February 2018

February 21, 2018 Charolais lead the Spring trade

Charolais took the top price, made the highest average and sold the most bulls of all the breeds at this year’s spring sales, when commercial buyers drove the flying trade at Stirling on Tuesday 20 February. Bidding peaked at 46,000gns, 22 lots traded at five figure sums and 115 bulls sold to an average of £7,635 a whopping £1,514 increase on last year. Clearance rates were also up on the year by 6% to 88% for four more sold.

Commenting on the sale the BCCS chairman Chris Curry said, “Over the past twelve months the demand for Charolais bulls at society sales has increased dramatically, showcasing the resurgence of faith in the breed. There was no shortage of commercial traders in the market for a Charolais bull today and willing to pay top prices for them. For the first time we have seen a significant number of the five figure selling bulls finding commercial homes, driven no doubt by the fact that Charolais sired suckler calves are topping the markets on weight for age. The commercial marketplace is looking for a breed that will tick all of the boxes, finishing quicker with lower costs and greater profits.”

United Auctions cattle Auctioneer Murray Raine backed up the Chairman’s comments by saying “It was a pleasure to sell the Charolais today, the vibrant trade is a reflection of the demand for Charolais sired store cattle in the market presently and that’s why we have seen commercial buyers here today willing to pay up to 16,000gns for their choice of bull”.

Star attraction at the sale was David and Nick Walter’s supreme and senior champion Balthayock Minstrel. Sired by the Kirrimuir Show champion Balthayock Ferdinand and out of Barbican Lancer daughter Balthayock Gem, the May 2016-born Minstrel attracted a 46,000gns bid from Bill Bruce, Meigle, Perthshire, who shared the purchase with Neil Barclay, Insch, Aberdeenshire.

The top price and supreme and senior champion Balthayock Minstrel at 46,000gns

Breeder Major Walter is a stalwart of the breed who purchased his first Charolais bull 5,700gns at the very first public auction of Charolais cattle at the Royal showground in 1969. The pedigree herd now has over 110 breeding females with an additional 150 sucklers mainly served by homebred Charolais bulls whose progeny are sold as yearlings at Stirling. “I am delighted with the trade we have experienced today, not only for myself but for the breed as a whole. Since the introduction of the ABRI recording system we have been able to achieve a considerable improvement to the herd and place particular emphasis on calving ease and live weight gains while improving eye muscle area and scrotal circumference in our bulls and milk yield in our females.” Major Walter said. “As a pedigree breeder you have highs and lows and the sale was certainly one of those highs made possible by the wonderful team we have here at Balthayock”.

Judge Arwel Owen commented that, “Minstrel oozed presence and Charolais character from the moment I set eyes on him and that is why I chose him for my Champion. His functional correctness was amazing for such a powerful bull, he is a true out and out breeders bull. Subsequently following the judging and looking at the catalogue, it gave me great pleasure to see a bull with such fantastic data followed by a fantastic cow family that’s already delivered in 2017 show season with the highland show reserve female champion”.

A total of nine Balthayock bulls changed hands to average £15,633 and Arwel went on to say “There were three outstanding stock bulls forward from the Balthayock herd. The other two being Balthayock Manifesto who I placed second in his class to the champion and Balthayock Mandate, the reserve senior champion.

Balthayock Manifesto was also in the money for Major Walter at 19,000gns, purchased by Peter and Sheelagh Donger, Towcester, Northamptonshire. Bred from Swalesmoor Cracker daughter Balthayock Finesse, the May 2016-born Manfesto is sired by the Highland Show supreme M and S interbreed champion Balthayock Imp.

Balthayock Manifesto at 19,000gns

Next in the trade stakes for the Major at 16,000gns, was the reserve senior champion Balthayock Mandate, a 21-month-old son of the 20,000gns Royal Welsh Show supreme champion Maerdy Grenadier and out of Balthayock Gold who goes back to Swalesmoor Cracker. He goes home to work with HR and C Dalrymplre, Ballantrae, Ayrshire.

Balthayock Mandate at 16,000gns

Adding to the Walter’s celebrations, they also received 14,000gns for another Balthayock Imp son. Class winner Balthayock Mikado who was purchased by James Jeffrey, Kelso, Roxburghshire is an April 2016-born out of Balthayock Heaven, a Swalesmoor Cracker daughter.

Balthayock Mikado at 14,000gns

D Taylor of South Ronaldsay, Orkney purchased the Major’s final five figured bull at 10,000gns. The 20-month-old Balthayock Morgan, is a son of the Braco Show champion Ugie Echo and home-bred Barbican Lancer-sired Balthayock Ira.

Balthayock Morgan at 10,000gns

The aforementioned Neil Barclay’s Harestone herd was another to enjoy a great trade and sold eight bulls to level at £9,975. The first, a 22-month-old class winner, selling at 18,000gns was purchased by French breeder Gaec Godet Retailleau, of Sevremont. Harestone Monarch is the by the Royal Show junior champion Thrunton Socrates, while the dam is Shropshire-bred Trefonnen Ffion, a cow by the 14,000gns Allanfauld Superscot.

Another class winner from Mr Barclay went on to sell 13,000gns. The June 2016-born Harestone Master Is sired by the 18,000gns Thrunton Fairfax and out of Blelack Gemma, a 15,000gns Goldies Dynamite daughter. P Cooper and Son, Kincaldrum, Angus were the purchasers.

Harestone Master at 13,000gns

Mr Barclay went on to sell another high-priced bull, this time making 12,000gns for his yellow-ticket-winner Harestone MacGregor. L Forester and Son, Hexham, Northumberland, were the buyers of this 17-month-old son of the 25,000gns Stirling intermediate champion Inverlochy Ferdie and Harestone Tyrol-sired Harestone Francine.

Harestone Macgregor at 12,000gns

The 19-month-old Thrunton Montego from JHC Campbell and Son, Alnwick, Northumberland, was the next five-figure bull to sell. He boasts an impressive pedigree being sired by the 26,000gns Maerdy Hearthrob and out of Thrunton Goldcrest who goes back to the 26,000gns Stirling senior champion Balmyle Dickler. The man behind his 16,000gns final bid was CA Smith, Tarland, Aberdeenshire.

Thrunton Montego at 16,000gns

Just behind at 15,000gns was another Maerdy Hearthrob son, this time offered for sale by RM Adam and Son, Glamis, Angus. Newhouse Maxamus who had been tapped out as reserve intermediate champion twenty-four hours earlier, is a July 2016-born son of Newhouse Geisha, a daughter of the 28,000gns Perth supreme champion Brampton Nacodar and goes home to work in Co Down for the Ballynahinch-based Connolly family.

Newhouse Maxamus at 15.000gns

The reserve supreme champion and August 2016-born Maerdy Montypython, was the first of four top priced lots to sell for Flintshire Vet Esmor Evans, who sold a total of eight for an average of £8,990. Jeremy Price liked the look of this one and paid 14,000gns to take him home to Staunton-on-Wye, Herefordshire. His sire, the 10,000gns Blelack Fabulous was also a reserve senior champion at Stirling, while his dam is the Begonia-sired Maerdy Goddess.

Maerdy Montypython at 14,000gns

Esmor’s next highest priced and selling in a two-way split to a couple of breeders from across the water at 12,000gns, was the 16-month-old Maerdy Maesmor. Maesmor is sired by the French-bred Maerdy Gouverneur and out of Maerdy Dynamite daughter Maerdy Iod. Jonathan Crawford, Maghera, Co Derry and Will Short, Omagh, Co Tyrone were the partners who purchased him.

Also in the money for Mr Evans was the red-ticket winner Maerdy Maosglas, who sold in an 11,000gns deal to B Keir and Son, Alford, Aberdeenshire. The August 2016-born Maoglas is out of the 16,000gns Stirling junior champion and Caithness Show supreme champion Clyth Diplomat daughter Maerdy Grug and sired by the above-mentioned herd sire Blelack Fabulous, who has bred sons to 28,000gns.

Maerdy Maesmor at 12,000gns

Maerdy Mosglas at 11,000gns

Adding to Esmor’s celebrations, he also received 10,000gns for the October 2016-born Maerdy Maldwyn, who stood second in his class at the pre-sale show. Another Blelack Fabulous son, this time out of the Maerdy Blackout-sired Maerdy Daphne, he was purchased by H Stewart, Lybster, Caithness.

Maerdy Maldwyn at 10,000gns

Two bulls were knocked down at 12,000gns a piece with the first coming from RS McAskie, Keith, Banffshire. Staying local when purchased by WR Simmers and Sons, also from Keith, Strathisla Major is an 18-month-old son of the 11,000gns Carlisle senior champion Southwillow Hal and 19,000gns Doune and Dunblane champion Corrie Alan daughter Strathisla Hope.

Strathisla Major at 12,000gns

The second 12,000gns bid came from A Strachan, Brechin, Angus for the August 2016-born Falleninch Mars. The 18-month-old Mars, who was crowned senior breed champion and reserve interbreed champion at Stars of the Future in November for breeder and exhibited Andrew Hornall, Stirling, Stirlingshire, is out of a previous Stars of the Future show interbreed champion Falleninch Isabella and sired by Fairway Jefferson.

Falleninch Mars at 12,000gns

Following on at 11,500gns was the June 2016-born Ballinlare Midas from J Wilson and Sons, Newry, Co Down, who stood third in his class on Monday. T Howden and Son, Balerno, Mid Lothian, were the winning bidders of this 11,000gns Burradon Goodfellow and 55,000gns Balmoral Show interbreed champion Sportsmans Columbo-sired Ballinlare Harmony son.

Ballinlare Midas at 11,500gns

Matching the 11,000gns price tag and also receiving a blue ticket in the pre-sale show, was an offering from WK and P Drysdale, Blairgowrie, Perthshire. Glenericht Mecca, a 17-month-old son of the Highland Show and Royal Show interbreed champion Fleets Vibrant and 12,000gns Caylers Gladiator daughter Glenericht Jen was purchased by D Muirhead, Arbroath, Aberdeenshire.

Glenericht Mecca at 11,000gns

Four further bulls were knocked down at 10,000gns a piece, with the first coming from Hamish Goldie, Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire. Goldies Marshall, who is sired by the 12,000gns Carlisle reserve senior champion Wesley Equinox, was tapped out first in his class and the 20-month-old is out of Goldies Hippy, a daughter of the proven high performing, short gestation and easy calving Blelack Digger. He goes on the Brechin to work for W Mather and Sons in their Angus holding.

Goldies Marshall at 10,000gns

Another to bring 10,000gns when chapped down to A and J Wilson, Insch, Aberdeenshire, was Hamish Goldie’s blue ticket winner Goldies Mercedes. The August 2016-born is by Blelack Blackberet who sired the 2017 Royal Highland Show and Yorkshire Show junior champions. His dam is Goldies Hifi ET who is out of a full sister to the 34,000gns Goldies Uppermost and goes back to the 14,000gns Perth reserve senior champion Goldies Banker.

Goldies Mercedes at 11,000gns

Also Commanding a 10,000gns bid was the Loganbar Interpol-sired Loganbar Magnum. J and W Wilson, Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, were the winning bidders of this July 2016-born son of the 12,000gns Balmyle Addition daughter Loganbar Ellenour on offer from Murray Lyle, Dunblane, Perthshire.

Loganbar Magnum at 10,000gns

The final lot to make five figures was the 16-month-old, reserve junior champion from consigner Mark McGahan of Glossop, Derbyshire. Chunal Maverick who is sired by Harestone Hercules and out of home-bred Chunal Heather who goes back to the 28,000gns Perth supreme champion Brampton Nacodar, was snapped up for 10,000gns by RM Adam and Son, Glamis, Angus.

Chunal Maverick at 10,000gns

Leading the bids for the small consignment of females at 7,000gns was the June 2016-born Goldies Madame, who had been awarded the female championship at the pre-sale show for breeder and exhibitor Hamish Goldie. Madame who is a daughter of the top performing 15,000gns Gretnahouse Heman and bred out of Goldies Goldengirl, a Goldies Ambassador daughter, caught the eye of K Earle, Penybont, Carmarthenshire.

Goldies Madame at 7,000gns

Averages: 115 bulls £7635; 14 heifers £3,684.

Auctioneers: United Auctions

Overall champion Balthayock Minstrel and the reserve overall champion Maerdy Montypython

Interbreed champion Maerdy Montypython and reserve interbreed champion Newhouse Maxamus

Senior champion Balthayock Minstrel and reserve senior champion Balthayock Mandate

Female champion Goldies Madame and reserve female champion Goldies Milady

Junior champion Hollywell Mojito and reserve junior champion Chunal Maverick

Harestone group of three, Mat, Majestic ET and Macgregor


February 12, 2018 Maerdy Morwr finds a new home in Aberdeenshire

Flintshire Vet and renowned Charolais breeder Esmor Evans is delighted to announce that he has recently sold the 18-month-old, Charolais bull Maerdy Morwr from the farm gate for the impressive sum of £25,000. This is the thirteenth bull to have been sold for £25,000 or more from the Maerdy herd.

Maerdy Morwr is a son of the home-bred Maerdy Dynamite who has sired more than 170 offspring in Esmor’s Flintshire based herd since 2011. His dam Maerdy Fee is sired by the French-bred Victorieux who was imported by Mr Evans in 2006, who has eight bulls forward for the Stirling on the 20 February.

David Stubbs of AJR Farms purchased Morwr for his Ellon-based, 39 strong Newlogie Charolais herd. Mr Stubbs who is new to pedigree Charolais breeding, only joined the society in August of last year after purchasing the Logiestate herd of M Bruce and Partners. Maerdy Morwr, picked out by renowned stockmen Andrew & James Reid, is a very correct bull with tremendous presence and breed character who brings new bloodlines to the herd.

The farm is keen to expand their Charolais enterprise and more new additions have come in the way of the recent purchase of three animals from France, most notably Nobel, a young bull by 2016 Paris champion Hatenon. Picked from an impressive pen of calves, including a brother who won at Moulins 2017, Nobel is showing great potential and with his different breeding will undoubtedly have a big influence on the herd in the future.



February 9, 2018 Challenges ahead; time to think about your forward Beef strategy.

By David Mackenzie, Harbro

The press is full of debate about the challenges facing not only the UK as a whole post-Brexit, but specifically the challenges which may arise for UK agriculture once current trade agreements are changed. Without doubt this has the potential to cause great change – some say for the better, whist others fear agriculture could suffer without the EU support mechanisms and tariff protections.

The truth is that nobody knows what the outcome will be, and in the context of climate change and world population growth, perhaps Brexit will not even be the dominant force for change in the years ahead.

With this background how can beef producers possibly know the right way forward for their genetics?

The reality is that the choice of bull made today is a statement of the direction of that beef business for the next number of years. The type of genetics chosen today will in many cases be a key driver towards the sort of beef herd you have in 10 years’ time.

The three pillars of farm performance: Genetics, Nutrition, Management

Looking forward, the recurrent theme which seems to come through in all scenarios seems to be a drive towards greater technical efficiency. Whether it is from a reduction in post–Brexit support, reductions in tariffs which help restrict beef imports to the UK or long-term global demand for nutrients, all roads appear to lead to the conclusion that we need to ‘maximise outputs from given inputs’.

Genetics: Starting at the beginning of the supply chain the single most important factor that determines the profitability of the whole herd, is using the best available genetics. With less labour and time available Breeders are striving towards shorter calving periods and aiming towards more consistency in batch sizes at weaning. Responding to the requirements of the finisher, the aim is to achieve less days to market and more weight off farm at a younger age. With supply chains in many cases becoming more integrated, and with performance data being more readily available, the focus on genetics is going to be stronger than ever. And with farms becoming larger, understanding the role of genetics in whole-chain efficiency will become paramount.

Nutrition: It is absolutely clear that nutrition is key to achieving the potential of genetics. Exciting new science is demonstrating the opportunity to change the way genes are expressed through nutrition, and that this might even be possible before conception! There is clear opportunity for further useful research to be carried out in this area but we should be aware of the scope to improve current efficiency through improved feeding. One of the most striking recent examples has been the improved output of heifers by applying the correct balance of protein and starch at a young age. This has led to significant extra output and value from increased carcass weight.

In the past few years Harbro have worked with producers to improve health through nutrition and as a result we have developed a clear message of getting the rumen right is fundamental to overall health.

Management: The finishing landscape is changing. The pressures being placed on processors for a more efficient supply of uniform, quality product is resulting in much closer collaborations between the large finishers and abattoirs. With a greater focus on a more consistent supply of the appropriate animals, finishers themselves are looking to source more of the ideal animals for their system. These changes will inevitably drive a new focus on management which is likely to lead to more streamlined systems relying on detailed production data.

The beef industry may have much to learn in this regard from the unsubsidised pig and poultry industries which have driven output and efficiency in a large part through tackling variation in production. Eliminating the loss from ‘bottom-third’ performers is possibly the quickest way towards improving efficiency and profitability, and this is where many in the beef industry are focusing their attention.

The reality is that much of this variation can be tackled even before bulling by planning for a tight calving pattern. A more consistent group of calves makes management so much easier, and translates to an easier managed breeding herd as replacements come through. Proper pre-bulling nutrition, bull management and health surveillance set the best foundations for bulling success. Only bulling heifers over a six week period has ensured that only the most fertile animals are joining the herd and this has been a successful improvement to many breeders.

Harbro are investing heavily in supporting a profitable beef industry. We have developed a strategic partnership with Glasgow Vet School to take a lead on understanding the interaction between nutrition, rumen health and performance data. As profit drives our decisions the Charolais breed has always been recognised for delivering a fast growing efficient animal and this is why the breed was brought into the UK industry over 50 years ago and will have an even bigger role to play in the future.

Whilst challenges are undoubtedly ahead it is quite clear that the UK has the farmers, the genetics, the science and the management skills to compete. To do that, however, we need to plan and make the right decisions now.

Picture attached: Alan Meston, Stonehaven Aberdeenshire, a great example of a data driven Beef finisher which has put Charolais at the centre of his business strategy.


February 9, 2018 Charolais sell to 5,800gns at Welshpool

A small but high-quality offering of Charolais bulls saw a top bid of 5,800gns in Welshpool on Thursday 8 February, at the breed’s official spring sale, where 16 bulls sold to an average of £3622.50 and an improvement of 8% on last year’s clearance rate.

Leading the way at 5,800gns was Gareth Jones’ reserve champion from Cwmtirmynach, Bala. The May-2016 born Esgob Morgan who was snapped up by Edward Bros, Oswestry, Shropshire, is a son of Alwent Goldbar and the 26,000gns Carlisle junior champion Anside Excalibur daughter, Esgob Glain.

Esgob Morgan the reserve champion from Mr G M Jones sold for 5800 gns

Next in the trade stakes and purchased at 4,800gns by RW Owen, Garn Solbenmaen, Gwynedd for was Trefaldwyn Magnus, who had been tapped out second in his class at the pre-sale show for breeder and exhibitor Arwel Owen, Welshpool, Powys. The 17-month-old Magnus boosts an impressive pedigree, being sired by the 28,000gns Perth supreme champion Brampton Nacodar and out of the 11,000gns Royal Welsh Show female champion Trefaldwyn Fancygirl, a daughter of the 30,000gns Dingle Hofmeister.

Trefaldwyn Magnus sold for 4800 gns from Mr R A Owen

Just behind at 4,600gns was a yellow-ticket-winner from Mrs Ann Orr-Ewing, Purton, Wiltshire, the
Wesley Forceful son Foxacre Miletus. The May-2016 born Miletus is out of the Three Counties reserve junior heifer champion Foxacre Galante and goes home to work in Knighton, Powys for RP Morgan and Son.

Foxacre Miletus sold for 4600 gns from Mrs A Orr-Ewing

Two bulls sold for 4,500gns apiece and both were offered for sale by the aforementioned Arwel Owen. The first, Caenest Morgan who was bred by J and E Evans, Dryffryn Ardudwy, Gwynedd had also been awarded a yellow ticket at the pre-sale show. This 14-month-old who caught the eye of TT Jones and Co, Llanbrynmair, Powys, is by the proven high performing, short gestation and easy calving Blelack Digger and out of Trefaldwyn Eternity who in-turn is sired by the 30,000gns Balmyle Bollinger.

Caenest Morgan sold for 4500 gns from Mr R A Owen

Minutes later Mr Owen’s secured another bid of 4,500gns, this time for the home-bred November-2016 born Trefaldwyn Max who is also sired by Blelack Digger. His dam is the Goldies Eddy daughter Trefaldwyn Ice and the NPTC Group, Newtown, Powys were his winning bidders.

Trefaldwyn Max sold for 4500 gns from Mr R A Owen

Next, the 22-month-old Montgomery Meic commanded a 3,500gns bid from Gipsy Hall Farms, Wilmcote, Warwickshire. Meic who stood third in his class in the morning’s show is sired by the 9,000gns Balmyle Harlequin, out of the 30,000gns Dingle Hofmeister daughter Montgomery Iarll and was bred and exhibited by Gareth Roberts and Jones, Welshpool, Powys.

The next highest priced at 3,200gns was Gwenog Musketeer, consigned by J S & P L Howells, Llanwenog, Dyfed. This August-2016 born son of the 12,000gns Royal Welsh supreme champion Thrunton Classic and the 18,000gns Derryharney Outstanding daughter Gwenog Trali went home with TA and ME Jones, Llanbrynmair, Powys.

A trio of bulls were knocked down at 3,000gns a piece, with the first coming from Highfields Park Farm, Withyham, Sussex. The 20-month-old, blue-ticket winning Chameran Marek who was purchased by WF Palmer and Sons, Truro, Cornwall, is sired by the 12,000gns Cumberland Show champion of champions Sandelford Harrison and out of Edenhurst Fleur – another Dingle Hofmeister daughter.

Matching the 3,000gns price tag was the September-2016 born Wissington Mickey. Mickey, an entry from Jenny and John Rix, Nayland, Essex who was exhibited by Darren Knox was purchased by DWR Reynolds and Son, Knighton, Powys, is by the aforementioned Blelack Digger and out of the home-bred Gretnahouse Ferdinand-sired Wissington Jolly.

Also hitting the 3,000gns price tag was Esmor Evans’ 14-month-old Maerdy Mario from Mold, Flintshire. Maerdy Gwlan is out of French-bred Begonia daughter Maerdy Poem and sired by the 10,000gns Stirling reserve senior champion Blelack Fabulous. The Williams’ of Holt, were the successful bidder and take him home to their Wrexham-based unit.

The only female of the sale was a 2-year-old entry from Mr R J Butler, Rudford, Gloucestershire. Commanding a bid of 2,100gns from C Wardle, Sandbach, Cheshire was the 15,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Burradon Talisman daughter Carrigbeg Ladyjane who sells served to Davally Illusion.

Averages: 16 bulls: £3,622.50; one heifer: £2,100
Auctioneers: Welshpool Livestock Sales
Show Judge: Peter Heath, Hartfield, east Sussex

First Prize Winners Charolais Welshpool February 8th 2018

Show Results
Class One – Bulls born on or between 03/03/2016 – 14/04/2016
1st – Ann Orr-Ewing – Foxacre Maecenas – s. Wesley Forceful
2nd – Ann Orr-Ewing – Foxacre Marcellus – s. Wesley Forceful
3rd – Roberts & Jones – Montgomery Meic – s. Balmyle Harlequin
Class Two – Bulls born on or between 03/05/2016 – 30/06/2016
1st – Gareth Jones – Esgob Morgan – s. Alwent Goldbar
2nd – Highfields Park Farm – Chameran Marek – s. Sandelford Harrison
3rd – Ann Orr-Ewing – Foxacre Miletus – s. Wesley Forceful

Class Three – Bulls born on or between 09/07/2016 – 15/09/2016
1st – Peter Howells – Pedr Mysterio – s. Newroddige Imp
2nd – Arwel Owen – Trefaldwyn Magnus – s. Brampton Nacodar
3rd – James & Belinda Kimber – Beanhill Major – s. Inverlochy Ferdie
Class Four – Bulls born on or after 02/10/2016
1st – Esmor Evans – Maerdy Murray – s. Blelack Fabulous
2nd – Esmor Evans – Maerdy Myrddin – s. Vald’or-ra
3rd – Arwel Owen – Caenest Morgan – s. Blelack Digger
Class Five – Females
1st – Robert Butler – Carrigbeg Minty – s. Doonally Nicefor
2nd – Robert Butler – Carrigbeg Ladyjane – s. Burradon Talisman

Esmor Evans – Maerdy Murray – s. Blelack Fabulous
Reserve Champion
Gareth Jones – Esgob Morgan – s. Alwent Goldbar