Super Simmentals stole the headlines on day two of the 2023 Great Yorkshire Show at Harrogate as the breed secured a memorable hat-trick of Interbreed title wins. Leading the way was the six-year-old Popes Princess Immie, with her bull calf at foot Popes Premier, from Messrs JH & VG Wood, Popes Farm, Dutton, Preston, Lancs who won this historic show’s Overall Supreme Beef Interbreed Championship in front of the Interbreed judge, Gail Ellis, St Ives Cornwall.
Sired by Kilbride Farm Comber, Popes Princess Immie is out of the much decorated show cow Popes Princess Cleo who herself secured the herd’s first Overall Supreme Interbreed at the Great Yorkshire Show in 2017 and also as a six-year-old, and with Immie as her calf at foot!
With rolling Interbreeds through the morning, the Simmental breed had already secured the Overall Junior Interbreed title through the April 2022 born Heathbrow Natasha, the Simmental Junior, & Junior Female Champion from the noted Heathbrow herd of D&L Sapsed, High Heath Farm, Hitchin, Herts. Dominating the juniors, the Simmentals confirmed a fantastic day when winning the Junior Interbreed. The team consisted of the Simmental Male & Junior Male Champion Heathbrow Nationwide from the Sapseds; Heathbrow Natasha, the Simmental Junior, & Junior Female Champion also from the Sapseds; Popes Princess Noor, the Simmental Reserve Junior, and Reserve Junior Female from Messrs JH&VG Wood, Popes Farm, Dutton, Preston, Lancs; and Williams Ellie’s Nelly, who stood third in a strong class behind both the Junior, & Reserve Junior Champions, and exhibited by William Clarke Livestock Ltd, Model Farm, Hevingham, Norwich.
The summer ‘major’ shows have seen some quality line ups of Simmental cattle and the Great Yorkshire Show carried on this trend and with exhibitors from Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Lancashire, Buckinghamshire, and Scotland.
On day one on Tuesday 10th July, the rain just about held off for the judging and under the watchful eye of Dafydd Jones of the noted Banwy Simmental herd, Welshpool, Powys. The day’s Champion, Popes Princess Immie, emerged from the first female class of the day, cow or heifer in-calf or with calf at foot, before powering through to take the Female Championship, and the Simmental Overall Supreme Championship. Immie is by the 20,000gns stock bull Kilbride Farm Comber, and has been shown through the summer with her tremendous bull calf at foot, the January born Popes Premier sired by Popes Lethal Weapon. Commenting on his choice of Champion, Dafydd Jones said: “My Champion is a thick, easy fleshing cow with plenty of width. She’s just full of milk and we can see the great job she’s doing of her calf at foot. Full of breed character she’s just a typical modern Simmental mum!” Of his day’s judging and the overall show of Simmentals, Dafydd Jones went on to say: “It’s been an honour and a privilege to judge the Simmental classes at a renowned show like the Great Yorkshire. The classes, particularly the females, were very strong throughout and full of breeding potential. Well done to all of the exhibitors and it was terrific, and well deserved, to see the breed go on to do so well in the Interbreed competitions the next day.”
Strong supporters of the Simmental sections at summer majors over the years, 2023 has proven to be another highly successful year for the Popes team of Jimmy, Vikki, Hannah, and Harry Wood. The win at the Great Yorkshire Show confirmed an outstanding ‘double, double’ with the Popes herd winning the Simmental English National Show and Great Yorkshire Show Overall Simmental Supreme titles in both 2022, and 2023. Both respective Champions, Popes Princess Immie, and Popes Princess Lumi, are out of the multi decorated Popes Princess Cleo. Immie’s Overall Supreme Interbreed title at the Great Yorkshire, and the Reserve Continental Interbreed at the Royal Norfolk has been significant icing on top of another tremendous show summer. Popes Princess Cleo secured the herd’s first Great Yorkshire Show Supreme Interbreed title when winning back in 2017.
Speaking to this further success, Vikki Wood said: “We are just blown away to win both the Simmental Championship and this prestigious Overall Supreme Interbreed. To win against the quality that was in the Simmental lines and then against the best in show just means everything and is very special. It’s a win for a Red Rose herd in the White Rose county, but the Great Yorkshire Show really is one of our favourites and we love coming here.”
Next up for Popes Princess Immie is a trip to the Scottish National Show being held within Dumfries Show on Saturday 5th August, and within an entry of 70 pedigree Simmentals. One not to be missed!
Making his mark this summer is young Simmental breeder Finlay Soutter (17), Yew Tree Farm, Ashby De La Zouch, Leicestershire and who lifted the Reserve Overall Simmental title with his February 2021 born heifer Brandane Millie. Millie is the foundation female in Finlay’s newly established Millennium Simmental pedigree herd, and was bred by well-known breeder and stockman Jimmy McMillan, Bradwell Ash, Bury St Edmunds. With a depth of pedigree Brandane Millie is by the AI bull Sterling Gino 15, and out of the noted Sterling Candy’s FCUK, a female bought at the Sterling Sale. As a young heifer Millie was successfully shown in 2022 by Jimmy McMillan and where she won a number of awards including the Junior Female Championship at the Royal Highland. Coming through a strong class for heifers born in 2021, the Reserve Overall title was a fantastic achievement for Finlay Soutter and or Brandane Millie who the judge Dafydd Jones described as being “an upstanding powerful Simmental heifer again with width, presence and character, and who I have no doubt will go on to make a first quality Simmental cow.”
A high-quality first step in the pedigree path, Brandane Millie was purchased privately by Finlay’s granddad, Doug Mash, Chesham, Bucks and was gifted to Finlay as a birthday present to initiate his Millenium herd. The Reserve title at the Great Yorkshire followed on from the Royal Norfolk and where Finlay, accompanied by Brandane Millie, won the Young Handlers trophy and which he received from William, Prince of Wales. Next step for this Millie will see her head to Llanellwedd Wells and the upcoming Royal Welsh Show.
With the herd dispersing in October this year due to retirement, the summer 2023 show season has been a showcase of the quality that will be on offer at the sale from the noted Heathbrow Simmental herd of David & Lesley Sapsed, High Heath Farm, Hitchin, Herts. The Great Yorkshire Show very much emphasised this with the Heathbrow herd’s roll of honours including: the Overall Junior Interbreed title; two animals in the winning Junior Interbreed team; the Simmental Male Championship; Simmental Junior Championship; the Simmental Pairs; second in the cow class; and second in the Group of Three!
The Junior Interbreed Champion, and Junior Simmental Champion, came in the shape of the classy Heathbrow Natasha. Again, with plenty of breeding behind her Natasha is by Heathbrow Important and is out of the imported Raceview Emerald Alicia600. Heathbrow Important himself won the Overall Interbreed at the Great Yorkshire in 2019 and in the same year won four out of four interbreed titles and was crowned European Simmental of the Year. A herd built around quality female lines, Raceview Emerald Alicia600 is from the noted Kim bloodline, and has been a top breeding family in the Heathbrow herd. Commenting, Dafydd Jones said: “This was a very stylish, balanced and correct heifer, and again who has all the potential to go on to be a super Simmental breeding female.” In one of the strongest classes of the day, Heathbrow Natasha pipped Popes Princess Noor from the Wood family into second place, and William’s Ellie’s Nelly from Andrew & Hayley Clarke, William Clarke Livestock Ltd, Model Farm, Hevingham, Norwich into third. Come the second day these three heifers joined with the Sapseds Male Champion, Heathbrow Nationwide, to make a sparkling team that went on to win the Overall junior Interbreed title and again in front of Gail Ellis, St Ives Cornwall.
With a connectivity in breeding, the April 2022 born ET calf Popes Princess Noor if by the noted Team Celtic and out of Popes Princess Hettie, a Popes Princess Cleo daughter. This heifer, who placed Reserve Overall Junior, won the breed Junior Championship at the Simmental English National Show at the Royal Norfolk. Entirely homebred, the February 2022 born Williams Ellie’s Nelly is by Williams Josef 18, and is out of Williams Beauxbaton’s Ellie. The five-year-old Williams Josef is a Clonagh Diehard Gallant son.
The aforementioned Heathbrow Nationwide won both the Male Championship and the Junior Male Championship for the Sapseds. This young February 2022 born bull is the first calf by the herd’s stock bull Blackford Kirk and is out of Heathbrow Girlie’s Ivy. Again with a depth of breeding in the pedigree, Blackford Kirk is a son of the Royal Highland winning bull Blackford Galaxy, whilst Heathbrow Girlie’s Ivy comes from another strong breeding family in the herd and was herself Reserve breed Champion at the 2022 Great Yorkshire Show. The Heathbrow herd comprises of 100 head in total with 40 cows plus followers, and heifers. The much-anticipated Dispersal Sale will take place at United Auctions Stirling Livestock Market on Monday 23rd October and following the autumn Simmental Bull sale on the same day.
Standing second in his class to the Male Champion was Newbiemains Nightrider from Scottish exhibitors Jim and Patricia Goldie, Newbie Mains Farm, Annan. The February 2022 born Nightrider is by Annick Klondyke, and is out of Newbiemains Jetstream, a Newbiemains Golden Eye daughter.
Great Yorkshire Show 2023 Judge Mr D Jones, Welshpool, Powys Results from the Simmental judging on Day One
Bull, born on or after 1 January 2022. 1st Mr & Mrs D & L Sapsed Heathbrow Nationwide 2nd Mr J Goldie Newbiemains Nightrider 3rd Mr P Gunter Fircovert Neptune 4th William Clarke Livestock Ltd Williams Nicholas 22
Cow or Heifer, in calf or with calf at foot, having had a certified calf before attaining the age of 3 years. 1st Messrs JH & VG Wood Popes Princess Immie 2nd Mr & Mrs D & L Sapsed Heathbrow Jasmine 3rd Mr J Goldie Newbiemains Just a Star 4th Mr P Gunther Fircovert Lizbet
Heifer, born in 2021. 1st Mr FS Soutter Brandane Millie 2nd Mr RE & SHW Steggles Denizes Eves Beauty 7th 3rd Messrs JH & VG Wood Popes Trixies Mikala 4th Mr J Goldie Newbiemains My Girl 5th Miss LH Harding Hallway Winnies Majesty 6th Mr RE & SHW Steggles Scotland Hill Ivy Molly 7th Mr & Mrs D & L Sapsed Heathbrow Milky Way 8th Mr RE & SHW Steggles Brandane Mint
Heifer, born in 2022 1st Mr & Mrs D & L Sapsed Heathbrow Natasha 2nd Messrs JH & VG Wood Popes Princess Noor 3rd William Clarke Livestock Ltd Williams Ellies Nelly 4th Mr CA Jackson Future New Girl 5th William Clarke Livestock Ltd Williams Nalha Kat 6th Mr J Goldie Newbiemains Nap 7th Mr P Gunther Fircovert Noel 8th Mr P Gunther Fircovert Nancy
Group of Three animals. 1st Mr RE & SHW Steggles 2nd Mr & Mrs D&L Sapsed 3rd Mr J Goldie
Pair of animals 1st Mr & Mrs D & L Sapsed 2nd Mr RE & SHW Steggles 3rd William Clarke Livestock Ltd 4th Mr J Goldie
At Gisburn’s May Show & Sale of Rearing Calves, an entry in excess of 200 calves (10 weeks and under), was kindly judged by Duncan Bailey and sponsored by Thornton Breakers. The Champion Calf, sired by a Denizes bull, was a 24-day-old Simmental bull from J & RJ Parsons, Brogden which went onto sell for £505.
The overall average for rearing calves on the day was £281 for ‘all shapes and size’ with the auctioneers saying that the sale ‘proved again that in Gisburn, we have something for everyone and someone for everything’!
• 24 bulls sell to average £5828, up by £195, and a new Stirling May Sale record average. • Two bulls sell at over 10,000gns with eleven at 5000gns and more. • 16,000gns leads the all-breeds prices at Stirling • 16,000gns the top Simmental price, and top all-breeds price, at a May Stirling Sale
Following up his Supreme Championship in the pre-sale show, the January 2022 born Overhill House Neil from Richard McCulloch, Armadale, West Lothian, duly delivered the goods in the sale ring when making 16,000gns to lead the Stirling May Simmental Sale, and to take the top price across the breeds at United Auctions multi breed fixture on Monday May 1st.
This stylish, red coated, young bull is by the 24,000gns Islavale Heston, and is out of Overhill House India, a Curaheen Drifter daughter. In November last year, Overhill House Neill won the Overall Junior Championship at the Stars of the Future Calf Show. With top figures for calving ease and maternal (milk), this package of looks, pedigree, and performance figures saw some sharp bidding before the hammer fell and with Overhill House Neil being knocked down to Andrew Leedham for his Grangewood pedigree herd at Pickering, North Yorkshire.
The strong sale demand for Simmental bulls was again evident with the 24 bulls sold averaging £5828, up by £195 and, for the third year in a row, to a new record average for this May Simmental Sale fixture. As well as topping the sale day, the 16,000gns price was an all-breeds record for the Stirling May Sale
A terrific day’s trading for Overhill House saw the herd attain prices of 16,000gns; 7000gns; and 6500gns for three quality Simmental bulls. Commenting on Overhill House Neil after the sale, a delighted Richard McCulloch said: “Neil is the best bull we’ve bred to date within the Overhill House herd. From day one he was just an outstanding calf that had those ‘look at me qualities’ and just kept going on and improving. For me he’s the overall package in a modern Simmental bull. He’s dark red in colour, has a real Simmental breed head, has four good correct legs, is super clean, and has a back end to die for. He’s been sold into a good pedigree home, and I look forward to seeing how he gets on within the Grangewood herd.” The sale saw the Overhill House herd gross £30,975 for three Islavale Heston sons and with this 24,000gns sire consistently breeding sale bulls at the 7-8000gns mark. Of attaining the record sale price for any breed at the Stirling May Sale, Richard McCulloch went on to say: “The record price is just a bonus on top of what was a great sale for the herd and three good bulls that were brought out so well by my stockman Scott Gilmour. The standard of Simmental bulls forward at the sales just keeps getting better and better and with an obvious and increasing interest in the breed. From here we’re just going to continue to cull hard, be selective and with the aim of keeping the quality as high as we can at pedigree sales.”
Placing Overhill House Neil as the pre-sale Supreme Champion, was the pre-sale show judge for the day, Gary Wright of the noted Lagavaich herd, Glenlivet, Ballindalloch.
The 16,000gns was also the top price that Andrew and Yvonne Leedham, who run the 35 cow Grangewood pedigree herd along with their son Callum, have paid to date for a Simmental bull. Speaking after the sale, Andrew Leedham said: “He’s a terrific Simmental bull and just what we were looking for. We first saw him at the Stars of the Future Show and having been keeping an eye on his pictures and videos on Facebook. In addition to the qualities of the bull he has great figures including ease of calving and we think he’ll be very well suited to our Ranfurly Impeccable 14 17 daughters within the herd. From here we will consider taking semen from him and may ease him into the herd to use in this next month or so.”
Taking the second top price of 10,500gns, and again from a strong line up of bulls, was the October 2021 born Delfur Macbeth from Delfur Farms, Aberlour. This calf by Woodhall Instinct, and out of Delfur Annie, carried a Maternal (Milk) figure of +10. Purchaser was the noted commercial producer JR Graham & Partners, Greenshields, Biggar, Lanarkshire. Selling at 9000gns was another from the Delfur team in the shape of the first prize winner in class six and pre-sale Reserve Supreme Champion, Delfur Marvel. October 2021 born, Delfur Macbeth is another by Woodhall Instinct and is out of Delfur Jill, an Islavale Cassius daughter. This bull headed back to Aberdeenshire when being knocked down to high-quality commercial producers Farquharson Farms, Fyvie, Aberdeenshire.
On the day the Delfur herd sold three bulls to gross £25,500 and to average £8925, and with the 10,500gns price being the herd’s highest to date at this May Sale fixture. Under the herd manager Garry Patterson, the Delfur herd has been achieving some leading sale prices for Simmental bulls and with the quality and potential within the herd’s females now coming through. The herd presently comprises of 120 cows but with plans to gradually increase that number. When it comes to the sales Delfur Farms takes direct aim at breeding what the commercial producer is looking for and bulls carrying style, thickness and correctness, and with easy calving lines. Any bulls sold to breeders are a bonus on top!
Selling at 7000gns was Copper Mill Maverick from P Goldsborough, Oakrigg Farm, Old Carlisle Road, Moffat. Another bull with strong calving ease figures, the August 2021 born Copper Mill Maverick is by Rathnashan Linguine and is out of the Samark Superman daughter, Copper Mill Janice. Buying this bull was J&J Marshall, Grantown on Spey, Morayshire.
The second bull at 7000gns was another from Richard McCulloch and this time Overhill House Nash. This January 2022 born bull stood second in his class to the day’s Champion and Overhill House teammate, and in a class that saw Overhill take first, second, and third. Another calf by Islavale Heston, Nash is out of Overhill House Emma, a Blackford Ben Mhor daughter. With figures putting him in the top 5% of the breed for calving ease, and top 10% for Eye Muscle Area, Overhill House Nash was bought by JTM MacKay, Thura Mains, Caithness. Overhill House Noah who stood third in the same class made 6500gns when selling to Cumbria and WA Vaughan, High Dovecote, Walton, Brampton. Making up a strong trio of Overhill House bulls, and with strong performance figures, Noah is again by Islavale Heston and is out of the Annick Talisker daughter Overhill House Hanna.
Selling at 6000gns was another from the Delfur Farms pen and this time the October 2021 born Delfur Matey. This bull stood second in his class to the Reserve Supreme Champion and 9000gns teammate Delfur Marvel. Sired by Banwy Bonzo, Matey is out of another Islavale Cassius daughter, Delfur Kayley. Purchasing what was another dark red bull with easy calving figures, was MJ&J McLaren, Fintalich, Muthill, Crieff, Perthshire.
Getting knocked down at 5800gns was Broombrae Munro from Gordon Clark, Auchtermuchty, Cupar, Fife. This October 2021 born bull, who stood fourth in a strong class, is by Corskie Kalgary 19, and is out of Broombrae Delight K1. With a top 5% figure of +11 for Maternal (Milk), this bull was snapped up by Glenkiln Farms, Crocketford, Dumfries.
Other Leading Prices:
Lot 463 5000gns Denizes Montana to A Nicholson, Dunphail, By Forres
Lot 465 5000gns Coltfield Mighty to H MacDonald, Mains of Dalvey, Morayshire
Lot 467 5000gns Dargill Master (P) to J& I Cameron, Hillside Farm, Kilmacolm
• 36.23% of buyers changed to Simmental from a different breed of bull in previous five years A fantastic ninety four percent of Simmental bull buyers have confirmed that they will purchase further Simmental bulls at future Society sales. That’s the strong endorsement of the Simmental breed following a snapshot survey of bull buyers at Society Sales held between 2017 and 2019.
The survey saw buyers through these years being sent a detailed questionnaire covering the initial reasons for purchasing a Simmental, and thereafter how satisfied they have been with the abilities and the performance of their bulls to date. A broad range of questions invited respondents to score and comment on the performance of bulls bought, including: calving ease; temperament of the bulls and their progeny; fertility and serving capacity; longevity and physical condition of the bull; and performance of progeny, including growth rates and perceived food conversion. Further questions asked buyers about the most important traits when buying a Simmental; the principle purpose of the bull; use on heifers; the importance of herd health information, pre-sale inspections, performance figures, and pre-sale fertility testing.
Unsurprisingly maternal traits featured highly in the characteristics of the Simmental breed most attractive to buyers, including: mothering ability and easy calving; milk; producing replacement heifers; and fast-growing progeny. The top characteristic for buyers was temperament and this was emphasised later in the survey with a total of 97.18% saying that the temperament of their bulls was good (88.73%), or average (8.45%), and with 92.53% saying that the temperament of the progeny was very good or good. Across these two categories less than 5% of purchasers responded that the bulls or their progeny had been below average for temperament.
Just over 70% of buyers indicated that performance figures and EBVs were a ‘quite’ or ‘very’ important aid when purchasing a bull. Of the traits, EBVs for calving ease were ranked the most important and with Maternal (Milk), a close second. The Simmental breed has taken a lead in many aspects of herd health at sales over the years, and the importance of this is shown in the survey with a total of 98.59% of respondents saying that it was ‘very important’ (83.10%), or ‘important’ (15.49%), for them to purchase bulls from herds with a high health status. Over 90% of buyers placed importance on bulls having passed through a pre-sale inspection with 57.34% saying it was ‘very’ important.
Interestingly, and perhaps indicative of some strong Simmental sales, 36.23% of buyers said that they had changed from a different breed of bull in the previous five years, and predominantly from other continental breeds. 53.62% of buyers run over five Simmental bulls with a further 40.58% indicating that they had one to five Simmental bulls. The makeup of buyers’ farms shows that 60% of the bulls have gone to hill farms, and with 40% to lowland. The bulls are used on mainly suckler herds (93.25%), with the dominant breed of suckler cows being Simmental/Simmental X, followed by Limousin/Limousin X; Angus/Angus X; and Luing/Luing X. The largest percentage of buyers run 31 to 100 cows (41.43%); with 37.14% having 101 to 200; and just over 21% having over 200.
The working abilities of the breed are again highlighted with 94.12% of buyers saying that they were happy with the physical and structural condition of the bulls bought, and with over 85% of the bulls still working in purchasers’ herds. In an anticipated strength of the breed, just over 92% of buyers said that they retained heifer calves as herd replacements. 42.86% of buyers said that they used bulls on heifers, and of those, 44.12%, aiming to calve the heifers at 28 months and under.
In another strong endorsement of the performance and commercial attributes of the Simmental breed, a remarkable 89.65% of those surveyed said the progeny of their bulls had been of the standard they expected (81.03%), or better than expected (8.62%), and 10.34% saying that the progeny had been average. No respondents replied that progeny from their bulls had been below expectations.
At the conclusion of the survey buyers were asked for ‘any other comments’, and again these were a combination of extremely positive, constructive, and insightful points. A number of comments remarked on what they saw as the ‘big strides’ in ongoing improvement in the Simmental breed over the last ten years. A further similar sentiment was that if the breed maintains and improves its strengths in milk, easy calving, docility, and good locomotion, ‘Simmental bulls will sell themselves’ in the forward industry. Breeders were given some ‘signals’ for forward sales to not overfeed bulls, and the importance of feet, good legs and mobility. Herd health, the versatility of Simmentals on all breeds, the importance of good growth rates, and food conversion from grass were also noted. Producing ‘bulls that make good cows’ was also a sentiment with a clear overall emphasis on the desire for Simmentals many recognised maternal strengths.
Commenting on the survey BSCS General manager Iain Kerr said: “It’s really important for the Society to engage with Simmental buyers to find out how satisfied they have been with their purchases, and to feedback their thoughts to breeders. The Simmental breed is renowned for breeding quality heifer replacements and for being first class suckler cows with plenty of milk, good fertility, easily calved and crossing to advantage with any other breed. We also see Simmental progeny being easy fleshing, with good growth rates, top weights for age, and being the industry leader for age at slaughter. To have these qualities recognised and endorsed by the breeds buyers, with an approval/repeat customer rate of 94%, is really encouraging. A massive well done is extended to pedigree Simmental breeders for these results and for consistently bringing forward a high standard of bulls. There is an ongoing commitment from the breeders and Society, in the sum of all its parts, to keep working hard to consistently produce the choice and quality of bulls that commercial beef producers and pedigree breeders require.”
The survey results have been released in the run up to the next round of pedigree Simmental Sales with sale fixtures at Stirling on February 20th; Aberdeen on 1st March; Dungannon on 24th March; and Melton Mowbray on 25th March.