QUALITY BREEDING FEMALE FAMILIES UNDERPIN PROLIFIC AUCHORACHAN SIMMENTALS

QUALITY BREEDING FEMALE FAMILIES UNDERPIN PROLIFIC AUCHORACHAN SIMMENTALS

Here we feature Michael Durno, who along with his wife Morag, and father Leslie, run the noted pedigree and commercial Auchorachan Simmental herd at Glenlivet, Ballindalloch, Banffshire.

Michael Durno with some of the spring calving herd

Whilst the type of cattle have changed over time to meet market demands, the basis of the cattle system at Auchorachan Farm in Glenlivet, has remained the same for 40 years – putting Simmental cross cows to Charolais and Simmental bulls, to produce quality store calves to sell through the market at a year old. It’s a system that works and it’s one that the Durno family do very well.

Michael Durno is now the third generation of his family to farm at Auchorachan, a 2800-acre Crown Estate farm, which his grandfather Duncan first took on the tenancy of in 1953. There, with his wife Morag, he runs 160 cows, alongside his father Leslie, who mainly manages the sheep flock of 600 Perth-type Blackfaces. Full time employee Callum Gill is also part of the team.

“We have 450 acres of grass here at Auchorachan and the rest is heathery hill which the Blackies graze. We breed 450 of them pure and the other 150 go to Texel tups, with all the lambs fattened and sold through Woodhead. We manage to grow 30 acres of barley each year, which is always a challenge – the farm is very steep and we have long, harsh winters and a short growing season,” explains Michael.

On the cattle side, the herd comprises 75 pedigree Simmentals, small herds of pedigree Charolais, Aberdeen-Angus and Salers, and 65 commercial suckler cows (mainly Simmental crosses).

Michael says: “We’ve used Simmental bulls for breeding replacement females for as far as I can remember. We had a great old bull called Cloford Kernel, which bred really well – we had great females off him. That’s probably what got us hooked on the Simmentals.”

It wasn’t until 2002 that the Auchorachan pedigree herd was established though, with the purchase of four heifers from the Ravensworth dispersal.
“We initially bought those heifers for the commercial herd, but we were so pleased with them that we decided to keep them pedigree. So, I registered with the Society at that point and the herd was built from there,” explains Michael.

Other early purchases included two from Hector McCaskill’s Woodhall herd, one from Delfur and another, Greenlea Hilly, from a local on-farm dispersal. The five main breeding families in the herd today, stem from these original purchases, with the ‘Hilly’ family being the most numerous. The Ravensworth Madie family has probably been the most successful at breeding bulls, such as Wizard, Winger, AC/DC, Hercules and Landmark.

“Those families are very milky lines, so we were lucky with the start that we got. The four Ravensworth heifers were bought and delivered home for £520 per head – a bargain now that we know how they’ve bred,” says Michael.

“A main focus for us has been breeding cattle that are good on their legs. Our cows normally average 820kg, which is not huge for a pedigree cow, but we don’t want them any bigger than that on our ground, which sits at 1000ft. We aim for softer fleshed females that will carry flesh at grass with no extra feeding.

“The female classification scheme has been a great addition to the Simmental Society and I think it is more relevant than any other figures in the breed. We now have 54 VG or Excellent cows within our herd. I think it gives buyers confidence that the bulls they are buying are out of good, structurally correct, milky female lines,” says Michael. “Also, EBVs are not that well suited to beef herds in the UK in my opinion, as we have so many different herd sizes and so many totally different rearing systems. For example, in my herd, it suits our system to bull any poorer females with the Charolais bull, to produce an excellent commercial animal, but this takes out the bottom end of the contemporary group of calves being recorded and so disadvantaging the top end calves in their EBVs,” he adds.

Bulls have been carefully selected over the years to compliment the female lines at Auchorachan. Early on, Saltire Talent, bought from Perth, and the Irish-bred Clonagh Tiger Gallant, ran in tandem with each other. Michael says the shape and carcase of Tiger, combined with the length and height of Talent, proved a winning combination. The Saltire Talent son, Auchorachan Wizard, was placed overall champion at Stirling in 2010 and sold for 20,000gns, while Auchorachan Winger, by Clonagh Tiger Gallant, made 10,000gns the same day.

Another Irish purchase, Rawbawn Caesar King, bred particularly good daughters, and then Team Fergus, produced both sons and daughters of note. He was a show winner himself, standing reserve male at the Royal Highland in 2015.

Auchorachan Hercules

Currently, the home-bred bull Auchorachan Hercules is ticking all the boxes. He is a son of Auchorachan AC/DC, another by Saltire Talent, which sold for 12,000gns at Stirling in 2011. Michael had taken semen off the bull prior to his sale, which is how the story of Hercules starts: “I kept AC/DC semen for my own use, but David Hazelton of the Ranfurly herd was keen to use him, so he did so on the condition that I got a fertilised embryo back, out of his show cow, South Park King Kong Weikle 2nd.”

The results of that transaction was Hercules, which Michael kept to use himself. That proved a wise decision, as Hercules sons averaged £10,500 in 2021, selling to a top of 18,000gns for Auchorachan Landmark.

One of Michael’s favourites, Auchorachan Holly, mother of the 18,000gns Auchorachan Landmark with his full sister

Michael has recently been dabbling with polled genetics. Auroch Hudson, a heterozygous polled bull from Ireland, has been used in conjunction with Hercules, and this year, the homozygous polled Jaegergard Quebec, has been imported from Denmark.

“Both of these bulls boast different bloodlines and the fact that they are polled and also look the part, is quite exciting. I’ve been out to Denmark and have seen that bull’s sire, dam and granny, a top show cow, so I know it has quality breeding behind it,” he says.

Another exciting recent purchase is Greencap Kane, bought for 9000gns in 2020 – which Michael describes as being ‘typical’ of the type of bull he likes. “He is long, correct on his legs, well-muscled, with character too. His first calves are on the ground now and looking very promising.

Auchorachan Emily EX94 with her AC/DC bull calf Malcolm

“With both the pedigree and commercial herd, it’s always worth investing in a good quality bull. My Grandfather always used to say that when buying a bull, you should expect to pay the price of 10 of your best bullocks – and I think that should still be the case.”

While Michael takes a great interest in the pedigree breeding lines, in practise, the pedigree cattle are run very much commercially, along with the entire herd. The bulk of the cows (110) calve in the autumn and the rest from January through to May.

“We have a good array of sheds here on the farm, but we’re at capacity with the number of cattle we have. Outwintering is not an option here as the winters are long and unforgiving. Having the cows in at calving time works well for keeping an eye on them, but luckily we have very few calving problems that require assistance.”

Autumn calves are creep fed through the winter and go out to grass with their dams in May, where they get no further feeding before being weaned in July and they are then sold in September through Thainstone Mart. Last September, the batch of Simmental, Charolais and Salers cross 12-month-old bullocks, averaged £1230 at 483kg, while Charolais and Simmental twin heifers sold to average £1170, weighing 462kg at 12-months.

The calves born in the spring, meanwhile, are introduced to creep feeding from August that year. For the past few years, the cross-bred spring calves that are not being kept as replacements, have all been sold in November to local finisher and Simmental enthusiast Danny Leslie, Redhill, Elgin, who is particularly keen on the high-health status of the herd and the fact they’re Level 1 Johne’s. It’s an arrangement that works well for both – as it means they don’t take up valuable shed space through the winter at Auchorachan.

10 – 12 month old steers are sold in September through ANM Thainstone

Within the pedigree herd, demand for Auchorachan Simmental bulls is always strong, between private sales and those through Stirling and Thainstone Marts. Until recently, the best of the females have mainly been kept for breeding, but with numbers at capacity, Michael is now able to offer select heifers for sale. In December last year, the Auchorachan herd supported the newly established Next Generation Sale of Simmental Females & Weaned Calves at Carlisle and at which they sold Auchorachan Liqueur Madie, a grand daughter of the aforementioned Ravensworth Madie, for 5000gns to Ryan Morgan in Orkney.

“I think the breed has improved a great deal in recent years. There used to be two distinct types of Simmentals – bigger, plainer ones and smaller, thicker ones. Now, they have met somewhere in the middle, which is a good place to be.

“It is a really versatile breed, in that a Simmental-sired female will breed a very marketable calf off any breed or sire. Likewise, a Simmental bull onto any breed of cow can leave great replacement females and also very efficient and profitable males, as shown by the recently published data on days to slaughter statistics,” adds Michael.

TREGNETHER NELLIE WINS 2024 ROYAL CORNWALL SHOW!

TREGNETHER NELLIE WINS 2024 ROYAL CORNWALL SHOW!

  • Tregnether herd sees clean sweep of major Simmental awards
  • Simmental team of five Takes Reserve Team Interbreed

 Please see here the report from the 2024 Royal Cornwall Show, held on the 6th – 8th June at the Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge,  supplied by the Cornwall Simmental Club

Five exhibitors presented twenty animals to be judged by the current British Simmental Society President Mr Norman Robson. From Northern Ireland and the renowned Kilbride Farm herd which the Cornwall Simmental members visited during their 2023 September trip. Royal Cornwall Show was Norman and his wife Jill’s first experience of the Duchy.

Stephanie Hooper and David Reeves who run the Tregnether pedigree and commercial herds enjoyed a stellar day with their team of six animals all sired by the home-bred Tregnether Jackpot (Sterling Gino) out of local Liskerret and Treverbyn dams.

Winning all four of the classes they entered beginning with Tregnether Proper Job, born 31st March 2023. Proper Job then went on to stand Male Champion and lifted the Junior Champion and Reserve Supreme awards. While Tregnether Prince, February 2023 was selected as Reserve Male Champion.

Tregnether Proper Job, Male Champion and Reserve Overall Champion

Tregnether Nellie born 15th March 2022, headed the two-year-old heifers before being tapped forward for Female Champion and Overall Supreme. In-calf to Lakeside Warrior she is due in October.

Tregnether Nellie, Female & Supreme Simmental champion

Tregnether Pixie continued the epic day for the young couple by taking the heifer born on or between 1st January and 31st March 2023. Born on the last day of March she stood Reserve Female Champion after lengthy consideration by the judge, and Reserve Junior Champion.

Rounding off the afternoon Tregnether Proper Job and Tregnether Pixie joined forces to head the pairs class.

Friday is inter-breed day. The judge selected Nellie, Proper Job, and Pixie together with Tregnether Peach and Bosahan Paloma to represent the Simmental breed in the team of five. This eye-catching junior team were runners-up to a the powerful Charolais representatives.

Besides their cattle, Steph and David enjoyed success in the sheep section with Reserve Champion commercial and a flurry of rosettes with their pedigree Zwartbles. To complete the show for the family their sons Elliott was awarded a prize in the under four class while seven-year-old Oliver won his section in the sheep young handler classes on Saturday.

The remaining class winners were:

Bull born on or after 1st April 2023
Mr and Mrs J M & AM Grose & Sons – Trewarnevas Poldark 23

Cow born before 1st January 2021, in calf or with a calf at foot.
Mr & Mrs S Gummow – Killiworgie Elderflower’s Ivy

Cow or heifer born in 2021 in milk with calf at foot or certified in-calf and due to calve before three years of age.
Mr & Mrs S Gummow – Killiworgie Ivy’s Maria

Heifer born on or after 1st April 2023
PJ, B & DJ Olds – Bosahan Peony Hello Baby (P)

Full results and more photos to follow.

Live streaming of classes available on Cornwall Simmental Club Facebook page.

SIMMENTAL – THE ‘TESLA’ OF UPLAND SUCKLER BEEF PRODUCTION AT AIKENGALL!

SIMMENTAL – THE ‘TESLA’ OF UPLAND SUCKLER BEEF PRODUCTION AT AIKENGALL!

We meet with James Hamilton, this year’s NSA ScotSheep host on Wednesday 5th June, based at Aikengall located on the edge of the Lammermuir Hills, Innerwick, Dunbar and where Simmental has a major complementary role to play with the sheep enterprise.

Succession and the freedom to be your own man have always been at the forefront and long-term planning for the Hamilton family – James, Charles and Harry alongside their late father, John.  Harry took on the tenancy of Nunraw in 2010, the opportunity to purchase Barney Mains where Charles is now based came in late 2021, while James remains at Aikengall.  Combined, the three units carry 900 spring calving Simmental cross suckler cows and accompanying finishing unit together with 1,400 Blackface ewes including 700 pure ewes, 700 ewes bred to the Bluefaced Leicester and 1,400 Scotch Mules bred to Texel rams for finished lamb production.


James explains: “While we are each running our own farms, the arrangement provides that critical mass and we’re linked: the extra land has enabled us to expand the suckler herd, Barney Mains has allowed us to be self-sufficient in grain and straw and we’ve been able to develop a complete stratified sheep enterprise.
“We have always tried to build a system that can sustain itself and turn in a profit without support payments, and we are currently as close to that as we have ever been.”
He continues: “After moving from Dykefoot and South Cobbinshaw in Lanarkshire to Aikengall back in 1998, we converted to organic production which was very profitable in the early days due to good organic conversion schemes and premiums on stock of up to £1/kg.
“Organic was in fact the precursor to the current regenerative movement; it was simply a more unquantified ‘caveman’ approach. Without the ability to turn to a bag or a can to solve your problems, we learnt a great deal. It was about building fertility for crops such as kale or barley using good clover-based swards that in turn boosted feed values, clean grazings to reduce worm burdens and closed herds to prevent introducing disease – the list goes on.

“Whilst we took the decision in 2014 to return to conventional production, the lessons we learned haven’t been lost. We like to think we currently farm an intensive system on an extensive basis – we’re exploiting our resources’ potential with minimal input however we like to pay as much attention to detail as we can.

“We are finding what’s good for farm profitability is also good for the environment and carbon efficiency. When we have a good grazing sward with clovers and herbs the soil health and ability to hold pH and fertility is greatly enhanced. Recent carbon tests on upland silage fields have shown soil carbon levels of 15-18%, far greater than the assumed 2-3%. This is a great story to tell and a torpedo to the Bismarck of negative press the livestock industry sustains,” says James.

“Labour is a big issue – we each mange our units singlehanded alongside our wives – Emma, Jane and Rebecca. At Aikengall, I have part time help feeding up along with seasonal help from students at calving and lambing, consequently we need an easy care suckler, one that will look after herself, and Simmental has proved herself to us for nearly three decades.”

“Simmental has got to be the Tesla of upland suckler beef production,” says James Hamilton. “She is a great dual-purpose cow – easy calving, maternal and milky, and is able to extensively rear a quality calf each year which goes on to easily flesh. Furthermore, she is performing off heather hill remaining in BCS 3.5 totally off forage and without any extra cost through to the end of December – weather permitting, which can subsequently shorten the winter period to just four months of the year.”  In fact, Simmental has been the backbone of the family’s suckler finishing enterprise for almost 30 years and is set to continue that role well into the foreseeable future. “While we inherited Simmental when we bought Aikengall in 1998, since then we’ve worked away introducing native breeds to reduce cow size to an average 650kg mature weight and establish a fleshier, more efficient suckler cow and one that will hold her condition during winter. Today’s herd comprises 80% Simmental genetics.

“While we’ve some cows lasting for 10 years, one of objectives is to keep the herd productive and young averaging six crops. We semen test all the bulls before they are turned out, they run with the heifers for four weeks and the cows up to six weeks, and then we scan three weeks after they’re removed in mid-September and anything that’s empty is culled.”  Replacement heifers are carefully selected: “We’re annually introducing 200 head and calve them at two years – we pelvic score and weigh to make sure they’re sufficiently well grown reaching 400kg and fit to run with the bull – either Angus or Lincoln Red. We run them in two groups of 100 head, each with three or four bulls for four weeks as an insurance policy.

“After that first cross, it’s Simmental all the way and we keep these bulls in for two cycles, and again we cull all of the empties,” says James. “Our ruthless culling policy has resulted in herd fertility dramatically increasing and most cows getting in calf in the first turn.”

The Hamiltons run a string of 25 Simmental bulls; they annually refresh with a handful purchased in Stirling and occasionally top up with one or two bought privately. “We work each one as long as he’s fit, usually for up to five seasons. We do pay attention to selecting for calving ease, eye muscle and backfat EBVs however we don’t rely on them. We like a slightly smaller and ‘musclier’ type of bull, since we believe they and their progeny will hold flesh easier.  “We also like those with dark red coats – we believe they absorb more sunlight which in turn helps to keep more flesh on the cattle.”

With some 900 head of cows to calve over the three farms within a space of six weeks then ease of calving is vitally important. “We keep an eye on them and have cameras, however very little intervention is required; the calves are lively and able to take care of themselves in the most part.

“Cows and calves are turned out on to a flush of spring grass and thrive on the upland pastures and hill until nine months weaning at +300kg target weight. Three to four weeks prior to weaning we introduce creep – wheat distillers and barley to help with the transition process. The calves are then built up onto a finishing diet of homegrown crimped cereals, silage, a bit of straw and bought in protein, with bespoke minerals included,” he explains. “All calves are weighed at housing and at two-month intervals to ensure they keep on track.

“The cattle tend to finish in a tight pattern which mirrors calving, at 17 to 20 months of age – steers at an average 390kg and heifers 340kg to 350kg and all consistently grading within the U, R 3 and 4L spec. They’re very well sought after and keenly bid for by Highland Meats, AK Stoddart and Macduff beef,” he says adding: “It is a pleasure to work with the Simmental breed to achieve the type and temperament of cow and finishing beast in the farming system we are striving to achieve.”

 

 

Suckler herd performance
24 months age at first calving
95% heifer scan
96% cow scan
80% calving within the first two cycles
90% reared
6 calf crops
17 – 20-month finishing; steers ave 390kg, heifers ave 340kg; U, R 4L

Factfiles
Aikengall, Dunbar, East Lothian

1,900 acres, upland unit, 900’ – 1,200’
450 spring calving Simmental cross breeding females
600 head finishing unit
1,400 Blackface ewes

Thurston Mains
400 acres arable/good grazing lowland next door to Aikengall

Nunraw, Garvald
1,200 acres, tenanted unit
350 spring calving Simmental cross breeding females
1,400 Scotch Mule ewes

Barney Mains, Haddington
450 acres arable
140 acres rough grazing, plus 80 acres grazing next door farm
100 suckler cows

Coreshope, Heriot
2,000 acres upland unit contract farmed with the Walgate family
Running all bulling heifers and ewe hoggs

PART THREE OF THREE: SIMMENTALS TOPPING COMMERCIAL SALES AT 34 LIVESTOCK MARKETS AROUND THE UK!

PART THREE OF THREE: SIMMENTALS TOPPING COMMERCIAL SALES AT 34 LIVESTOCK MARKETS AROUND THE UK!

SALISBURY; RUGBY; THAINSTONE; FROME; EXETER; HALLWORTHY; THIRSK; BENTHAM; PRESTON; SEDGEMOOR; HOLMFIRTH; CARLISLE; LOCKERBIE; BALLYMENA; LANARK; CASTLE DOUGLAS; HUNTLY; LUDLOW; CROOKLANDS; ST BOSWELL; GISBURN; MELTON MOWBRAY; DUNGANNON; DINGWALL; TRURO; AYR; SHREWSBURY; DUMFRIES; QUOYBRAE; DARLINGTON; WHITLAND; MARKET DRAYTON; SKIPTON; AND MONMOUTHSHIRE
Hard-working Simmental sired cattle continuing to do the business in store, prime, breeding, and calf sales around the UK. Where they are not Simmental sired, many other sale top prices are out of Simmental females! Simmental genetics continuing to add value, flexibility, efficiency, and profitability for commercial producers.
See here the final of three bumper parts covering Simmental sale toppers through April (19th to 30th):
Salisbury Market on 30th April held a sale of finished cattle and barren cows. Beef cows (assured and non-assured) saw a top price of 208p or £1672.32 going to a grand Simmental from the Hicks family, Burghclere with another from the same stable at 206.5p. In the OTM clean cattle, a strong Simmental x from Philip Samways which was assured and under 36 months topped at 237.5p or £1638.75.
At Rugby Farmers Mart Prime Cattle Sale on 29th April the trade for cows was topped by a 858kg Simmental from FI & EJ Barnes, which sold for £2128.
Aberdeen and Northern Marts sold 1133 Store Cattle, and Young Bulls at Thainstone on 26th April. Bulls averaged 292.4p sold to 279.4p per kg for a 494kg Simmental Cross from Feolquoy, Stromness. On the same day, a total of 116 store cattle were forward from Orkney Consignors. Bullocks sold to a top of £1,710 gross for a 664kg Simmental from D W Sinclair & Co, Unigarth, Sandwick.
In Frome’s store cattle sale on 26th April, young continentals were topped by a grand consignment from James Foot of Weymouth with his usual outstanding Simmental steers and heifers (11-12 mo) topping at £1170 for the best pen of steers and £995 for heifers.
In a sale of store cattle at Exeter on 26th April, a pair of well covered Simmental’s from Jeremy Brown topped the grazing cows coming back at £1660 each. On the same day and a sale of stirks and suckled calves, heifers topped out at £850 for the Moysey Family, Ivybridge, presenting Simmental cross heifers.
Hallworthy’s sale of 300 store cattle on 25th April saw a top of £1830 twice for PJ & JA Rogers of Tavistock including a pair of cracking long shaped and fleshed Simmental x Steers.
At Thirsk and a sale of cull cattle on 25th April, top price cow was 217.5p for a Simmental X from Amblers Lodge, Shipton purchased by JA Jewitt Ltd, Spennymoor.
At Bentham’s sale of rearing calves on 24th April, younger continentals, around a month old, saw Simmentals from Cote Farm Partnership to £370, others £340, £350 x2 and £360.
In a sale of cull cows at Brockholes Arms Auction Market on 24th April, beef cows sold to a top of 195 p/kg for a Simmental that grossed at £1813 from C & J Bennett.
In a sale of store cattle at Sedgemoor on 24th April, steers sold to £1270 for some smart, suckler bred Simmentals x 7 from V Young & Sons, Redhill.
At Holmfirth on 23rd April, prime cattle overall averaged 278.73p/kg. Top price at 295p/kg, was a Simmental steer from D Pearson sold to JB Eastwood & Sons.
On 24th April Harrison & Hetherington held their weekly sale of calves at Carlisle. Connell Farm Ltd, East Drummodie, Newton Stewart, topped the sale today at £730 x 2 with their Simmental bull calves.
In the sale of store cattle at H&H’s Lockerbie Mart on 23rd April, a Simmental bullock from Messrs Howatson, Heithat sold for 347ppkg to feature in the top prices.
In a sale of store cattle at Ballymena on 23rd April bullocks sold to £1670 for a 570kg Simm presented by TH McDowell, Dundonald.
In a sale of breeding bulls, dropped calves, suckler cows, and weanlings at Ballymena on 22nd April the suckler cows were topped by D Morrow, Glenarm, with a Simm with heifer calf at foot selling for £1680.
At Rugby Farmers Mart on 22nd April, the trade for steers and bulls was topped by a 668kg Simmental from BT Caswell & Sons at £1750. 309ppk was the joint top mark in the heifers and for a Simmental also from BT Caswell & Sons.
On 22nd April at Lanark Market, Lawrie and Symington Ltd had forward 110 cattle comprising of 30 bullock and heifers and 80 cast cows. Beef cows sold to £1990 per head for a Simm from Browntod Farm, Hamilton.
The Borderway Primestock Sale at Carlilse on 22nd April saw Messrs Trafford, Springfield, Cockermouth sell a 771kg Simmental prime bull to £2054.72 and to feature in the leading prices.
Wallets Marts, Castle Douglas, had forward OTM Cattle and Store Cattle on 22 April. OTM cattle topped at 273ppk for a Simmental Bull from Messrs Craig, Craigton.
In a sale of 303 non export calves at Sedgemoor on 20th April, top of the day was £485 for a super 1m Simmental bull for KP Silverthorne & Partners.
At Huntly on 20th April, United Auctions sold 572 cattle at their sale which incorporated Young Farmers Overwintered Cattle. OTMS sold to 266.1p per kg for SimX from Wester Elchies, Aberlour also to £1990 also Wester Elchies, Aberlour.
Aberdeen and Northern Marts on 19th April at Thainstone sold 1,041 Store Cattle, Young Bulls and Young and Weaned Calves. Bulls sold to £1690 gross for a 690kg Simmental Cross from Mains of Newton, Craigellachie.
At a sale of TB restricted store cattle at Ludlow on 19th April, Simmental X’s topped the heifer section when selling to £1500.
Pics from the Simmental library.
BALLINALARE FARM NIKITA ‘DOUBLES UP’ AND RETAINS HER RUAS BALMORAL SHOW CHAMPIONSHIP!

BALLINALARE FARM NIKITA ‘DOUBLES UP’ AND RETAINS HER RUAS BALMORAL SHOW CHAMPIONSHIP!

  • Lisglass Prince takes Overall Simmental Reserve
  • Ballinalare Farm Nikita places Reserve in Individual Interbreed
  • Ballinalare & Lisglass take Reserve in the Interbreed Pairs
  • Simmental Team Wins Interbreed Stockjudging

Roll on twelve months and the now 27-month-old heifer Ballinalare Farm Nikita from Mr J & Mr A Wilson, Newry, Co Down, came back to defend her title and win the 2024 RUAS Balmoral Show on the opening day at Balmoral Park, Sprucefield, Lisburn.

Ballinalare Farm Nikita Supreme Champion

Played out in the sunshine with a hint of a breeze, a small but quality show of Simmentals held the crowd and in front of the judge for the day in the shape pf BSCS President Norman Robson of the noted Kilbride Farm Herd at Doagh, Ballyclare.  A prolific show year in 2023 had seen this young heifer lift the Balmoral Show title along with the top award at the NI National Simmental Show later in the summer. These award also saw her crowned NI Simmental Female of the Year. Having now defended her Balmoral Show title some aim is being taken at the ‘double-double’ of retaining the National Show title which is due to be competed for at the Randox Antrim Show at the end of July.

Ballinalare Farm Nikita is sired by the 14,000gns Saltire Impressive who was also the sire of the 2022 RUAS Balmoral Show Champion.  She is out of Ballinalare Farm Ilyssa whose Granddam is a full sister of the noted Ballinalare Farm Nightrider.  Commenting on his Champion, who was of course also the Female Champion, Norman Robson said:  “A terrific animal, Ballinalare Farm Nikita is a young heifer with immense power.  Her shear scale, size and quality would make her hard to beat on any day and she is a worthy Champion.”

BSCS President & judge for the day, Norman Robson

Father and son team Joe and Alan Wilson have been long term supporters of the RUAS Balmoral Show.  Multiple titles have been highlighted by a hat trick of wins between 2004-2006 for the homebred Ballinalare Farm Money Penny, and now Nikita defending her title.  A delighted Joe Wilson speaking after the show said:  “Over the year she has grown on , and matured.  She’s got size and power but kept her femininity and is full of style.  The herd is having an export sale on 7th September at Rathfriland with around 25 head for sale including full embryo siblings to today’s Champion and also to the 28,000gns Banhill Farm Masterpiece.  We’ll have some ‘contemplation’ time now regarding entries for that sale!”  Flushed in January, Ballinalare Farm Nikita was AI’d two months ago to Omorga Murray.

With the quality of Ballinalare Farm Nikita there was a measured anticipation heading to the Interbreeds and this striking heifer didn’t disappoint when lifting the Overall Reserve in the Individual Interbreed in front of the judge, Stewart Stronach, of the Islavale Simmental herd at Berryleys Farm, Keith Banffshire.  Not quite finished there, Ballinalare Farm Nikita then teamed up with the Male Champion, Junior Champion, and Overall Reserve, Lisglass Prince, to win the Overall Reserve in the Interbreed Continental Pairs.

Lisglass Prince Reserve Supreme, Male & Junior Champion

Shown by JL & CJ Weatherup, Irish Hill, Ballyclare, Co Antrim, the March 2023 born Lisglass Prince is by Omorga Jaguar 18, and is out of Lisglass Lulu, a daughter of the aforementioned Saltire Impressive 17. Of his Reserve Champion Norman Robson said: “Lisglass Prince is a very smart, correct, and modern young bull with a good future ahead of him. He is the ideal example of the style of Simmental bull we should be producing for the commercial farmer.  I think he’s a bull we will definitely be hearing more from throughout the year.”  The Weatherups are themselves multi title winners at Balmoral Show and were again delighted with their breed and Interbreed successes over the show.  Commenting, Chris Weatherup said: “Lisglass Prince just caught your eye from being a young calf and we think he just has a lot of style and length, with a tremendous backend.  He’s tentatively aimed at the October Sale in Stirling.”  Omorga Jaguar 18 was purchased as a ten-month-old calf and he was also the sire of Lisglass Panther, the Male Champion at the recent Swatragh Club Sale.

Dermody Princess Reserve Female Champion

The Weatherups also had the Reserve Female Champion in the shape of Dermody Princess.  Bred by Mr N Jagoe, this September 2002 heifer is another by Saltire Impressive and is out of Dermody Kandy, a Glebedale Tyson daughter.  Speaking of his Reserve Female the judge said:  “There was not a lot between the Overall and Reserve.  This is just a very sweet and feminine heifer and a good example of the types we are looking for in the Simmental breed.”

Seaview Patriot Reserve Male Champion

Lifting the Reserve Male Championship was the August 2022 born bull Seaview Patriot, owned and exhibited by Esther O’Neill, Navan Fort Road, Armagh, and bred by Messrs G&A O’Leary.  This bull, purchased as a year-old calf at the 2023 Tullamore Show, is a son of Woodhall Ferrari 14, and is out of the Kilbride Farm Newry daughter Littlerock Dervela Annie. For the O’Neill’s Drumcoote herd, which comprises of some 30 pedigree Simmental breeding females, this was a first time showing at Balmoral for some eight years. From here Seaview Patriot will be shown again through the summer before being used as the herd’s stock bull.

Ranfurly Weikel 52nd Reserve Junior Champion

Ranfurly progeny were again in the ‘limelight’ when Ranfurly Weikel 52nd P18 23 from David and Jonny Hazelton, Cohannon House, Dungannon, won the Reserve Junior Championship, and Junior Female title.  June 2023 born, this stylish young heifer, got by AI, is by the 16,000gns Ranfurly Limelight L11 20, and is out of Ranfurly Weikel 18th H2 EX 90, a Raceview King daughter.  Further Ranfurly Limelight L11 20 progeny will feature in a sale of 20 breeding females, including 14 or 15 heifers, which will be held alongside the Ballinalare Farm herd offering, on September 7th at Rathfriland.

Winning Interbreed Stockjudging team

There was more Simmental success when the high-powered combine team of Andrew Clarke (Breaghey); Ryan Gilmour (Gillview); Jonny Hazelton (Ranfurly); and Chris Weatherup (Lisglass), combined to win the Interbreed Stockjudging title.  Sponsored by Dunbia, and judged by Meurig James, the competition saw teams of four persons placing classes of beef cattle (no age limits).  There were four classes each consisting of four cattle, with cattle provided on a rotation basis and featuring this year the Charolais, Simmental, Limousin and British Blonde breeds.   Well done Team Simmental!

Overall Championship

Female Championship

Male Championship

Junior Championship

Balmoral 2024 Simmental Results

Heifer born on or after 1st Jan 2022 and on or before 30th June 2022
1st          J & A Wilson                   146       Ballinalare Farm Nikita
2nd         Noel Kilpatrick              147       Ballymoney Nancy

Heifer born on or after 1st July 2022 and on or before 31st Dec 2022
1st          JL & CL Weatherup     149       Dermody Princess
2nd         J N Glasgow                   148       Bridgewater Farm Evie 5th
3rd          J N Glasgow                   150       Raceview PCH Vivkim ET

HEIFER, born on or after 1st January 2023.
1st          WD & JD Hazelton       155       Ranfurly Weikel 52nd P18 23
2nd         Andrew Clarke              152       Breaghey Class P477
3rd          JL & CL Weatherup     153       Lisglass Primrose
4th          Andrew Clarke              154       Breaghey Vida P504

Bull, born on or before 31st December 2022
1st          Mr Shane O’Neill            156        Seaview Patriot

 Bull, born on or after 1st January 2023
1st          JL & CL Weatherup     159       Lisglass Prince
2nd         WD & JD Hazelton       163       Ranfurly Principal P12
3rd          N & N Abraham            158       Corholland Peter
4th          N & N Abraham            164       Corholland Phoenix

Pair of animals, bona fide the property of one exhibitor and entered in the classes for which they are eligible
1st          JL & CL Weatherup
2nd         J N Glasgow

Supreme Champion
Ballinalare Farm Nikita           J & A Wilson

Reserve Supreme Champion
Lisglass Prince                            JL & CL Weatherup

Junior Champion
Lisglass Prince                            JL & CL Weatherup

Reserve Junior Champion
Ranfurly Weikel 52nd P18 23 WD & JD Hazelton

Female Champion
Ballinalare Farm Nikita           J & A Wilson

Reserve Female Champion
Dermody Princess                         JL & CL Weatherup

Male Champion
Lisglass Prince                            JL & CL Weatherup

Reserve Male Champion
Seaview Patriot                              Shane O’Neill

PART TWO OF THREE: SIMMENTALS TOPPING COMMERCIAL SALES AT 34 LIVESTOCK MARKETS AROUND THE UK!

PART TWO OF THREE: SIMMENTALS TOPPING COMMERCIAL SALES AT 34 LIVESTOCK MARKETS AROUND THE UK!

SALISBURY; RUGBY; THAINSTONE; FROME; EXETER; HALLWORTHY; THIRSK; BENTHAM; PRESTON; SEDGEMOOR; HOLMFIRTH; CARLISLE; LOCKERBIE; BALLYMENA; LANARK; CASTLE DOUGLAS; HUNTLY; LUDLOW; CROOKLANDS; ST BOSWELL; GISBURN; MELTON MOWBRAY; DUNGANNON; DINGWALL; TRURO; AYR; SHREWSBURY; DUMFRIES; QUOYBRAE; DARLINGTON; WHITLAND; MARKET DRAYTON; SKIPTON; AND MONMOUTHSHIRE

Hard-working Simmental sired cattle continuing to do the business in store, prime, breeding, and calf sales around the UK. Where they are not Simmental sired, many other sale top prices are out of Simmental females! Simmental genetics continuing to add value, flexibility, efficiency, and profitability for commercial producers. ‼️
See here the second of three parts covering Simmental sale toppers through April (12th to 18th):

On 18th April, Aberdeen and Northern Marts sold 81 Prime Cattle at Thainstone. 30 to 36 Month – Bullocks sold to 254p per kg and £1993.90 gross for a 785kg Simmental Cross from Mains of Corsegight, New Deer.

In a sale of store cattle at NWAs Jct 36 Crooklands Livestock Auction on 18th April, a keen ringside of local and travelled buyers ensured a strong trade was achieved. A pair of Simmental bullocks from LA&M Lambert, Lupton topped at £1760 with others from the same home to £1680.

Harrison and Hetherington held their fortnightly sale of Store and Grazing Cattle at St Boswells on 18th April. Top pence per kilo went to Messrs Buchanan, South Common with a grazing Simmental.x Bullock at 350p per kg.

In a sale of rearing calves at Gisburn on 18th April, a ‘roaring trade’ for the 168 calves was led by a Simmental X Bull at £525 from J H Wood.

In a sale of cull cows at Melton Mowbray on 17th April, top grossing cow saw Andersons (South Wootton) selling Simmental x with weight to £1614.98.

At Dungannon Farmers Mart on 17th April, heifer prices reached a height of £2040 for a 775kg Sim (263.00) presented by G Black.

Dingwall & Highland Marts Ltd on 17th April, at Dingwall, sold 1,101 store cattle and 63 OTM cattle. Heifers (538) averaged 293.2p per kg and sold to 459.4p per kg for a pen of 468kg Simmentals from Blackford Farm, Croy and £2,350 gross for a 580kg Simmental also from Blackford Farm.

On 17th April at Truro Livestock Market, and a sale of store cattle, one year old heifers were topped by Simmental x to £1105 for Messrs A M & V R Pascoe of Helston.

In a sale of rearing calves and weanlings on 16th April at Brockholes Arms Auction Mart, the trade peaked at £410 for a 6 week old Simmental bull from T E & P Eckersley who sold two others to £395 and heifers to £370.

In a sale of UTM finished cattle on 16th April at Salisbury Livestock Market, top return of £2147.92 went to a massive Simmental x steer from Jim and Joanna Bracey who also sold lighter steers of the same breed to 279.5p.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 127 Calves and Stirks at their weekly sale on 16th April at Ayr. A large show of 127 Calves and Stirks saw the top price being £550 for Simm heifer calves from Kaimhill Farming.

In a sale of barren cows at Shrewsbury on 16th April, trade topped at £1,410 for a 4yr old Simental cow from R & J Hill, Broomcroft Farm.

C&D Auction Marts held their fortnightly sale of OTM and Prime Cattle in Dumfries on Monday 15th April 2024. A strong trade prevailed with buyers activity seeking OTM’S of all classes, many more could be sold to advantage. Beef Cows sold to 248 p/kg for a Simm from Millhill and £1720. On the same day C & D Auction Marts held their fortnightly sale of store cattle, and also Dumfries & Galloway Young Farmers rally show and sale. 80 Organic Status cattle sold readily with Simm bullocks selling to the top price of £1620, £1600, and £1580 from L Petrucci, Outer Blair.

At Hallworthy TB store cattle sale on 15th April, top spot went to the House Family of St Issey, their best a single framey Simmental Steer with plenty of depth and fleshing to £1850, next a trio of Simmentals again well fleshed and super rounds to £1830, next a super dunn coloured single at £1820. Their best heifers (Simmental), a single with again good depth and fleshing to £1650, their next trio topping out at £1495 and £1440.

At Frome’s sale of store cattle on 15th April, forward Simmental steers from the Hares Partnership topped at £1520.

At Quoybrae on 15th April, Aberdeen and Northern Marts sold 519 store cattle. Store Heifers (171) sold to £1,760 gross for a 703kg Simmental Cross from Kiess Mains, Keiss.
Darlington Farmers Auction Mart held their weekly sale of cast cattle store and breeding stock on 15th April 2024. Forward were 375 cattle. Store Cattle – in the bulls, a bumper show largely thanks to sixty down from Aberdeenshire and the prolific Stephen Allardyce, East Town, Tarland; the trade looked excellent and topped at £1610 for a lovely Simmental yearling from the Aberdonian.

At Frome’s sale of store cattle 0n 12th April, tremendous bidding from the large company of buyers ringside forced the trade to an outstanding £1780 for quality reared 25mo Simmental steers from Fred Butcher & family of Devizes. Their younger Simmental steers equally well presented and sold from £1600 to £1680 (23mo). Fred Butcher & family took top honours again with their Simmental heifers which sold from £1500 to £1525 (all 24mo). Other good Simmental bullers sold well to £1220 from Gary Hemmens of Heywood.

At Thainstone on 12th April, Aberdeen and Northern Marts sold 1,118 Store Cattle, Young Bulls and Young and Weaned Calves. Bulls sold to 337.1p per kg for a 356kg Simmental Cross from Roadside farm, Skene.

At Exeter’s sale of 450 store cattle on 12th April, some tremendous steers forward topped at a £1830 given for a standout pair of Simmentals (20m) from Alan Brazier of Poltimore closely followed by a trio of equally smart Simmental bullocks (24m) from Aylesbeare’s Cyril Emmett which went on to make £1820 apiece.