Two lots made 5800gns to lead part one of the Broombrae Simmental herd dispersal for Messrs Gordon L Clark, Auchtermuchty, Cupar, Fife, held at United Auctions, Stirling on Monday 19th February and immediately following the breed’s successful bull sale.
The first part of the Broombrae Dispersal Sale comprised the Autumn calving cows with calves at foot, and with a selection of heifers, and met with a solid and consistent trade throughout. Five lots made in excess of 5000gns with fifteen in all at 4000gns and above. The sale grossed a very healthy £94,395. A herd with a focus on breeding cows with good udders and temperament, and using bulls with easy calving EBVs, the remaining cows and heifers will be sold in October 2024.
First to sell at 5800gns was the September 2019 born Broombrae Rosina K16, a daughter of the herd’s noted stock sire Lisglass Goldstar, and out of Broombrae Rosina E40, a Team Wisconsin daughter. PD’d in calf to Broombrae Major, Broombrae Rosina K16 was sold with her second calf at foot, the Camus Harold 16 sired heifer Broombrae Rosina P22 to Richard McCulloch for his Overhill House herd at Armadale, West Lothian.
Broombrae Rosina E40, the mother of the joint top price, then went on herself to make 5800gns when being one of five purchases by MacFarlane Farms Ltd, Quixwood Farm, Duns, Berwickshire. This ten-year-old-cow by Team Wisconsin and out of Broombrae Rosina W8 was sold with her twin bull calves at foot, Broombrae Pablo 23, and Broombrae Picasso, both sired by Ardunsaghan Magic One. The oldest cow in the herd, Broombrae Rosina E40 has calved in August or September every year since 2016. All daughters have been retained and both of her previous bull calves sold in Stirling for over £8000.
In an export sale to Australia, selling at 5400gns was the maiden heifer Broombrae Delight N9 (P). Heterozygous polled, this August 2022 born heifer is by Wolfstar Kolisi (P), and is out of the Lisglass Goldstar 15 sired Broombrae Delight J1. After some rigorous pre-sale research, Broombrae Delight N9 (P) was purchased online by Knox Farms Pty Ltd, Crookwell, New South Wales. In the preceding bull sale, Knox Farms had also purchased Broombrae Noble for 11,000gns.
The second calver, Broombrae Cathy K22 made 5200gns when selling to the Craighill herd of Craighill Farms, Duntrune, By Dundee. October 2019 born, and another by Lisglass Goldstar, this heifer, who previously had had twin bull calves, was sold PD’d in-calf to Broombrae Major and with her September 2023 born heifer calf at foot, Broombrae Cathy P23, a Camus Harold daughter.
At 5000gns was the March 2021 born Broombrae Cathy M7 who was sold PD’d in calf to Wolfstar Kolisi and with her heifer calf at foot Broombrae Cathy P28. Cathy M7 is by Roma Jaguar 18, a Curaheen Wakeman daughter, and is out of the Broombrae Dakota 12 daughter Broombrae Cathy I 17. Her October 2023 heifer calf, Cathy P28, is another by Camus Harold. Purchasing this outfit for their Priestfield herd was A&A Smith, Ballomill Farmhouse, Ladybank, Fife.
• 95 bulls set new February record average of £7498 (+£238) • 21 bulls sell for 10,000gns and over, with 53 in all at 6000gns and more • 5 Denizes bulls average £17,640 • Broombrae bull sells to Australian buyer • 11 bulls sell to Orkney • Clearance rate of 77% • Bull Sale grosses £712,310
The June 2022 born Denizes Nugget from M A Barlow & Sons, Ulnes, Nr Leyland, Lancashire, sold for 37,000gns to lead what was another record trade for the Simmental breed at the Stirling Bull Sale held at United Auctions, on Monday 19th February 2024.
No fewer than 21 bulls sold at five-figure prices with 95 in all cashing in at £7498, up £238 on last year’s record mark.
In what was a remarkable day’s trading for them, the eye-catching quality team of five Denizes bulls, all by the homebred stock sire Denizes Hamish, grossed £88,200 to average an incredible £17,640. Denizes Nugget is out of Ashland Topaz Janet, whose maternal sister is the highly-noted Ashland Topaz Lopez. At the pre-sale show, judged by Stuart Barclay of the noted Harestone prefix, Insch, Aberdeenshire, Nugget was one of three Denizes bulls to claim red tickets before moving on to win the day’s Reserve Intermediate Championship.
Come the much-anticipated sale time, and in front of a packed ring, Denizes Nugget reached the 37,000gns mark before being knocked down to Jimmy & Vikki Wood for their high-profile Popes herd at Dutton, Preston, Lancashire. Speaking afterwards Vikki Wood said: “This bull had a bit of everything. When he walked into the ring he just had that presence, character and bounce that caught your eye. He’s a long, clean, well grown bull with plenty of style, who walked well and is not overdone. There’s still plenty for him to grow into and we think he’s a bull with a lot of future in him. With the bull in himself, the depth of proven breeding behind him, and some tremendous performance figures across the board, we’re excited to see how he gels with our females”. The 37,000gns is the top price the Woods have paid to date for a bull at auction in the UK and Vikki went on to say: “The bull has the full package and you have to pay for quality to hopefully take that next step with the herd in breeding top quality females and bulls as well. Nugget will be put to some heifers within the next few weeks and thereafter will be given the chance of some cow.” The Popes herd presently comprises of 60 breeding females.
Over the three days of the sale the Denizes pen of five bulls drew huge attention from both commercial producers and pedigree breeders. Come sale time the 37,000gns top price was accompanied by further prices of 14,000gns; 13,000gns; 12,000gns; and 8000gns to add up to the herd’s most successful sale to date. The top price also eclipsed the herd’s leading sale price of 30,000gns achieved for Denizes Lancelot in February 2022. Speaking afterwards John Barlow said: “The aim of the Denizes herd is to breed first quality bulls with an easy muscling, that have width over the plates, walk well, have good heads and breed character, and are backed up with breeding, figures and health status. We’re trying to tick as many boxes for commercial producers as possible and it was great to see two bulls at 14,000gns and 12,000gns go commercially today. To breed a bull like Denizes Nugget for 37,000gns, and for him to be bought by a top pedigree herd, is just a real bonus on top. We wish the Wood family well with Nugget and really look forward to seeing his progeny in due course.”
Alex and Ross King’s Wolfstar herd from Ormiston, Tranent, East Lothian also enjoyed a top day when selling three bulls to average a fantastic £14,700. Leading the way for them was Wolfstar Nobleman who sold for 17,000gns, the second top price of the day, to Tom Lyth, Heatherhouse, Tankerness, Orkney. May 2022 born, Wolfstar Nobleman, the first prize winner in class six, is an embryo calf sired by Curaheen Bandit and out of the top breeding female Wolfstar Forget-Me-Not whose previous progeny include the 17,000gns Wolfstar Jimmy Choo; Wolfstar Kolisi who sold to Cogent, and the retained stockbull Wolfstar Ivan.
Tom Lyth moved from Lancashire to Orkney some six years ago to ‘follow his dream’ of buying his own farm. At present he has a total of 100 Luing cows which he splits equally between Simmental bulls and purebred Luing bulls. On a recent visit to Wolfstar, he was shown the bulls heading to Stirling and immediately picked out Nobleman as being one to keep an eye on. Commenting he said: “I really liked his breeding but he’s a bonny bull, very well put together, and just the type that I like”. From here Tom hopes to take some semen from Wolfstar Nobleman and with him given some work thereafter. With a pedigree herd being established Tom’s aim is that Nobleman will be joined by some Simmental heifers in the very near future! Orkney buyers again featured prominently throughout the sale with eleven bulls in all heading back to the islands.
The Reserve Junior Champion, from the same home, Wolfstar Nasa, made 14,000gns when selling to Pitgaveny Farm, Elgin. Nasa is sired by the privately purchased Islavale Guy and is out of Wolfstar Ivy, another Team Celtic-sired cow. Winner of the last class of the day, this November 2022 born bull will be used across both commercial and pedigree cows with Pitgaveny running 170 Simmental commercial cows, spring and autumn calvers, and ten pedigree females. Speaking of his purchase the herd manager Geoff Anderson said: “I saw this bull at the inspection and watched him again through the judging and just really liked him. He’s a bull with style, depth, and great width to him, has proven breeding on both sides, and carries top figures for milk at +13.”
Building on what has been a strong run of sales and commercial demand for Simmental bulls and females, the sale saw 95 bulls in all sell for £7498 (+£238) and a new breed record average for February Stirling Sales. This latest sale was the seventh in a row at Stirling where the Simmental breed has set a new record average mark and the ongoing commercial momentum in the breed was again warmly welcomed by the Society’s President Norman Robson who said: “There’s an ever-growing recognition of the Simmental breed’s ability to add value, efficiency and profitability to commercial herds and this is what’s continuing to drive the sustained and increasing demand at the point of sale. Prior to this sale we were able to highlight further independently verified figures over some ten years that showed the breed’s percentage advantages in daily carcase gain over both continental, and native sired progeny. Maybe most significantly, whatever the sire, the best performing progeny can be shown to be out of Simmental sired females and this is a further big driver for the breed. Add this in to the Simmental’s abilities at age at slaughter, with significantly reduced finishing costs, and less environmental impact, and it really does add up to money for producers. First quality bulls with width, good tops, were correct on their legs and with good figures, particularly for calving ease and milk, were much in demand and easily sold.”
At the same 14,000gns mark was another of the team of five from the Denizes pen and in the shape of the winner of class nine, Denizes Newton. This August 2022 born bull was a powerful Hamish son out of the herd’s noted Trixibelle line which has previously sold bulls up to 20,000gns. With top calving ease figures this bull was bought by commercial producers K Park & Sons, Dalpeddar Farm, Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire.
Selling at 13,000gns was the day’s Senior Champion and Reserve Overall, Backmuir Nate, from Reece & Andrew Simmers, Backmuir Farm, Keith. April 2022 born, this bull is by the 18,000gns Wolfstar Jackaroo, the Overall Champion at Stirling in February 2020, and is out of Backmuir Kreole’s Koala. This upstanding bull, with a +10 figure for Maternal (Milk) was purchased by DC Houldey, Kirkleton House, Waterbeck, Lockerbie. Following the sale Clive Houldey said: “We saw this bull for the first time in the show ring and were really impressed. He has a real size and power about him and that was something we were looking for the herd. The father and son team of Clive and Harry run the Manor Park and Manor Fields pedigree herds respectively and alongside a commercial suckler herd. The intent from here is that Backmuir Nate will be put to work in the middle of June, and he will go on to a mix of pedigree and commercial cows.
At the same price of 13,000gns was another from the Denizes pen and this time the June 2022 born Denizes Neff 22 who had stood second in his class to the day’s top priced bull. Again by Denizes Hamish this bull is out of the Blackford Galaxy sired Denizes Melody 32nd, a maternal sister to Denizes Melody 52nd who sold for 10,000gns at the Next Gen III Sale. With strong figures across the board, Denizes Neff 22 was purchased by John Jeffrey for the Kersknowe herd at Kelso, Roxburghshire. Of Neff Mr Jeffrey said: “We thought a lot of this bull and he came out of just a tremendous pen of good bulls with connectivity in the breeding. Neff is a bull with shape but not extreme and had the figures to back his breeding. Denizes Neff 22 will be settled in at Kersknowe before being given some work in June within the herd which comprises of fifty breeding females.”
The third bull at the 13,000gns price was the winner of Class 10, Kilbride Farm Nebulus 22 from WH Robson & Sons, Doagh, Ballyclare. Entirely homebred this September 2022 born bull is by Kilbride Farm Jetstream 18 (P) and is out of Kilbride Farm Eunice 175F (TF) who is a maternal sister to the 20,000gns Kilbride Farm Comber. Continuing the trend of bulls selling that had good figures, Kilbride Farm Nebulus was bought by Delfur Farms, Dundurcas Farm House, Rothes for the Delfur herd of 120 breeding females. Commenting the herd manager Garry Patterson said: “This is a bull to put to heifers in the herd initially and he carries good figures for calving and milk, and generally across the traits. He’s a bull with great length to him, with style and breed character, and is the dark red colour I like. Nebulus comes from a good pedigree, is new blood to the Delfur herd and I think he’s a bull that will click well with the Islavale Magnum daughters in the herd. He’ll run across the heifers first before being given a chance of the cows”. Another good team of Kilbride Farm bulls saw five sell in all to gross a very solid £41,475.
Another herd to enjoy a strong day’s trading was the Rockytop herd of Gary & Angela Christie, Glass, Huntly who sold to a top of 12,000gns and with five in all grossing £38,535. The herd’s top price of 12,000gns came in the shape of Rockytop Nero 22 who stood second in his class to the day’s Overall Supreme Champion. May 2022 born, this bull is by Glenturk Kingpin 19 and is out of the Kilbride Farm Arklow daughter Rockytop Corissa’s Honey. With a +10 figure for Maternal (Milk), this bull was purchased by Mr B Grant for the Dellfield herd at Druid Temple Farm, Inverness-shire. Speaking after the sale Stuart Grant said: “We hadn’t planned on buying a bull but will need one next year and when we saw Rockytop Nero we just really liked him. He’s a bull that’s very correct on his legs, he’s square, solid and not too extreme in anyway, and just has a bit of everything in him that we like We run 160 cows, of which around 50 are pure, so he will be used on them for a start and likely on the commercial cows at a forward time.”
Next up at 12,000gns was the first prize winner in Class Eight, Denizes Nacho 22 from the Barlows. July 2022 born, this thick ended bull with shape, width, and strong figures went to commercial buyers JL Drysdale, Forestmill Farm, Alloa, Clackmannan. This calf, whose brother sold for 12,000gns at the corresponding sale last year, is out of Annick Trixibelle 19th.
From another strong line up, two bulls from the Corskie herd of WJ&J Green, Corskie, Garmouth, Fochabers, topped at 12,000gns. The first of these was Corskie Nitrate who had stood second in his class. By the 10,000gns Kilbride Farm Haka, this September 2022 born bull is out of Corskie Kigem, an Auchorachan Farmer 14 daughter. With one of the highest Maternal (Milk) figures in the catalogue at +13, this bull also went commercially when selling to T Clark & Sons, Abbey Farm, Madderty, Crieff. At the same mark of 12,000gns was the September 2022 born Corskie Newry (22) who was purchased by Jim & Patricia Goldie for their Newbiemains herd at Newbie Mains Farm, Annan. Also by Kilbride Farm Haka, Corskie Newry 22 is out of Tawley Hanna who has previously had sons sell to 7000gns. Commenting, Jim Goldie said: “We were looking for a stylish, young, well grown bull, that was correct with plenty of breed character, and felt Corskie Newry really matched up to that. He’s got plenty of breeding behind him and being out of an Irish bred cow it’s also a bit of a different blood line”. Plans from here are that the bull will be run with up to 25 heifers in the Springtime. Eight Corskie bulls grossed £67,515 with other prices including 8000gns; 7800gns; 7000gns x 2; 6000gns; and 4500gns.
Saltire Nemesis 22 from J&G Houliston, Drem, North Berwick made 11,500gns when selling commercially to AG Whiteford, South Keithney, Burnhervie, Aberdeenshire. May 2022 born this bull, by the prolific AI sire Saltire Impressive, is out of the Popes Barclay daughter Saltire Felicity. Later in the sale the Houlistons also sold Saltire Nobleman, a Saltire Logan 20 son, for 7500gns to Douganhill Farms, Castle Douglas.
The long established Kersknowe Simmental herd of Mr J Jeffrey, Kelso, Roxburghshire made 11,000gns of their senior bull Kersknowe Noah 22. April 2022 born Kersknowe Noah stood third in his class won by the Overall Reserve Champion. Sired by the Woodhall Ferrari son Aultmore Jasper 18, and out of Kersknowe Head Girl, this was another five figure bull to go to a commercial producer when knocked down to Aucheneck Estates, Lillearn, By Glasgow.
Another from the Robson family, this time Kilbride Farm Nugget 22 (P) (TF), made 11,000gns when going for commercial use to S McClymont & Son, Yarrow, Selkirk. This August 2022 born bull offered a new bloodline being the first son at sale by the herd’s imported homozygous polled stock bull, Flop Agrochyt, and out of Kilbride Farm Dora 88 IP (P), a Sneumgaard Imperator (PP) daughter. WH Robson & Sons sold five bulls in all at the sale with their top prices of 13,000gns and 11,000gns being joined by others at 7500gns; 4800gns; and 3200gns.
Bringing an international flavour to the sale the August 2022 born Broombrae Noble N12 22 (P) from Gordon Clark, Auchtermuchty, Cupar, made 11,000gns when selling to Australian Simmental breeder Knox Farms Pty Ltd, New South Wales. Another bull with strong performance figures, Broombrae Noble N12 22 (P) is by Wolfstar Kolisi 19 (P) and is out of Broombrae Rosina K8.
Continuing their top day the Wolfstar herd sold the April 2022 born Wolfstar Nonu 22 for 11,000gns. This April 2022 born bull is one of the first sons to be offered at sale by Glenturk Lord of the Rings described as ‘the easiest calving bull we’ve had at Wolfstar’. Nonu is out of Wolfstar Kiwi who is a full sister to the 18,000gns Wolfstar Jackaroo. With a +11 figure for Maternal (Milk) Wolfstar Nonu 22 was bought by commercial producer G&A Milne, Standingstones, Durris, Kincardineshire. Wolfstar’s three bulls sold on the day made 17,000gns; 14,000gns; and 11,000gns.
The final bull at 11,000gns was Newbiemains Neymar 22 from Jim & Patricia Goldie, Nebie Mains Farm Annan. Sired by Annick Klondyke 19 EX94 and out of Newbiemains Klass Act VG88, a Moorglen Hillbilly EX91 daughter, this bull was sold to the Borders and IHG Warden, Hawick, Roxburghshire.
Taking the total to twenty one bulls at five figures, four bulls made 10,000gns. The first of these was Ballinalare Farm Navigator from Mr J & Mr A Wilson, Ballinalare Farm, Dorans Hill Newry. Sired by the popular AI sire Ballinalare Farm Galaxy 15, and out of the Omorga Murray daughter Ballinalare Farm Delta, this July 2022 born bull stood second in his class. With a Maternal (Milk) figure of + 10, Ballinalare Farm Navigator 22 was sold to another noted commercial producer in the shape of Philiphaugh Estates, Old Mill farm, Selkirk.
The day’s Intermediate and Overall Supreme Champion was the winner of Class Five, Overhill House Nikey 22 from Richard McCulloch, Armadale, West Lothian. In what has been a truly remarkable run, Overhill House have won the Supreme Championship at the last four Simmental Society Sales at which they have attended. Their Champion here was another son of the 26,000gns Pistyll Kingsman, who bred the herd’s 46,000gns Overhill House Neo sold in October at Stirling last year and is out of Overhill House Ice Cone. Purchasing the Champion bull was Jim & Elizabeth Dyet for his Merkland herd at East Merkland Farm, Strathaven, Lanarkshire. Commenting Jim said: “Overhill House Nikey is just a tremendous Simmental bull and we’re delighted to have got him for our Merkland pedigree herd. We immediately picked him out at the show on Sunday in his class but when he was placed Champion we thought we might not be able to get him. He’s a bull with serious length and one of the best top lines that I’ve seen in a long time. A bull with a natural power to him, he’s got shape, terrific conformation, and is very breedy. We think, and very much hope, that he’ll click with the type of females we have here at East Merkland. He’ll get settled in and given the chance of one or two before being put to the very best 25-30 of our cows from June onwards”. The Merkland herd comprises of ninety breeding females in all.
Taking the Junior Championship and selling for 10,000gns was the winner of Class 12, Islavale Novak from the prolific herd of WS Stronach, Berryleys Farm, Keith, Banffshire. This stylish October 2022 born bull came to Stirling with a bit of a show record behind him having been Senior Male Champion at the 2023 Stars of the Future Calf Show. With breeding behind him, Novak is by Coose Lincoln EX90 whose sons sold at Stirling have averaged 11,000gns, and is out of the Curaheen Giant daughter Islavale Jazz. Buying this bull was Thomas Gray, Balquharrage, Lennoxtown. Bringing a team of predominantly junior bulls this year, the Islavale herd sold seven in all to gross £50,925 and average £7275.
The final bull at the 10,000gns mark was Springfield Neptune from Gavin Brown, Springfield Farm, Penicuik. April 2022 born this bull is by the herd’s noted sire Islavale Jabba, who was the online European Simmental Champion 2023, and is out of Springfield ivory a half sister to Springfield Minstrel who was sold for 6800gns to the Popes herd. At the Simmental Youngstock Show at Borderway Agri Expo in2023, Springfield Neptune had stood as Senior Champion and Reserve Overall Champion. Purchasing him here, and another to Orkney, was J&R Stanger, South Seatter, Sandwick. Springfield Neptune had stood second in his class to his teammate Springfield Niagra who, two lots later, sold for 8500gns to H MacDonald, Mains of Dalvey, Morayshire. Niagra, also by Islavale Jabba and this time out of Springfield Italia, was second in his class to Springfield Neptune at the aforementioned 2023 Simmental Youngstock Show.
Selling for the first time at Stirling was Alex Bulmer from Coultas Farm, Malton, North Yorkshire who made 9,000gns for the second bull in the ring Habton Nev 22. This February 2022 born bull is by the herd’s 15,000gns stock bull Backmuir Kraken and is out of Corskie Kelly, a Drumagarner Hughes daughter. Another heading to the islands he was bought by GT&S Coghill, Muce, Birsay, Orkney.
*In a small sale of four Simmental females the top price was 2300gns paid for Fallhills Nikki (P) from Bruce Lambie, Howgate, Penicuik. April 2022 born this heifer is by Wolfstar Just Do It 18 (P), and is out of Fallhills Kate (TF), an Islavale Gallant 2 15 daughter. Fallhills Nikki (P) was another purchase by Australian Simmental breeder Knox Farms Pty Ltd, Crookwell, New South Wales.
OTHER LEADING BULL PRICES INCLUDED: 8,500gns Lot 21 Springfield Niagara sold to H Macdonald, Mains of Dalvey, Advie, Morayshire 8,000gns Lot 77 Rockytop Napoleon sold to R Garden, Culfosie, Aberdeenshire 8,000gns Lot 78 Denizes Nero sold to WSL Muir, Upper Onston, Stenness, Orkeny 8,000gns Lot 126 Islavale Norton sold to JR & JA Barron, Findowrie, Brechin, Angus 8,000gns Lot 132 Corskie Nerve sold to C & M Bruce, Tillyeve, Udny, Ellon 8,000gns Lot 161 Braegarrie Nightrider sold to A & W Barrowman, Mid Knockglass Farm, Stranraer
Simmental has been the foundation of the cattle system at Auchorachan, Glenlivet, Ballindalloch, since the 1970’s, with Simmental bulls first used on the commercial herd to breed replacement breeding stock before a pedigree herd was established in 2002.
Michael Durno, alongside wife, Morag, and father, Les, is now the third generation of the family to farm at Auchorachan.
With a keen interest in pedigree cattle, after considerable success over the years with commercial show calves – including championships at the Royal Highland Show, the Royal Northern Spring Show and Aberdeen Christmas Classic – the purchase of four heifers from the Ravensworth dispersal were the foundation for the Auchorachan pedigree herd.
Breeding policy revolves around five cow families including Hilly and Weigela. The herd now consists of 90 pedigree cows which are run commercially alongside 70 mainly Simmental cross cows which are put to Charolais and Simmental bulls to produce quality store calves.
“I like a medium sized cow that can be fleshed off the grass, without the need for extra feeding.”says Michael. “My pedigree cows may seem smaller in comparison to some other pedigree herds but you don’t achieve the same growth rates on a hill farm at 1000ft, as an arable low-ground farm’.
Around 110 cows calve from August to October with the remainder in the spring from January onwards to around mid-May, allowing for a spread of ages for pedigree shows and sales.
Autumn born calves are sold as yearlings through Thainstone Mart in September, while the spring born crossbred calves not retained for breeding are sold privately in November to former pedigree breeder, Danny Leslie, Redhill, Elgin.
Farm policy over the years has always focused on producing top quality stock, whether it be the store calves, pedigree stock or prime lambs sold from the 550 Perth-type blackfaces, 400 of which are tupped with the Blackie and the rest put to a Texel.
Herd health has always been important, with the Auchorachan herd being one of the first to join the farmer led Hi-Health scheme now known as Hi Health-Herdcare. The herd has been accredited free of BVD since 2004 and Johnes Risk Level 1 status, since 2014. The herds’ Hi Health status has led to surplus commercial heifers being sold for recipients.
Michael will have seven bulls forward at Stirling on February 19, four of them by the home-bred bull, Auchorachan Hercules, a son of the renowned Auchorachan ACDC. Hercules was the most used sire in the Simmental herd book in 2022 with 71 calves registered by him, with offspring averaging £10,500 in 2021 and selling to a top of 18,000gns in October, 2021, with Auchorachan Landmark selling to Brian Grant for his Dellfield herd.
“Hercules has bred extremely well for us,” says Michael, “He was an embryo, a result of semen sold to David Hazelton of the Ranfury herd with the condition that I got an embryo back out of his show cow”.
A further two bulls are by Greencap Kane 19 – he was the last bull through the ring at the Stirling October, 2020, sale held under Covid restrictions, which meant there was no pre-sale show – when purchased for 9,000gns.
“He was bought for his length and breeding after seeing a half-brother sold the previous year at Stirling,” Michael explains.
Also forward will be one of the first sons of the Danish-imported homozygous polled stock bull, Jaegergard Quebec, bought through Facebook after Michael had seen the bull’s dam on a previous trip to Denmark.
He is an exciting prospect with interest in polled genetics increasing among commercial buyers. Hence Michael’s investment in breeding polled bulls. Another of the herd’s stock bulls, Irish-bred, Auroch Hudson, is also polled.
“Both these bulls offer different bloodlines and being polled was a bonus,” Michael says. “In the past, polled bulls have tended to lack carcase quality and conformation but this has improved. There is a real advantage to breeding polled offspring, easing the workload and with heifer calves, once they are tagged, no further handling is required until weaning.
Following the success of the May, 2023, sale at Carlisle, where strong demand saw a 100% clearance and first prize heterozygous bull, Auchorachan Monarch ET 21, selling for 8,000gns, Michael intends to sell again at this year’s May sale. The sale also included a sale of Simmental cross Hi Health heifers with Auchorachan-bred heifers topping the sale at £3800.
Conformation, size and a nice head, preferably white in colour, are key attributes required for stock bulls which are used on both the pedigree and commercial herds.
EBV’s are considered secondary with Michael placing more emphasis on the society’s Female Classification Scheme
“Personally I think the classification scheme is a more useful tool in building up a picture of an animal’s breeding potential,” he says. “Buyers can be confident that bulls they are buying are out of cows which are structurally correct, with strong maternal lines’.
The herd has achieved considerable success in the show ring at the Stirling bull sales over the years, including the reserve senior and reserve overall championships and three junior championships, including Auchorachan Wizard, junior and overall champion in February 2010, selling to Northern Ireland for the herds’ top price to date of 20,000gns.
This year, Michael, who sits on the Simmental Breed Council as chairman of shows and sales north, will judge the Simmental cattle at the Royal Highland Show.
“I am looking forward to judging at this year’s show, having previously judged the junior interbreed and beef breeder sections,” he says. “Over recent years, I’ve seen the quantity and quality of the Simmentals forward at the show improve. I will be looking for breed character and something that walks well”.
Despite Scottish suckler cow numbers continuing to decline, looking ahead Michael feels the Simmental breed will hold its own. No other breed, he says, offers the versatility of a smaller type cow that can be outwintered to a big, beefy framed cow suited to lowlands.
“Bull sales have been good, achieving high clearance rates,” he points out. “Male offspring are performing just as well as other breeds, with the Simmental female in my opinion being unrivalled. The future is promising as the breed continues to go from strength to strength”.