – Blelack Jigsaw – s. Caylers Hustler
2nd – WR Baillie & Co – Baillieston Joseph – s. Alwent Goldbar ET
3rd – DE Evans – Maerdy Jonti – s. Maerdy Grenadier
4th – S & D Bothwell – Killadeas Jack – s. Gwenog Braveheart
5th – Mervyn McKeown – Royaldowns Jupiter – s. Thrunton Voldemort

Class Thirteen – Heifers born on or after 4 June 2013
1st – Hamish Goldie – Goldies Illusion – s. Blelack Digger
2nd – Hamish Goldie – Goldies Jiffy – s. Alwent Goldbar ET
3rd – Jan Boomaars – Vexour Jade – s. Thrunton Glencoe
4th – Jan Boomaars – Vexour Jasmin – s. Newhouse Emperor
5th – Alasdair Houston – Gretnahouse Jeigg – s. Wesley Equinox

Thrunton Jagermeister

Thrunton Jagermeister

Lochend Jammydodger

Lochend Jammydodger

Group of Three

Group of Three

Goldies Javelin

Goldies Javelin

Anside Jagermeister

Anside Jagermeister

1156 1144 1127 1114 1016 0574 0542 0517 0494 0469 0467 0461 0457 0450 0433 0397 0373 0357 0352 0334 0328 0314 0304


October 19, 2015 Charolais crosses achieve better performance and higher financial returns over Continental crosses

Tom Davies & Phil Price

Tom Davies & Phil Price

Bulls finish one month earlier, £45/head feed cost savings
Heifers finish almost three months earlier, £120/head feed costs savings

Factfile
Will, Carol, Tom and Julie Davies, Upper Court Farm, Clifford, Hay on Wye
Stockman, Phil Price
220 cow split calving suckler herd
1,300 acre mixed unit

 

 

 

Making a simple change of terminal sire and introducing Charolais is making a significant contribution towards improving output from a portion of the Davies family’s suckler herd.

Charolais cross bulls compared with the unit’s other Continental cross bulls finished one month earlier making feed cost savings of £45 a head; they weighing an average 8% heavier consequently their sale value was £110 a head higher. See figure 1.

The Charolais cross heifers achieved target finishing weights 2.76 months earlier than the remainder and subsequently achieved feed cost savings of approximately £120 a head. These heifers also killed out in a higher specification.
Figure 1: Upper Court Farm herd performance 2014/15

Charolais cross bulls ave Weaning 350 – 400kg, Finished Dwt 433kg, Age 14 months, Grade % E,U,R E3
Continental cross bulls ave Weaning 340 – 380kg, Finished Dwt 402kg, Age 15 months, Grade % E,U,R E3
Charolais cross heifers ave Weaning 320 – 360kg, Finished Dwt 368kg, 17.24 months, Grade % E,U,R U+3
Continental cross heifers ave Weaning 300 – 340kg, Finished Dwt 364kg, 20 months, Grade % E,U,R U4
Source: ABP

The bulls were group housed and fed the same diet – see figure 2, similarly the crop of heifers was run as one group.

15UpperCourt 1“Our objective is to maximise output per cow and produce the best possible finished animal in the easiest to manage system,” Phil explains. “We thought we could push the herd a bit more and aware of Charolais and its ability to leave animals with better weight for age, in 2012 we decided to invest in a bull. He was fresh blood and we thought he would suit our Continental cross cows – those we didn’t need for breeding replacements.

“This bull soon proved his worth, so the following year we secured a second Charolais bull. Both were selected for shape, they were not too heavily boned and most importantly they hadn’t been stuffed, they were naturally reared.”

Beef rearing and finishing is complementary to Upper Court’s arable enterprise. “We have a certain amount of land which we cannot use for anything but grazing, we are not fans of sheep, the beef muck is complimentary and we are prepared to take the volatile beef market in our stride,” Tom explains. “We are resigned to living with TB, consequently we run a closed herd and finish the entire crop of calves. We achieve a huge degree of self-sufficiency using home grown cereals, forage and straw.

15UpperCourt 2“We are focused on getting the most out of each animal, and are also keen to implement the latest tools, information and advice along with better genetics, nutrition and management. For example, we are improving our grazing by introducing a reseeding programme with modern varieties in a seven to 10 year rotation.”

The Davies introduced independent nutritionist, David Hendy to formulate new diets which have helped to considerably step up performance – a home mix creep fed to the spring born calves from 16 weeks of age through to housing in early November; a bull finishing diet and a third diet fed in the final 10 to 12 weeks of finishing to the heifers.

Figure 2: Upper Court Farm herd diets

Creep DM % – 85.30, ME/kgDM – 12.50, CP%/kgDM – 16%, FCR – 3.75:1, Main diet components – Rolled barley, whole oats, wheat distillers dark grains
Bull finishing diet DM % – 85.30, ME/kgDM – 12.85, CP%/kgDM – 14%, FCR – 6.5:1, Main diet components – Rolled barley and wheat, biscuit meal, chopped straw, molasses and protein
Heifer finishing diet DM % – 53.7, ME/kgDM – 12.30, CP%/kgDM – 12.5%, FCR – 7.9:1, Main diet components – Maize and grass silage TMR with cereals, biscuit meal and wheat distillers dark grains

Source: David Hendy, independent beef and sheep nutritionist

Figure 3: Upper Court Farm Feed costs based on current feed prices:

Creep Feed DM % – 85.30, Cost/tonne Fresh-weight – £121.4, Cost/tonne Dry Matter – £142.7
Bull finishing diet DM % – 85.30 Cost/tonne Fresh-weight – £124.6 Cost/tonne Dry Matter – £146.5, Cost/head/day – £1.45,
Cost/kg gain – £0.79, L-Wt gain /head/day – 1.85kg
Heifer finishing diet DM % – 53.7, Cost/tonne Fresh-weight – £64.5 Cost/tonne Dry Matter – £119.4, Cost/head/day – £1.43
Cost/kg gain – £0.96, L-Wt gain /head/day – 1.5kg

Source: David Hendy, independent beef and sheep nutritionist

Mr Hendy explains, the critical point with the calf creep and bull beef cereal mixes is to maximise digestible fibre levels whilst capitalizing on performance and intake and therefore feed conversion ratio, (FCR). Optimum daily intake and the very positive FCRs have been ensured by Neutral Detergent Fibre (NDF) being as close or over 20% and including high fibre feeds such as whole oats in the calf mix and an appropriate balance of barley and wheat in the bull mix, and with up to 5% inclusion of molasses.

Tom says: “We believe in growing the calves as fast as we can pre weaning because that’s when their feed conversion is at its best – it’s the cheapest time to feed them. That’s why the creep diet is really important.

“Following on, we were struggling to get the bulls to target weight and with enough cover within 16 months whilst feeding a traditional forage based TMR, whereas nowadays, since introducing a cereal based diet formulated to specific specification, they are finishing to target weight at 14 months. The new regime is proving to be much more cost effective. We’re also tweaking the diet to ensure the bulls finish within ABP’s maximum 420kg deadweight to avoid penalties.

“The heifers continue to be housed throughout the finishing period; feeding a homegrown forage TMR is proving to be the most cost effective and efficient.”

Tom adds: “We will shortly be introducing a crush with weigh scales which together with EID will provide us with an opportunity to regularly record each animal, identify any slack in the system and fine tune accordingly.”


October 15, 2015 Charolais the terminal sire of choice at Greig Farms

Farm manager Patrick Lambert with stockman Allan MacIntyre (left)

Farm manager Patrick Lambert with stockman Allan MacIntyre (left)

“The Charolais calves are 50kg deadweight heavier than the Simmental calves at the same age and consistently make £200 a head more both in the conventional and organic systems.”

Since purchasing its first Charolais bull in 1988, the cattle enterprise at CG Greig (Farms) Ltd in Cupar, Fife, has expanded and evolved into a system that best suits its surroundings – but throughout that time, the firm’s choice of terminal sire has remained unchanged.

That, according to farm manager of 30 years, Pat Lambert, is down to the Charolais breed’s unrivaled ability to produce the highest weights for age – exactly what is needed in this large-scale beef finishing unit.

“The farm was originally all arable, and when we decided to introduce cattle back in the late 1980s, we started with Limousin and Simmental cross cows and bought the Charolais bull Ploughfield Custer, with the intention of breeding big calves to sell as stores,” explained Pat, adding that the cow herd numbers gradually increased as the business bought up more land.

“Our policy changed when the BSE crisis hit in 1996, at which point we decided to become a self contained unit, breeding our own replacement females and finishing all the calves ourselves. We used an Angus bull on the Simmental cows and kept the heifers to add to the herd. We continued to build the herd up that way, criss-crossing the Angus and Simmentals for the females and always using a Charolais as a terminal sire,” he added.

The business of CG Greig(Farms) now owns 2000 acres and rents further ground on a variety of agreements, with the cow herd numbers sitting at 500 sucklers, and the arable side extending to 1250 acres of cereals, 250 acres of vegetables and 200 acres of seed potatoes. Pat is also in charge of the separate business, Mosszone Ltd, a 400-acre organic unit based at Balcanquhal Farm with 220 suckler cows. Within the cattle enterprise, he oversees a staff of two cattlemen at CG Greig and one at Mosszone.

A typical suckler cow with a high performance Charolais calf

A typical suckler cow with a high performance Charolais calf

Concerns in recent years that the suckler females were becoming too large and expensive to maintain and losing some of their milk and hardiness, prompted the decision to invest in a herd of pure Luing cows two years ago – 50 spring calvers, and 20 autumn calvers which are crossed with the Simmental. The Sim-Luings will then be crossed with the Angus bull and the heifers from that mix also kept as replacements for the suckler herd.

“The Luings are smaller, hardier and easier kept, with plenty milk, and we like the easy fleshing abilities of the Angus, so this will hopefully be a good mix as a suckler female, and a good cross with the Charolais sire,” said Pat.

Currently, the majority of the herd (325) calves in the spring, with 225 of those calving to the Charolais, while the remaining 175 are autumn calvers. The target is then to wean to spring calves at around 210 days (seven months old), at an average weight of 325kg. Spring born Charolais calves are kept entire, while autumn-born ones are castrated.

Meanwhile, the autumn steers and heifers are weaned at 270 days, weighing up to 400kg. Replacement heifers for the spring herd are mainly taken from the autumn lot, aiming to have their first calf at 30 months and vice versa.

The quality of the Charolais calves speak for themselves

The quality of the Charolais calves speak for themselves

“The spring cows don’t receive any concentrates at all, just silage, wholecrop and straw, and the autumn calvers are supplemented with fodder beet along with higher levels of wholecrop,” said Pat.
Spring-born bulls are finished at 14-15-months-old, with the last batch of 63 selling through McIntosh Donald at 695kg liveweight (402kg d/w), and leveling at £1486 per head (370p per kg). The last lot of spring-born heifers to go were finished at 553 days old (18.4 months), weighing 366.5kg d/w and made an average £1373/head.

“The Charolais calves are 50kg deadweight heavier than the Simmental calves at the same age, and consistently make £200 a head more both in conventional and organic systems. There’s no question of using any other breed as our main terminal sire, but we don’t have the type of ground that will stand big Charolais type cows, so we need to use other breeds for the replacement females,” said Pat.
The cows are all serviced naturally, with the spring calvers running in six groups with Charolais bulls, and the autumn herd in two or three groups. Bulls run with the cows for a strict 63-day period, with the spring calving beginning mid-March and the autumn in mid-September.

The type of Charolais bull required at Greig Farms must have lenght of loin

The type of Charolais bull required at Greig Farms must have lenght of loin

A further five bulls are needed for the organic Mosszone herd, where the cows are predominantly Angus crosses, and all calve from the beginning of April to the Charolais. Those calves are finished at 18-19-months off grass and hoppers, and go directly to Dovecote Park, where they receive a premium price for their organic status. Last year’s steers were finished at 590 days old, weighing 384kg d/w and sold to average £1736, while the heifers, finished at 556 days and 378kg d/w, levelled at £1707.

Working on this large scale, it is vital that the bulls can be relied upon to perform to their best ability. Some 12 Charolais are needed at any one time and Pat says he now prefers to buy them at 13-15-months old.

“We’re looking for naturally fleshing, long bulls that aren’t extreme, and ideally we buy them younger before they’ve had the chance to be pushed too hard, as that way they tend to last longer.

“There’s no point in increasingly chasing high muscularity, when that’s not actually what the market wants – we should be concentrating on the cattle within the breed that can achieve better performance with fewer inputs.”

Pat pays attention to figures, but doesn’t rely solely on them, instead, a main priority is a clean health status. One bull that has performed particularly well over recent years is Hindstones Cruiser, bought in 2008 without any figures – Pat says he has bred consistently good, big fleshy calves that regularly achieve E grades due to their length and power.

“The Charolais breed has continued to improve over the past 20 years or so, especially with ease of calving, and I think people now understand the importance of a short gestation length. But the cows have to be in the right condition too, and that’s up to us commercial breeders.

Ciaran and Chloe MacIntyre were winners of the Kinross Show Young Handlers Competition with calves from the Greig Farms unit

Ciaran and Chloe MacIntyre were winners of the Kinross Show Young Handlers Competition with calves from the Greig Farms unit

“I do think that it’s vital to concentrate on easy-fleshing traits though. With abattoirs now putting maximum weight limits on calves, there’s no point in keeping chasing growth – we need cattle that have consistently good tops and loins; able to breed calves with natural vigour that can be finished easier, off less.

‘That’s even more important now, with the changes in the subsidy system – cattle have to be able to stand on their own merits and be able to make a profit. For the beef industry to work for everyone, we need a better dissemination of information down the line, and pedigree breeders need to be a part of that,” added Pat.

Report by Lynsey Clark & Photos by Catherine MacGregor


October 5, 2015 Edenhurst Charolais sale grosses £437K

The dispersal of the Edenhurst Charolais herd on behalf of Peter Vasey within Borderway Mart, Carlisle grossed in excess of £437,000 including semen sales. There was a packed ringside of Charolais enthusiasts, who had been drawn to the sale to give the Vasey family a fitting send off after almost forty years of breeding Charolais cattle and they took their purchases home to all corners of the United Kingdom and Eire.

The top price of 17,800gns was paid for a four year old cow Edenhurst Georgette TI +52 SRI +54 and her five month old heifer calf Edenhurst Lisette. Georgette sired by the 30,000gns Dingle Hofmeister and Lisette sired by the 10,000gns former herd sire Ratoary Ferguson went home with AJ Stott, Canobie, Dumfries-shire.

Edenhurst Georgette and her calf Lisette made 17800gns

Edenhurst Georgette and her calf Lisette made 17800gns

Next to go for a total of 14,100gns was the six year old cow Edenhurst Emerald and her nine month old twin bull calves. Emerald, a Mowbraypark Paramount daughter was purchased by RDA Morrow, Coleraine, Co Derry, with her twin calves by Ratoary Ferguson going to different homes in Dumfries-shire. Edenhurst Jake with A Brown and Co, Crocketford at 3,300gns and Edenhurst Josh with AV Hamilton and Co, Thornhill at 3,200gns.

Edenhurst Emerald sold for 14,100gns

Edenhurst Emerald sold for 14,100gns

Edenhurst Emma and her twin daughters Lily and Lulu made 12200gns

Edenhurst Emma and her twin daughters Lily and Lulu made 12200gns

Next to purchase was DT and M Stobart, Carlisle, Cumbria who bought a cow and twin heifer calves for their grandson Harry at 12,200gns. The six year old Genus Houblon daughter Edenhurst Emma went with her twin five month old daughters Edenhurst Lily and Lulu sired by the herd sire Sandelford Harrison. The Stobarts also purchased the 17 month old Edenhurst Jemma sired by Dingle Hofmeister for 5,200gns.

The stock bull Sandelford Harrison by the 14,000gns Goldies Usher was next along at 12,000gns going to E Harrison and Sons, Ipswich, Suffolk.

Then a cow and her heifer calf was purchased for a total of 11,100gns. The eight year old cow Edenhurst Casandra by the homebred sire Edenhurst Titus was purchased by Claire Clapp, Tiverton, Devon for 5,700gns and her 11 month old daughter sired by Ratoary Ferguson went home to Hartfield, East Sussex with David Ross of Highfields Park Farm for 5,400gns.

Mr Ross went on to purchase another 22 lots to re-establish a Charolais herd at the previous home of the Cullum herd owned by Shelia McAlpine in the 1960s. His top lot at 6,600gns was a four year old Dingle Hofmeister daughter Edenhurst Grace and her seven month old daughter Edenhurst Lace sired by Ratoary Ferguson. He went on to purchase several other cow and calf units with Ferguson sired calves including Edenhurst Angeline by Edenhurst Titus and her six month old bull calf Edenhurst Lexicon at 5,800gns. Next came the eight year old Baggrave Minstrel daughter Edenhurst Charmer and her five month old son Edenhurst Lionheart. At 5,300gns was a four year old Mowbraypark Paramount daughter Edenhurst Ginnie and her son, the six month old Edenhurst Lancer. Two of his lots were purchased at 5,000gns, firstly the 29 month old first time calver Edenhurst Imogen sired by Blelack Roger and her two month old bull calf Edenhurst Limoges and a six year old Dingle Hofmeister daughter Edenhurst Florence and her heifer calf Edenhurst Laurel sired by Sandleford Harrison. In addition at 5,200gns he bought Edenhurst Jill, a 17 month old heifer by the same sire.

Mr Ross also purchased calves by Ratoary Ferguson from two more of the top priced lots. He bought the 10 month old Edenhurst Jade for 4,200gns and her seven year old mother Edenhurst Diamond by Edenhurst Bourbon went home with JM Cant and Partners, Arbroath, Angus, for 6,000gns. He also secured Edenhurst Jane for 5,200gns and her dam Edenhurst Venus by Oldstone Egbert was purchased by Gilbert Crawford, Maghera, Co Down, for 4,000gns giving a combined total of 9,200gns.

Mr Crawford purchased a total of seven lots including at 8,000gns the three year old Edenhurst HRH by Dingle Hofmeister and her two month old bull calf Edenhurst Lightning sired by Ratoary Ferguson. His other transactions included the 7 year old Edenhurst Titus daughter Edenhurst Deluxe for 4,000gns and her 11 month old bull calf Edenhurst Julius by Ferguson who went home with A and H McColm, Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire for 4,400gns giving a gross total for the unit of 8,400gns. Mr Crawford also bought Border Festival, a six year old daughter of the reserve Highland Show champion Edenhurst Cognac for 4,300gns and her Ferguson sired bull calf Border Jamboree sold to Billy Turner, Ripon, North Yorkshire for 3,800gns.

Edenhurst Interlude a 21 month old daughter of Ratoary Ferguson was next to sell for 8,000gns to Claire Ferris, Millisle, Co Down.

Edenhurst Interlude made 8000gns

Edenhurst Interlude made 8000gns

At the same price was the six year old cow Edenhurst Elegance by Dingle Hofmeister and her two month old daughter Edenhurst Ladyjane going home to Darlington, Co Durham with Robert Jones, who also purchased the five year old Edenhurst Felicity by Edenhurst Cognac and her Ratoary Ferguson sired daughter Edenhurst Jenna for 7,200gns.

Going across the water to Eire and selling at 6,500gns to purchaser Martin Meehan, Invery, County Donegal was Edenhurst Hermajesty, a three year old 55,000gns Sportsmans Columbo daughter and her five month old bull calf Edenhurst Lionking by Ratoary Ferguson.

John Young, Denny, Stirlingshire was next to buy, purchasing a cow and her twin heifer calves for 6,100gns. Edenhurst Diana, a seven year old sired by Dingle Hofmeister and her two seven month old daughters Edenhurst Lucy and Locket by Ratoary Ferguson.

Two lots sold for 6,000gns. The first was a six year old Mowbraypark Paramount daughter Edenhurst Eliza and her two month old bull calf Edenhurst Lincoln by Sandelford Harrison who went home with JJ and E McGuigan to Maghera, Co Derry. Then an 18 month old heifer sired by Dingle Hofmeister, Border Jewel, was purchased by G and G Henderson, Bushmills Co Antrim.

Next to sell was the first calved heifer Edenhurst Imelia and her two month old daughter Edenhurst Leonora who was purchased by Rachel Dawson, Coalville, Leicestershire for 5,200gns.

Two further lots sold for 5,000gns. The first being purchased by JC Thornton and Son, Ravenglass, Cumbria, was Edenhurst Emelia, a six year old daughter of Mowbraypark Paramount and her heifer calf Edenhurst Louisiana by Sandelford Harrison.

The final lot to sell for 5,000gns was Fairway Jazz, a 17 month old bull bred by the late David Fattorini and sired by Alwent Goldbar who was purchased by WF Palmer, Truro, Cornwall.

Averages: 54 cows with calves £5,678, four in-calf cows £2,993, six in-calf heifers £3,395, 15 maiden heifers £4,438, one stock bull £12,600, five yearling Bulls £3,234, two bull calves £1,785 Auctioneers: Harrison and Hetherington Ltd.

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