Scotland’s Beef Event 2019 hosts, Robbie and Barbara Milne and son James, with SBA vice-chairman and event chairman David Barron (left) and SBA chairman Neil McCorkindale (right)

Arrangements are already well in hand for Scotland’s national beef event which will be held on an Aberdeenshire farm next year.

Scotland’s Beef Event 2019 on Thursday, May 30, 2019, will be hosted by beef farmers, Robbie and Barbara Milne, and their son, James, on their 500-acre all-grass farm of North Bethelnie, Oldmeldrum, Inverurie, where, with additional seasonal grazing extending to 664 acres, they run a herd of 320 Salers and Salers cross cows with Charolais bulls.

The event, organised by the Scottish Beef Association with arrangements in the hands of a local committee under the chairmanship of SBA vice-chairman, David Barron, Nether Aden, Mintlaw, is expected to attract a large attendance of beef farmers from all over Scotland and beyond.

“North Bethelnie is widely recognised as a well-managed commercial beef farm producing high quality beef cattle and forward stores and with an extensive range of buildings is an ideal venue for Scotland’s leading annual beef event,” said Mr Barron.

“We are grateful to the Milne family for kindly agreeing to host this important event for the beef industry in Scotland.”

Mr Barron said the beef industry was currently experiencing considerable pressures as a result of the unseasonal easing of prime cattle prices and a declining national beef herd, coupled with misguided calls to reduce beef cattle numbers to reduce carbon emissions.

“Scotland’s Beef Event 2019 will address these issues head-on by showcasing the latest technology to help farmers become as efficient as possible and at the same time highlight the importance of grassland in the sequestration of carbon which is never mentioned by scientists when talking about the carbon emissions of cattle.

“Efficient beef production and a reduction in net carbon emissions in to the atmosphere go hand-in-hand and are not mutually exclusive.”

Features of the event will include a farm tour, a range of technical demonstrations covering all aspects of beef production, a “Beef after Brexit” seminar with a panel of industry experts to be chaired by former BBC Scotland farming correspondent, Ken Rundle and a stockjudging competition.

For further information please contact the event organiser Natalie Cormack, Dairy Cottage, Tower Road, Ayton, Berwickshire, TD14 5QX. Tel: 07712 623669. E-mail:

December 4, 2018 New Carcase Traits from AHDB

New Breeding tools could help beef farmers boost profits

Five new Estimated Breeding Values (EBV’s) for traits that farmers are directly paid for, have been developed to help farmers improve profits by producing more beef animals that meet target specification.

To find out more click on the links below:

AHDB Carcase Traits Info

How to find the Carcase Traits

November 29, 2018 Charolais Chairman Cleans up at Carlisle

Burradon Nicodemus – 5,400gns Surpeme Champion & Top Priced

Society Chairman Chris Curry had a great day at Carlisle on Friday 23 November when his bull not only secured the championship at the pre sale show but went on to sell for the days top price of 5,400gns. 11 of the days small but high quality offering of Charolais bulls sold, representing a 79% clearance rate and averaging £3,723. All of the Charolais females on offer found new homes with the female champion securing the highest price.

The sale topper at 5,400gns was Chris Curry’s supreme champion Burradon Nicodemus, from Morpeth, Northumberland. Chris’s success comes on the back of him being awarded the reserve junior championship at Stirling last month, a title which bagged him a 13,000gns price. The 17 month old Nicodemus has the same sire as the Stirling bull behind him, the 14,000gns Stirling junior champion Blelack Imperialist, while his home bred dam Burradon Ingrid is a daughter of the 10,000gns Puntabrava Federico. He goes on Broughton to work for P Smith and Son in Lanarkshire.

Gretnahouse Newlook – 5,000gns

Second top price was Gretnahouse Newlook, an April 2017 born bull from Alasdair Houston, Gretna Green, Dumfriesshire, who was knocked down sold to D and W Bowman, Carsluith, Wigtownshire, for 5,000gns. The 17,000gns Balthayock Gladiator is the sire here and his dam is the Blelack Digger-sired Gretnahouse Garadise.

Laverock Misty – 4,500gns

Just behind at 4,500gns was one of the oldest entries at 26 months and second lot in the ring. Laverock Misty who was purchased by JT Coxon, Hepscott, Northumberland, is the first sold son of the homebred sire Laverock Inkspot and his dam Laverock Indigo goes back to the 19,000gns Perth reserve junior champion Corrie Alan. Misty was tapped out first in his class at the pre-sale show for breeders and exhibitors W Richardson and Sons, Kendal, Cumbria.

Dreva Neptune – 4,300gns

Next and selling for a 4,300gns price tag was an entry from J Warnock, Biggar, Lanarkshire. Dreva Neptune, a 19 month old son of the 13,000gns Highland Show junior male champion Kelton Trident and Dundas Pedro daughter Dreva Jean was purchased by D Graham, Canonbie, Dumfriesshire.

Bleasdale Nehemiah – 4,000gns Reserve Surpeme Champion

Just a few minutes earlier, the reserve supreme and male champion Bleasdale Nehemiah from Messrs Kelsall and Marsden, Preston, Lancashire, was snapped up by D Hyslop, Wamphray, Moffat, for 4,000gns. The March 2017 born Nehemiah is a 12,000gns Carlisle reserve senior champion Wesley Equinox son and bred out of Bleasdale Jennifer, a daughter of the 16,000gs Royal Welsh Show reserve male champion Anside Foreman.

Crookdale Maggie – 3,600gns Female Champion

The star of the female section and commanding a 3,600gns bid from S and GA Potter, Topcliffe, North Yorkshire, was the female champion Crookdake Maggie. The 10,000gns Perth supreme champion Thrunton Bonjovi is the sire of the two year old Maggie, who sold served to the Great Yorkshire Show reserve senior champion Sportsmans Linesman, while her dam is the Newhouse Bigal-sired Crookdake Gorgie. She was offered for sale by David and Sharon Miller, Wigton, Cumbria, who were also the consigners of the only cow and calf lot at the sale.

Crookdake Jewel sold along with her four month old bull calf Crookdake Olly who is by the aforementioned Sportsmans Linesman for 3,000gns to ST and JE Foster, Skipton, North Yorkshire. The 2014 born Jewel, who is sired by the Royal Highland reserve junior male champion Elgin Davinci, is out of the 25,000gns Perth supreme champion Goldies Unbeatable daughter Crookdake Diamond and sold back in calf to Linesman.

Averages: 11 bulls £3,722.73; one cow and calf £3,150, four heifers £2,270.63
Auctioneers: Harrison and Hetherington Ltd.
Judge: David Thornley, Swaldingcote, Derbyshire.

November 9, 2018 Norseman rides off with the top price

There was a strong commercial interest in Charolais bulls at Welshpool on Thursday 8 November at the breed’s official autumn sale. Bidding peaked at 7,000gns and 27 bulls sold to an average of £3,771, while the demand for Charolais females fuelled a 4,400gns top bid.

Maerdy Norseman – 7,000gns Top Price

Topping the lots and securing a price of 7,000gns in a joint purchase from Society President Archie MacGregor, Kilsyth, Glasgow, and Wallace Brown, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, was the 14-month-old Maerdy Norseman from Flintshire Vet, Esmor Evans, who had also secured the top price of 40,000gns at Stirling bull sales last month. Norseman was awarded a red ticket at the pre-sale show and is sired by the 10,000gns Stirling reserve senior male champion Blelack Fabulous, while his dam Maerdy Jinny is a daughter of the easy calving and short gestation Blelack Digger.

Next in the trade stakes was the day’s supreme champion Dooley Nemo who has been shown successful throughout the season, with his highest accolade being crowned male and junior male champion at this year’s Nation

Dooley Nemo – 6,500gns Champion

al Charolais show in July. His dam Guthrie Iona, who was purchased in-calf to Nemo at D and P Murray’s Guthrie herd dispersal sale in October 2016 for 3,400gns, is a daughter of the Royal Highland show supreme champion Balmyle Eclipse, and he is sired by Stirlingshire-bred Falleninch Hamzoraj. The May 2017 born Nemo who was purchased by SO Jones, Corwen, Clwyd for 6,500gns was bred and exhibited by David Thornley, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, who also went on to secure another top price of 4,200gns for his 16 month old

Dooley Nissan – 4,200gns

class winner Dooley Nissan. Sired by the National Charolais show supreme champion Davally Igolo and out of the Perthshire-born Harviestoun Harriet who goes back to the 15,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Burradon Talisman, he was purchased by D Morgan, Talybont, Ceredigion.

Trefaldwyn Nebo – 6,200gns

Next and selling for a 6,200gns price tag was a June 2017 born entry from Arwel Owen, Foel, Powys. Trefaldwyn Nebo, a son of Goldies Eddy and the Blelack Digger-sired Trefaldwyn Harmony stayed local when purchased by MPB Ashton and Sons, for their Welshpool based suckler unit.

Caylers Nixon – 5,000gns Reserve Champion

Caylers Nixon was next in the trade stakes at 5,000gns after he caught the eye of TN Lightfoot, Callington, Cornwall, when he was tapped out as reserve supreme champion by judge Emma Andrews in the pre-sale show. The Barker Family of Caylers Charolais, Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire, are the breeders of this 18 month old son of the Irish born Rosana Jupiter, bred out of the Thrunton Dominator daughter Caylers Graceful.

Montgomery Ned – 4,800gns

Two entries from Messrs Roberts and Jones Llangadfan based Montgomery herd were the next highest priced lots and both were sired by the 8,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Gretnahouse Jugular. Top priced was the 15 month old Montgomery Ned who secured a bid of 4,800gns from GG Morris, Brecon, Powys. He had been handed a yellow ticket earlier in the day and is out of the Elgin Columbo-sired Montgomery Hafren.

Montgomery Nefyn – 4,000gns

Earlier in the sale their 18 month old entry Montgomery Nefyn sold for 4,000gns. He had also been successful in the pre-sale show, being awarded third place in a strong class of intermediate’s. This time out of Montgomery Imperial who goes back to Blelack Digger, he was purchased by W Pugh, Rhayader, Powys.

Hendy Nadal – 4,000gns

Also hitting the 4,000gns price tag was Wyn Rees and Son’s Hendy Nadal from Llangurig, Powys. After being placed second in class, the 14 month old Nadal by Davally Illusion was knocked down to EH Anwyl, Llanbrynmair, Powys. His dam is Hendy Gentle, a daughter of the 8,500gns Killadeas Contact.

Foxacre Marcina – 4,400gns

A strong entry of females saw the prices peak at 4,400gns for a class winning entry from Ann Orr-Ewing, Purton, Wiltshire. Foxacre Marcina, a July 2016 born daughter of Wesley Forceful and Moreton show reserve female champion Foxacre Flavia, was bought by Tomos Rich, Cilcain, Flintshire, who went on to purchase both of Griff Morris’ cow and calf outfits on offer.

The first and top priced of Mr Morris’s cow and calf combo’s from Llanwern, Powys, secured a 4,000gns bid from Mr Rich. The 2012-born cow Cargriff Harmony and her seven month old heifer calf Carrgriff Octave were the pair and Harmony whose sire is the Irish-born Goldstar Echo was sold served to Thrunton Larry who is also the sire of Octave.

An added feature of the sale was the dispersal of Rodney and Jake Gregory’s, Chasewater-based Kerling herd from Cornwall. Their top lot was another mother and daughter pair. The cow Wesley Fettle, who sold served to the 9,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Sportsmans Neptune, is a 2010 born daughter of the 10,000gns Balmyle Dingle and out of the Maerdy Rock-sired Wesley Capri, while her six month old her heifer calf Kerling Octavia, is sired by Gretnahouse Loomis. Together they commanded a 3,000gns bid from Neil Barclay, Insch Aberdeenshire.

Also bolstering the female section were the production sale heifers from the aforementioned Arwel Owen’s 1994 established Trefaldwyn herd. The highest priced at 2,200gns was the March 2017 born Trefaldwyn Nova. Sired by Blelack Digger and out of Trefaldwyn Jadore, a daughter of Goldies Eddy, she goes home to Talsarnau, Gwynedd, with her new owner GW Williams.

Averages: 27 bulls: £3,771; eight heifers: £2,848; Trefaldwyn Production – three heifers: £2,170; Cargriff Reduction – two cow and calves: £3,570; Kerling Dispersal – one cow: £1,365; four cow and calves: £2,402; two heifers: £1,522.50
Auctioneers: Welshpool Livestock Sales
Show Judge: Emma Andrews, Holmfirth, Yorkshire
Sponsor: KLF Insurance Brokers

November 5, 2018 Charolais Females in Demand at Dungannon

A ready demand for Charolais at Dungannon on Friday 2 November saw bull prices top at 5,800gns with an of average of £3,335 for the 34 sold – eight more than last year’s corresponding sale. Two herd reductions added to the female tally with 15 heifers selling to a top of 6,500gns and averaging £3,269, while the three cow and calves on offer averaged £4,900.

Kiltybane Norman – 5,800gns

Leading the bull lots at 5,800gns was the junior and reserve supreme champion Kiltybane Norman from Seamus and Aidan Bellew, Cullyhanna, Co Down. Norman who was purchased by Kevin O’Neill, Dromore, Co Tyrone, is an August 2017 born son of the 16,000gns Royal Welsh show reserve male champion Anside Foreman and Kiltybane Flora, a daughter of the Great Yorkshire show interbreed champion Cretlevane Albertz.

Hillviewfarm Nougat – 5,200gns

Hillviewfarm Nougat, a blue ticket winner from Adrian Richardson, Maguiresbridge, Co Fermanagh, was the next highest priced bull at 5,200gns. The 17 month old Nougat is sired by the popular, easy calving and short gestation Blelack Digger, while his dam is the French-bred Harestone Tyrol-sired and Scottish-born Elgin Elisha. He goes on to work in Donegal, Eire for new owner Dessie Graham.

Brigadoon Neptune – 4,900gns

Next in the trade stakes at 4,900gns was the April 2017 born Brigadoon Neptune, who had also stood second in his class at the pre-sale show. Purchased by Andrew Canning, Dungiven, Co Derry, he is out of Rossmore Urbane, who goes back to Doonally New and is sired by the 10,000gns Stirling reserve junior champion Goldies Icon. He was consigned by breeders Albert and David Connolly, Ballynahinch, Co. Down.

Brigadoon Nemesis – 4,600gns

The Connolly’s had a good day, with the two lots they had on offer, averaging £4,987.50. Their other consignment, the 18 month old Brigadoon Nemesis who was snapped up by Colin Maxwell, Downpatrick, Co Down, for 4,600gns, is sired by the Royal Ulster show supreme champion Brampton Petition and out of the Irish-bred Royal Gemma.

Brogher Nevada – 4,800gns Reserve Junior Champion

The reserve junior champion Brogher Nevada from Trevor Phair, Bellanaleck, Co Fermanagh, was next in the trade stakes at 4,800gns. The breeding here includes Vexour Freddy on to the home-bred Brogher Gemma, who goes back to the 10,000gns Perth supreme champion Thrunton Bonjovi, and this October 2017 born lad was purchased by RW Robertson, Newtownards, Co Down.

Skinboy Napoleon – 4,000gns Reserve Senior Champion

Three bulls were knocked down at 4,000gns a piece and the first was the pre-sale show reserve senior champion Skinboy Napoleon. This April 2017 born son of the 55,000gns Royal Show supreme champion Thrunton Voldemort and Dunlon Ulick daughter, Skinboy Ellen, was bred and consigned by Seamus Houston, Douglas Bridge, Co Tyrone, and Derek Campton, Dunmore, Co Tyrone, was the successful bidder.

Also commanding a 4,000gns bid, this time from Andrew McCammond, Templepatrick, Co Antrim, was James McBride’s Moorlough Nougat from Strabane, Co Tyrone. The 16,000gns Stirling junior champion Clyth Diplomat is the sire of this 17 month old lad who stood second is his class at the pre-sale show, while is dam is Moorlough Heighlight, a Thrunton Voldemort daughter.

Matching the 4,000gns price tag was another blue ticket winner, the 16 month old Killadeas New. His dam Killadeas Dawn is a home-bred daughter of the Dungannon supreme champion Glencoe Victor and he is sired by the 8,000gns Blelack Blackberet. Bred and exhibited by Stuart and David Bothwell, Ballina Mallard, Co Fermanagh, he heads on to Castlewellan, Co Down, to work for M and E Rice.

The next lot, Sandelford Neeson, who had headed up his pre-sale show class, was knocked down sold at 3,800gns to Daniel McAllister, Ballycastle, Co Antrim. George Henderson, Bushmills, Co Antrim was the consigner of the June 2017 born Neeson, who is by the 26,000gns Balbithan Vespasian and out of Sandelford Finessa who goes back to the 14,000gns Goldies Usher.

A pair of bulls sold for the next highest price of 3,400gns with the first being an April 2017 born Blelack Digger son from John, Ivan and Ryan Elliott, Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone. Drumlegagh Nero, whose dam Deeleview Helen is sired by the French-bred Suzeringie, was purchased by TJ McLernon, Crumlin, Co Antrim.

Drumconnis Necleus – 3,400gns Reserve Intermediate Champion

The second to sell at a 3,400gns price tag, was another Digger son, Drumconnis Necleus who had been awarded the reserve intermediate championship title earlier in the day. The 30,000gns Balmyle Bollinger-sired Drumconnis Ida is the dam of this 15 month old from John McGrath, Dromore, Co Tyrone, who stayed local when purchased by Kevin O’Neill, also from Dromore.

There have not been many Charolais females on offer at Society sales this year and the purchasers were keen to grab one while they had the chance. The drafts from the Hillviewfarm and Glencoe herds fuelled the interest and Adrian Richardson and Son’s heifers topped the lots.

Heading up the prices at 6,500gns for the Richardson family was the two year old Hillviewfarm Millie. Sired by the aforementioned Blelack Digger, and out of the 25,000gns Perth supreme champion Mowbraypark Orlando-sired Hillviewfarm Iona, she was snapped up by Colin Todd, Lisburn, Co Antrim. With another three heifers selling to new homes, the Richardson’s enjoyed a great trade and sold the four to average £5,486.

The next at 6,200gns was another of their lots, with the same sire behind her. Hillviewfarm Margaret, who is out of Hillviewfarm Dawn, a daughter of the 15,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Burradon Talisman, heads over the water to Roebuck, Yorkshire, with new Charolais breeder David Timm, who went on to purchase two out of the three Hillviewfarm cow and calves on offer.

The highest priced at 4,800gns was the mother and daughter pair Hillviewfarm Dawn – the dam of the previous mentioned lot – and her eight month old heifer calf Hillviewfarm Olive who is sired by Mowbraypark Orlando.

Killadeas Nancy – 4,800gns Female Champion

The top lot in the main heifer consignment and commanding a 4,800gns bid from Clare Ferris, Millisle, Co Down, was the Female Champion Killadeas Nancy from Stuart and David Bothwell. The 16 month old Nancy, is sired by the abovementioned Blelack Blackberet and out of the Doonally New daughter Killadeas Faithful.

Also in the money at 4,500gns, was the youngest heifer of the sale, the November 2017 born Glencoe Nelly from Paddy and Valerie McDonald, Killeavy, Co Down. A daughter of Clyth Diplomat her dam is the Bova Banker-sired Glencoe Jenny and she was purchased by Denis Quinn, Cookstown, Co Tyrone.

Averages 34 bulls £3,335, 15 heifers £3,269, three cow and calves £4,900.
Auctioneers: Dungannon Farmers Mart
Sponsor: Natural Nutrition
Judge: Mark Ross, Gorebridge, Midlothian.

October 24, 2018 Charolais lead the Autumn trade at Stirling

Judge: Will Short

Charolais took the top price, made the highest average and sold the most bulls at the Autumn round of Stirling bull sales this week. 80 bull sold to average £6,785.63 – £706 up on the year and clearing at 81%. Prices topped at 40,000gns and 12 bulls made five-figure sums while a further 31 sold for 5,000gns and above.

Society CEO Peter Phythian commented “We are delighted with the trade, especially considering the issues with beef prices and the drought during the summer. It just goes to show that commercial farmers want a breed with a real premium that can finish quicker than any other”.

Leading the bids at 40,000gns was one of the youngest lots of the sale, Maerdy Newman. This June 2017 born son of the 10,000gns Stirling reserve senior champion Blelack Fabulous and Maerdy Dynamite-sired Maerdy Junco was snapped up by Boden and Davies, Stockport, Cheshire. Breeder and exhibitor and Flintshire Vet Esmor Evans, was delighted with his day, selling a total of five bulls averaging £13,860. He commented “I knew he was an exceptional bull, and this was proven by the immense interest shown in him this week which was reflected in his price”.

Maerdy Newman – 40,000gns Top Priced

Next in the trade stakes was another 15 month old, this time from Society President Archie MacGregor, Kilsyth, Glasgow. Allanfauld Neptune who had placed third in his class twenty-four hours earlier, was knocked down sold to R McCulloch, Armadale, West Lothian for 20,000gns. His impressive breeding includes sire, the 11,000gns Carlisle reserve junior champion Balmyle Jasper and dam Royal Highland show class winner Allanfauld Heiress, a daughter of the 11,000gns Woodpark Elgin.

Allanfauld Neptune – 20,000gns

The supreme and senior champion Anside Nightrider was the next highest priced at 18,000gns, selling to Billy Turner, Skelton in Ure, North Yorkshire. This January 2017 born son of the 11,000gns Woodpark Elgin and 30,000gns Balmyle Bollinger daughter Anside Geisha is no stranger to show success having secured the Nairn show championship earlier in the year for breeders and consigners Anside Livestock, Keith, Banffshire.

Anside Nightrider – 18,000gns Supreme and Senior Champion

The next highest priced lot and selling for 15,000gns to T Smith and Son, Alford, Aberdeenshire, was the first of three top priced lots from Bill Bruce, Meigle, Perthshire. 17 month old Balmyle Nucleus, who stood second in his class at the presale show, is sired by the French imported Maerdy Gouverneur and out of Balmyle Heyday, a 9,500gns Maerdy Egret daughter.

Balmyle Nucleus 15,000gns

Just behind at 14,000gns was Mr Bruce’s next lot and show class winner Balmyle Navarone. Another 17 month old, sired by Maerdy Gouverneur but this time out of the Royal Highland show champion Balmyle Eclipse-sired Balmyle Garland, he was purchased by J Jeffrey, Kelso, Roxburghshire.

Balmyle Navarone – 14,000gns

Another to bring home the money for Bill Bruce was the blue ticket winner and May 2017 born Balmyle Napier, who sold in a 10,000gns deal to Hepburn and Co, Hawick, Roxburghshire. Napier is sired by the 9,500gns Maerdy Egret while his dam is the 12,000gns Pennal Dazzler daughter Balmyle Glucose.

Balmyle Napier – 10,000gns

Society Chairman Chris Curry’s Northumberland born reserve junior champion Burradon Noah was next in the trade stakes at 13,000gns. Another lot with impressive breeding, his sire is the 14,000gns Stirling junior champion Blelack Imperialist and dam Burradon Ivana is by the 10,000gns Puntabrava Federico. The June 2017 born Noah was purchased by J Warnock and Son, Biggar, Lanarkshire.

Burradon Noah – 13,000gns Reserve Junior Champion

Securing a price of 12,000gns was the reserve supreme and junior champion Coolnaslee Nolan, who was also shown at Balmoral this year and crowned male champion for breeder and exhibitor Jonathan Crawford, Maghera, Co Derry. A son on the 50,000gns Stirling reserve supreme champion Balthayock Justice and Clogher show reserve female champion Coolnaslee Gillian, a 55,000gns Balmoral show interbreed champion Sportsmans Columbo daughter, this May 2017 born lad caught the eye of purchaser JI Stout, Stronsay, Orkney.

Coolnaslee Nolan – 12,000gns Junior & Reserve Supreme Champion

Making 10,500gns and selling to GL Foulger and Son, Billinghurst, West Sussex, was the 15 month old red ticket holder Firhills Nimrod, a bull who has been shown successfully throughout the summer by breeder Jim Muirhead, Arbroath, Angus. The 18 month old Nimrod is sired by the 20,000gns Royal Welsh show supreme champion Maerdy Grenadier and out of the 9,000gns Ugie Erin who goes back to the 28,000gns Farleycopse Turbo.

Firhills Nimrod – 10,500gns

The first of three futher lots making 10,000gns was a class winner from Roy and Matthew Milne, Lhanbride, Morayshire, who was also crowned junior interbreed champion, reserve Beefbreeder champion and reserve breed male champion at this year’s Royal Highland show. Elgin Neuer, a March 2017 born son of the 11,000gns Woodpark Elgin and Rumsden Samurai-sired Elgin Ultra goes home to work in Killeranan, Muir of Ord for WJ Jack and Sons.

Elgin Neuer – 10,000gns

The next 10,000gns lot was Brampton Nutella, who not only topped his class at the presale show but also claimed a red rosette at this year’s National show in July. The aforementioned Billy Turner who had earlier purchased the sale supreme champion presented this 18 month old lot. Nutella who was purchased by A O’Rouke, Newry, Co Down, is among the first bulls to sell by Cumbrian bred Border Jamboree, whose daughters have been retained, while the dam is the Billingley Siralex -sired Brampton Daylight, a Great Yorkshire show interbreed champion.

Brampton Nutella – 10,000gns

Another to bring 10,000gns when chapped down to WF Mill, Thurso, Caithness, was Hamish Goldie‘s yellow ticket winner and June 2017 born Goldies Notable from Ruthwell, Dumfries. He is sired by the 15,000gns Gretnahouse Heman and out of Goldies Dignity who goes back to the 30,000gns Dingle Hofmeister.

Goldies Notable – 10,000gns

Just a few lots earlier Tweeddale Neworleans was knocked down sold for 9,000gns to DG Walker, Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire. The June 2017 born Blelack Blackberet sired Neworleaons is out of the Dingle Hofmeister daughter Lakenheath Eugenie and was offered for sale by Jonathan Watson and Co, Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland.

Tweedale Neworleans – 9000gns

No fewer than six lots secured an 8,500gns sale price and the first was the reserve senior champion
Glenericht Machine. WK and P Drysdale, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, were the consigners of this 22 month old, out of Glenericht Hayley, a 16,000gns Stirling junior champion Clyth Diplomat daughter and sired by 15,000gns Stirling junior champion Maerdy Hwre, who was purchased by JJ Gordon, Huntly, Aberdeenshire.

Glenericht Machine – 8,500gns Reserve Senior Champion

The next to sell for 8,500gns, this time to J Woodman and Sons, Haltwhistle, Northumberland, was an entry from JHC Campbell and Sons, Alnwick, Northumberland. The 18 month old Rosebrough Nero who was bred by J and E Campbell, is sired by Thrunton Gladiator, who has been producing progeny consistently for both herds since 2013, while his dam Thrunton Virtuous is by the 15,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Burradon Talisman.

Roseborough Nero – 8,500gns

Another to secure 8,500gns was a May 2017 born son of the 18,000gns Thrunton Fairfax, whose dam Forglen Jenny is a daughter of the 9,000gns Royal Cornwall show and Great Yorkshire show reserve champion Gretnahouse Archangel. Forglen Nero, who was this year’s Turriff show male champion from Eric and Ellis, Mutch, Banff, Aberdeenshire, was purchased by J Hyslop and Son, Biggar, Lanarkshire.

Forglen Nero – 8,500gns

Top priced purchasers Boden and Davies Ltd, also produced an 8,500gns bull. Sportsmans Nero, a 16 month old, who was awarded a blue ticket in the pre-sale show goes on to work in Nairn, Invernessshire with new owners JM Forbes and Son. His sire Goldies Jerry is a 26,000gns Royal Welsh show male champion and his dam Sportsmans Harriet is a daughter of the 70,000gns Royal Welsh Show supreme champion Barnsford Ferny.

Sportsmans Nero – 8500gns

The final two 8,500gns lots were both consigned by top priced bull seller Esmor Evans. Also sons of Blelack Fabulous, Maerdy Ned and Maerdy Newel found new homes in Invernessshire and Orkney respectively. The May 2017 born Ned is out of the 13,000gns Balthayock Eagle-sired Maerdy Juice and was purchased by W Duncan and Co, Insch, while the June 2017 born Newel is out of Maerdy Honney, sired by the French-bred Froufrou, and caught the eye of T Leslie, Shapinsay.

Maerdy Ned – 8,500gns

Maerdy Newel – 8500gns

Completing the top 20 prices at 8,000gns was Goldies Nobel, the pre-sale show reserve intermediate champion from Hamish Goldie, Ruthwell, Dumfries. Purchased by Kincraigie Farms, Banchory, Aberdeenshire, he is out of the 15,000gns Gretnahouse Heman daughter Goldies Joey and sired by Blelack Blackberet.

Goldies Nobel – 8,000gns reserve Intermdiate Champion

Averages: 80 bulls £6875.63
Auctioneers: United Auctions

October 9, 2018 Myostatin Information

What is Myostatin?
Myostatin is a gene that influences the production of proteins which control muscle development. When an animal is identified as having one of the mutations it means that they have inactive genes which do not control muscle growth as effectively, this can result in increased muscle mass. Currently in cattle, there are 19 known mutations of the gene and after extensive testing for the nine most common varients, we have concluded that the British Charolais cattle population only contains two – F94L & Q204X.

Why are we testing for Myostatin?
Knowing the myostatin status of your animals will help you to select bulls with the most appropriate myostatin traits for your breeding programme. This will lead to better calving ease and help with the ever-present trend to improve carcase conformation and quality. However, it is just one tool which should be used in conjunction with the wider information available such as Estimated Breeding Values (EBV’s) – which predict the performance of the animal based on its back pedigree, accurate measurements and the performance of its herd mates – and your own judgement on type and pedigree.


How are these genes inherited?

All reproducing species have two copies of each gene – called alleles. If your Charolais has one copy of the myostatin variant (one allele) it is classed at heterozygous, if it has two copies (two allele) it is classed as homozygous.

The table below shows the chances of inheriting depending on the status of the parents:

Below is a quick guide to the traits that are likely to be evident in homozygous and heterozygous calves born compared to calves with no myostatin:

Do you know what genes your cows are carrying? Don’t forget that the bull is only half the story.

August 31, 2018 Farm Visit 15 September

The British Charolais & Salers cattle societies are holding a farm visit on Saturday 15 September, kindly hosted by Alun and Anita at Thomas at Tyn hendre, Talybont, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 3YP

The event will take place between 11am and 2pm and will include a farm tour, lunch, talks and demonstrations including:

  • Introduction by host farmer Alun
  • Society speakers
  • Geraint Jones from Agri Lloyd
  • Pelvic measurement demonstrations by Alun’s vet
  • Scanning demonstrations by Jim Barbour
  • A talk from HCC on EBV’s and calving intervals

This is free event sponsored by HCC, The Salers Cattle Society and the British Charolais Cattle Society and there is no need to book, just turn up on the day.

We look forward to seeing you there.

For more information, please contact 02476 697222 or 01422 839233

August 23, 2018 National Young Stars Northern Boys

This year’s Charolais team, The Northern Boys – Micheal Dumbreck, Tom Brown and Harry Stobart, who were kindly jointly sponsored by Blyth’s Butchers, arrived at Malvern Three Counties Showground mid-morning, after their long trip down from Yorkshire ready to start work.

The oldest member of the team, 25 year old Michael is cattle stockman for the renowned Brampton herd in Skelton on Ure, Ripon, North Yorkshire, where he has been based for the past six years looking after Billy Turner’s 80 head Charolais herd. Under his watch the herd has enjoyed renewed success in the show ring and has produced the Yorkshire show junior champion Brampton Legoman and Brampton Nutella, a class winner at this year’s National. He has also established a small Saler herd of his own and in his spare time is a member of his local clay shooting team and also a part of small game shooting syndicate. His favourite part of the day though, is coming home to his partner Tiffany and their two children, Evie aged nine and six month old Freddie, who starting crawling while his Dad was on the way home from the competition. Prior to coming to Brampton, he worked on a fattening unit while studying at Askham Bryan College to qualify for his National Diploma in Agriculture. Speaking about his experience at the competition he said “it was a great learning curve, I wasn’t sure what to expect but the organisers, stewards and judges made us feel very welcome and at ease. At the social and throughout the days we had a chance to meet and mix with the other competitors from all the different disciplines; dairy, sheep, pigs and butchery and we’ve made loads of new friends”.

Tom who is 19 has been involved with Charolais cattle since the day he could walk, helping his father with their Ellerton Charolais herd and gradually taking on more of the responsibility for showing.  Andrew has been breeding their small herd for 35 years producing bulls selling up to 22,000gns and having a number of prize winning cattle including Ellerton Nessie who topped her class at the National Show this year. Tom is currently training to be a qualified butcher at A. Laverack & Son and his interest in butchery has developed because he has a keen interest in rearing and selling livestock, always striving to improve the value of meat produced on a carcase. He is also an active member of his local Young Farmers Club and particularly enjoys stock judging across all livestock species, which has taken him to Northern area level and different parts of the country including the Isle of Man. This year Tom competed at no less than three regional qualifiers, placing first in each and was 3rd in his age group at the National final in July.

The youngest member of the team was Harry Stobart, who was just two days shy of his 17th Birthday at the start of show. Another who has grown up in the Charolais world, Harry from just outside Carlisle, Cumbria, is an experienced showman for both his Dad and Grandad’s Scalehouses and Scotby herds as well as helping out other herds such as the Blyth’s Marwood herd at shows and sales. Harry’s entry at the Yorkshire show this year – Scotby Nightstar – secured a blue ticket in her class and his half-brother was sold at the Society’s Carlisle Spring sale for 5,000gns to Graystoke Castle Farms. He is completing his apprenticeship at Newton Rigg Collage and while on summer leave is working at St Miller Hill Farm, Gilsland, tending the cross Texel ewes and suckler cross cows. He also works on a dairy farm at the weekend.

The teams promotional stand

The first order of the day was to assemble the show stand as part of the competition is to design a stand and marketing materials to promote the team, the breed, the cattle and the promotional theme, which this year was “the future of British farming”. The lads put a lot of work into designing the banners, write ups and leaflets before the competition and the finished version looked great. Tom came up with the idea of displaying meat and doing a spot of cooking and the Blyth family of Marwood stepped up to provide the team with the Charolais beef for their display. There were quite a few offers to purchase the joints after the show but thankfully the boys managed to keep hold of it and as a result they all had a nice joint for their Sunday dinner!

The next task was to settle the cattle in which were once again kindly provided by Mortimers Farms, who have bought cattle to the event for us for the past four years and travelled all the way from Hampshire. Charlie and Karen Maclean, whose sons Angus, Charlie and Donald won the competition last year, bought two lovely quiet heifers across, the April 2017-born Mortimers Nononsence and May 2017-born Mortimers Nimbus, who are both sired by the Royal Bath and West show class winner Mortimers Hurricane.

It was during the cattle prep that Harry was injured, and we had to make a trip to the local A&E for them to sew up his finger. Meanwhile Michael and Tom finished up the display and proceeded with the stockjudging and quiz with Tom giving reasons for the team. The day finished with a BBQ and social and luckily Harry made it back just in time for a medicinal drink before bed.

The second day of the competition was taken up with preparing the cattle for the show and despite his injury Harry helped as much as he could. We had a change of plan so that he would taking the interview later in the day as he wanted to do his bit towards the team score. 3pm soon came around and the lads, looking very dapper in their shirt and waistcoat combo, lead their cattle into the ring during which time Harry was interviewed over the mike.

With the competition complete it was time for the presentations and we are proud to announce that the team came a respectable forth. In a change to the usual format, this year the organisers decided that it would not necessarily be the winning team that went forward to represent them in Canada, but instead they selected three of the individual competitors from the qualifying age group of 18-24 – which meant sadly Harry did not qualify. Michael and Tom however were chosen for the all-expenses paid trip of a lifetime and will leave for Canada to represent the National Show Stars and Charolais in November.

The team selected to go to Canada – Ellie from team Black as Night, Tom, Canadian host Karen Mansfield and Michael

Well done and thanks to Michael, Tom and Harry who were exemplary representatives of the Society and thanks to sponsors Blyth’s Butchers, Hartlepool for the meat display and Mortimers Farms for providing the heifers.

August 23, 2018 Charolais Youth Year

South East, Anglia & South West Regional Qualifier

There was an early start to the qualifiers this year, as the weekend after Easter saw the first of the regional qualifiers take place for the South East, Anglia and South West regions on Saturday 7 April at Mortimers Farm, Fair Oak, Hampshire, by kind invitation of the Piper and Maclean families.

Mortimers Farm which established their Charolais pedigree herd in 1983 with the purchase of seven pedigree Charolais females from the Monymusk herd, is well known throughout the show circuit as Charlie and the boys take their show team all over the country. They have achieved considerable success in all age groups at National and County Shows including Overall Supreme Championship at the Royal Highland, South of England and The Royal Bath & West – to name just a few, and bred the last ever Royal Show Champion Mortimers Urovision.

In the sale ring the herd has had seven Perth sale female champions, five of whom were sired by homebred Mortimers Josh and their current record high priced, was the sale of Mortimers Echo for 10,000gns at Stirling in February 2011.

Quality is favoured over quantity and the Mortimers’ breeding objective has been to produce quality females and bulls for pedigree herds and the commercial farmer – focusing on ease of calving, conformation, temperament, milk and growth rates. A high health and welfare policy is paramount, and the herd is a member of the SRUC Premium Cattle Health Scheme and accredited for BVD, IBR and Johnes.

After the club AGM, the stockjudging began with three classes to be judged, young heifers, cows and bulls. After which we tucked into the fine spread laid on by regional co-ordinator and host Karen Maclean, which included some very welcome warming soup. Lunch and the presentations were hosted in the beautiful period barn and when everyone had eaten their fill there was a chance to have a go at halter making with Graham Fishlock before a cattle dressing demonstration by experienced showmen Darren Knox of the Drumshane herd and host Charlie Maclean.

Before the presentation of prizes, the master judge 23-year-old Ruth Perry gave us a demonstration on how to give reasons and the young competitors had a chance to ask her questions about her choices, and her experiences in previous stockjudging competitions. It was refreshing to have such a young master judge and the high scores achieved by the competitors proved that she knew her stuff.

Congratulations to all of the regional high scorers who went forward to the National final on the 21st July. For the South East region, Angus Maclean and Kirstie Torrance will represent the seniors with scores of 142 & 132 respectively. Donald Maclean and Matthew Ranson who scored 134 & 106 will go forward at the intermediate team and Holly Archer and Kiera Mason go forward for the juniors with scores of 141 and 138. For Anglia, team A are Naomi Jones and Ellie Knox who scored 127 & 125, team B – Toby Ranson and Hannah Knox – 102 & 123 and team C – Charlie Knox scoring 123 and William Heath. And finally, the South West will be represented by James Wareham, George Wareham, Emily Mitchell, Ben Trim, Tom Mitchell and Ali Wareham who scored 113, 102, 136, 134, 130 & 112 respectively.

Wales & North Midlands

Regional qualifiers for the Welsh and Midlands regions were next, and this year was again held at Welshpool Livestock Market on the evening preceding the April society sale.

The stockjudging was scheduled for after the inspections and there was a small turnout with competitors travelling from Wales, the Midlands and even one from Yorkshire! The market had kindly agreed to us using the show ring and as usual the Welshpool market team were really accommodating, with the caterers staying on late so we could host the presentations in the canteen. The exhibitors were as always, ready and willing to help and between them organised two bull good classes for judging and Society Vice Chairman Ben Harman kindly stepped in as master judge.

After the judging, while the scoring was taking place, Society CEO Peter Phythian gave a presentation to competitors and exhibitors on cattle classification and market requirements, which was followed by a talk and a question and answer session on the Society’s new DNA policy.

Congratulations to Aimee Varga, Tom Brown, George Hollinshead, Imogen Roe, Cara Smith and Luke Allen-Pugh, who all qualified for a place at the National final.


The Border region qualifier was held with kind permission and sponsorship of Harrison & Hetherington at Borderway Mart, on the eve of the Spring Carlisle sale, on the first of what we hope to be an annual event held jointly with the British Blonde Society.

The evening kicked off at 7pm with the stockjudging of two classes of Charolais and a class of Blonde cattle, thanks must go to the exhibitors who even after a long day, kindly and happily bought their cattle out into the ring for the competitors to view. The master judge James Crichton explained what he was looking for to youngsters and locals who had turned out to take part. Betty Graham, Paul Stobart and the club organised a raffle, guess the weight competition and bar in aid of Hospice at Home and the local Air Ambulance, which ended up with healthy donations at the end of the evening.

While the scoring was taking place, the caterers laid on a hot beef roll and chips for all the attendees before Andrew Stott performed clipping demonstrations on both a Charolais and a Blonde heifer and the Society staff gave presentations similar to the ones at Welshpool before the winners were announced.

Well done to Euan Cunningham and Paul Gardner who qualified for the senior team and both scored 171 points, Harry Stobart and Ellie Stamper who qualified for the intermediate team with scores of 190 and 179 points respectively, and Jack Little scoring 152 and Cara Mitchell scoring 133 qualifying them for the junior team, for the National final in July.

Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East area was the next to hold their qualifier, which was held for the second year running in Skelton on Ure, North Yorkshire, at Billy Turner’s Brampton herd. Brampton is one of the longest established Charolais herds in the country being started back in 1972 and has gone from strength to strength, with accolades including being awarded the Raymond Ogden Perpetual Trophy on its first outing in 1982, numerous Supreme Championships at the Perth bull sales and the Royal Show and most recently Brampton Nutella headed his class at this year’s National show. The Turners have also exported Charolais cattle all worldwide including consignments to Brazil, South Africa and Eire.

Stockman Michael and Antony had prepared three handsome classes of cattle and the Master Judge Harvey Wood made his choices before the competitors took their turn. Club secretary Margaret Atkinson arranged the scoring and the presentations were made at Billy and daughter Sarah’s home in the village, where we were treated to a pork batch supper with plenty of cakes for pud.

Qualifying for the final were seniors Jordan Tipping who scored 118 and Joe Speak with 115 points, intermediates Charlie Hitchen with 114 points and Sam Watson scoring 108 points and juniors Sophie and Rebecca Hitchen who scored 212 and 105 respectively.


May bank holiday weekend saw the Scottish and Northern club qualifier hosted at Firhills Farm in Arbroath, Angus by kind invitation of Jim Muirhead. The family had pulled out all of the stops to make it a great day, with a fantastic show of cattle and a fabulous spread.

The Firhills herd was established in 1971 when Jim’s father Dave joined the Society to grade up his commercial herd using Charolais semen as at the time graded up Charolais bulls were selling for around £1,000 per head. Jim bought his first pedigree Charolais – Kingsmuir Teresa – in 1989, and later followed this with the purchase of Stirling Mia when John Hornall sold his herd prior Andrew taking over.

Jim’s daughter Alison who helps manage the herd is an active member of the Scottish and Northern club and has previously served as club secretary, while Jim is a seasoned show judge, with his last major appointment judging the beef interbreed pairs at the Highland Show in 2016. The herd current consists 30 breeding cows, nine in-calf heifers and nine bulling heifers, with four bulls going up to Stirling in October. Looking to the future Jim would like to increase his cow count to 40 now that he has reached a stage where he can more selectively breed for type. The 380 acre holding also boasts a healthy arable enterprise producing potatoes, sprouts, peas, barley and wheat.

The herds show highlights include attaining female and reserve supreme champion at the Highland show last year with the home-bred Firhills lady and in 2013 they were awarded the male and reserve supreme champion with the stock bull they share with Major Walter – Maerdy Grenadier, who is still producing for the herd, alongside their other stock bulls shared with the Panmure and Glenericht herds.

On the beautiful bank holiday Sunday, after Master judge Matthew Milne had made his choices, the day began with the stock judging and Jim, Alison and family had organised four classes of penned cattle for the competitors to look over. After which we were treated to burger and hotdogs from the BBQ and a massive choice of cakes and luscious strawberries from the farm next door, while regional co-ordinator Karyn McArthur organised reason giving and John Graham stepped in to score.

Prior to the afternoons presentations where Edward Scott, Claire McIldowie, Lois Scott, Rory Milne and Millie MacKenzie qualified to go forward to the final, we were treated to clipping and dressing demonstration by Allen Drysdale, a talk on managing females to maximise nutrition by Dr Alistair Crozier, director of Parkside Vets, Dundee, and a talk on nutrition by David MacKenzie from Harbro.

Northern Ireland

It was a great day for the Northern Ireland Charolais Youth regional qualifier which was hosted by kind permission of Swatragh Mart as an added feature of the sale on Friday 1st June.

The qualifier took place throughout the evening with nearly 40 competitors aged between eight and 26, taking part to try to secure one of the 10 regional places on offer at the final at Seawell Grounds, Northamptonshire on the 21st July.

The competitors were asked to judge three classes of cattle, two classes of heifers which were kindly supplied by Robert McWilliams and Douglas Morrow, and a class of bulls kindly provided by Jonathan Crawford. The sale judge Gary Henderson was the master judge for the competition and judging from the scores of the competitors did a good job on his placings.

Top placed in the senior section was James Rea with an impressive 147 points, while the section’s runner up was Eimear McGovern who scored 145. The intermediate winner Mark Reid was also the evenings top scorer who placed the whole bunch correctly achieving maximum points of 150. The intermediate runner up with 130 points was Ryan Doyle. The junior winner Conor Phair is just eight years old and must already what he’s looking for as he scored 148 points, just behind on 143 was the junior runner-up Andrew Hamel. Joining the winners at the final will be next highest placed competitors Kevin Reavey and Alan Burleigh who both scored 145 points, Andrew Dunn on 140 and Bartley Finnegan who scored 139. Thanks to CIP Insurance Brokers Ltd who supported the event by giving travel bursaries to the young people enabling them to compete in the UK finals.

Open Day & Charolais Youth National Final

Charolais members and their families from the Midlands made the most of a sunny day by visiting former President, Pete Donger’s, Seawell Farm near Towcester in Northampton in the height of the drought in July.

Although the grass was yellow, and little re-growth looked likely, visitors commented on how well the cattle looked as they boarded a farm trailer and toured the farm.

It was a full day and the visitors were split into three groups which alternated activities to make the most of the mornings programme. While one group set out with host Peter to tour his impressive holding, a second listened to Barbara Webster of Pedigree Cattle Services explain the benefits of EBV’s, while the third group were given a talk on DNA and genomics by Paul Flynn of Weatherbys.

Lunch was served to the visitors while the Charolais Youth finalists got on with the task of making their selections in the four classes of cattle head stockman Andrew and his team had selected for the stock judging classes. After which while the senior and intermediate competitors gave their reasons to the other judges, the juniors were talked through how to assess a heifer by Master Judge Steven Nesbitt of the Alwent herd. As a new element to the final they then filled out a basic assessment on another heifer, giving them a chance to start to learn about reason giving and animal assessments.

The afternoon was just as full with a clipping and dressing demonstration from Richard Davies, a talk on Nutrition by Christopher Barclay and David MacKenzie from Harbro and demonstration by Denis Dreux from Intouch, Keenan. The visitors also had a chance to chat with Szymon Nowaczek from Caisley Tags, one of the sponsors who came down for the day.

The afternoon climaxed with the presentations of the awards for the stockjudging final and it was great to see youngsters from all over the UK with such enthusiasm for the Charolais breed. The Senior section winner and runner up and also joint winners of the Pairs Fairway Trophy, who will be visiting the French National Charolais show in Poitiers in September were Kevin Reavey, 25 of the Jerretspass Charolais herd, and Alan Drysdale, 23 of Derryharney Charolais both from Ireland with impressive scores of 238 & 216 points respectively. Both Kevin and Alan are keen Charolais Youth participants and Kevin was selected to become the first Clogher show shadow judge, while Alan has represented the Society as part of the Young Show Stars team in 2016.

The Intermediate section was headed by 17 year old Scottish competitor Edward Scott with 219 points and 16 year old South West representative Emily Mitchell’s score of 204 secured her the runner up position.

The Scottish and Ireland regions were also the homes of the top placing juniors. The highest placed and delighted junior winner with a score of 232 points, was 13 year old Rory Milne who had travelled down to the competition with his grandad and new Society President Archie Macgregor. While second placed junior Andrew Hamil, a 14 year old from Dunmurry, Belfast scored 220. Joining Rory in second place in the team competition was 14 year old Millie MacKenzie, also from Scotland contributing 212 points to their overall total of 444.

More about Seawell….

Peter farms a total of 1700 acres and grows 1200 acres of cereals.  He retains the barley on-farm for feed, sells the rape to a local chicken farm on a private contract, grows oats for seed and splits the wheat acreage with half going for milling and the other half also going to the local chicken farm.

He keeps just over 400 acres in grass, with 60 to 80 acres of maize for silage, and splits the grass into two-year leys for silage and five-year leys for grazing with some permanent pasture.

“I’ve had Charolais cattle since the 70’s, but it was in 1983 that I started to take the breed really seriously and made the decision to use the Charolais as my terminal sire,” he says.  “I’ve always been a weight man – weight of the animal at slaughter – that’s where the money is, and there’s no doubt this is where the breed wins time and time again.”

Pete runs 130 pedigree Charolais cows in single suckler herds, keeping between 15 and 20 animals and their calves in each group.  He also has around 200 Salers in suckler herds as well, and with youngstock and growing bulls has more than 1000 animals on-farm at any one time.

“The Salers have good maternal traits, they are also easy-calving when put to Charolais bulls, give lots of milk and bring longevity into the dairy cross.  We never have to touch them at calving.”

He has quickly gained a reputation for having some top bulls for sale privately, and says this side of the farm business is growing every year.  Those not sold privately go to auction at Newark, or are sold to the trade for meat.

“The Charolais will grow to 750kgs in no time at all, that’s my aim, and they’re great converters, doing well on our grass and maize rations.  I look for a good topline, good feet, legs and movement and enough of a backend.”

Most of his Charolais sales are to the beef boys, and he says some customers will come along and buy 12 to 15 bulls at a time.  “Bull sales is where the real value of the job is, so I have to get this part of the job right,” he says.  “Selection is key and watching how each animal grows and develops to understand its traits and value.”

With Salers he says the value is in the female, with a lot of producers wanting Saler females so they can put a Charolais bull on for extra weight gain.  In the past 12 months in particular, since dairy farmers have seen that the more modern Charolais bull results in an easy-calving cross, he’s seen more interest from milk producers across the country, something supported by the higher bull prices reflected this spring.

He has five current stock bulls.  One of his favourites is Maurdo Flambeau, now nine years-old, who passes on great size into his females with fast growth rates.  Then there’s Ballsaec Maestron, the youngest bull at two years, Ballsaec Jonathon and Mardi Jimbucca both three-year olds, and Hi Flyer at Seven.

With his pedigree cows Pete tries to keep the average herd age around six, yet says if they stay fit he will keep breeding from them.

Seawell Farm is a true family business, and Pete was keen to tell his guests of the important role his wife, Sheelagh, plays in running the operation.  “I couldn’t do this without her,” he says.  She looks after the huge and growing mound of paperwork, from cattle passports to bills.  One of the most frustrating parts of the job is how the administration element of the job increases every year.

Praise for the British Charolais Cattle Society came from Barbara Webster of Pedigree Cattle Services in Perth, one of several speakers on the day.  She said the Society was the most active in completing herd inspections, and stressed how important this was.

“If I had a single message it would be for farmers to weigh all cattle.  And that means weighing the poorer animals too.  We need highs and lows to see where the breed is going.  A lot of breeders will only weigh the stock going to the sales, and this will mask the figures we all come to rely on,” she says.

Barbara also pointed out that figures were only part of the story – that they ignore traits such as mobility and jaws, and that 30% come from genetics and 70% from environment.

“The British Charolais Cattle Society is one of the most progressive,” she told visitors.  “Be honest with yourselves, be aware of herd weaknesses, have a breeding objective and chose bulls that rectify issues or weaknesses.  Make good use of herd reports and graphs.

“I’ve seen calving ease improve dramatically, fat cover improve and marbling, making this an ideal butchers’ animal.   But always remember, the bull is only half the story, he is only putting half his DNA into the offspring.”

The Society would like to thank the Donger family, Andrew and the team for hosting this incredible day. Special thanks to also our sponsors Weatherbys, Harbro, Keenan Feeders, Dungannon Mart, Welshpool Livestock Sales, Caisley Tags, Newark Livestock Market, Rugby Farmers Mart, Country Refreshments, Field Farm Tours and United Auctions. And to everyone who was involved with the organising of the event and helping out on the day – without all of you it would not have been possible – Master Judge Steven Nesbitt and Commercial Judge Mike Atkinson. Stewards Ben Harman, Chris Curry and David Benson. Speakers Barbara Webster, Paul Flynn, Richard Davies, Christopher Barclay, David MacKenzie and Denis Dreux. Scorers Margaret Atkinson and Donna Knox and welcoming committee Rhian and Amy Varga.

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