by | Feb 8, 2023

With just under three weeks to the Stirling Simmental Bull Sale on Monday February 20th, it’s a timely point to focus on the pre-sale Simmental judge, Colin Fordyce, Meigle, Blairgowrie. Colin is the long-standing herd manager of the noted Strathisla Farms, and runs the Blair Simmental herd in his own right, which is run alongside the Strathisla Simmental herd.

Colin has worked at Strathisla for a remarkable 42 years now, having joined the business as herdsman straight after he left school, under the then Head Stockman Ian Roberts, before being promoted to head stockman and herd manager ten years later.
At Strathisla, Colin oversees the management of 60 Simmental cows and followers, a 40 head Charolais herd, as well as 150 commercial cows. On the commercial herd, homebred Simmental and Shorthorn bulls are used, with around 25 heifer calves a year being kept as replacements. The remaining heifers are sold as herd replacements or as store. Commercial bull calves are taken through to finishing and sold deadweight to ABP Perth, at 12-15 months old, and produce mainly U grade carcasses. Colin says: “We find the Simmentals produce fast growing progeny with great weight for age, consistently hit top grades, and with high killing out percentages.”

Highlights of Colin’s career with the Strathisla herd are many, and at both shows and sales. Regular vendors at Stirling the herd’s top prices to date include Strathisla Kinloch, who sold in October 2020 for 11,500gns, and Strathisla Hagrid, who sold in October 2017 for 11,000gns. The Royal Highland Show is an annual pilgrimage and where Strathisla has regularly featured in the Championship shake downs and accrued multiple red tickets.

Run alongside the cattle at Strathisla Farm, Colin’s Blair Simmental Herd was established in 1999, with the purchase of Milnafua Harriet at the Milnafua Dispersal Sale. Harriet went on to breed two Stirling Reserve Intermediate Champions, Blair Rory in October 2005, and Blair Solomon in October 2006. Blair Mario was purchased by Genus last year, and more recently two further bulls have been procured by the breeding company from Strathisla Farms.

Of the judging job ahead at Stirling Colin said: “The Stirling Bull Sales and before that Perth, are synonymous with high end bulls for both pedigree and commercial breeding and it’s a great honour to be asked to judge. In my opinion the Stirling Bull Sales is the place to go to buy the quality bulls.” Having previously judged Simmentals at many shows over the years including Perth, Grantown, Turriff, Strathaven, Campsie, and Dunblane to name but a few, Colin will certainly cast an experienced eye over proceedings, and he is clear in the type of Simmental that he likes: “My perfect bull has a good top line, length, nice height, a decent back end, and most importantly he must be able to walk well,” he said. “When looking to purchase a bull these are the attributes I look for. Over and above that, we always consider the bull’s EBV’s and back pedigree, as well as the herd health status.”

“The Simmental has a well-earned reputation for its maternal attributes and all-round efficiencies and I’m very much looking forward to judging what I’m sure will be a quality line up of bulls.”
In all 138 Simmental bulls are catalogued, with 4 Simmental females also forward. The pre-sale show is on Sunday 19th February, commencing from 10am. The sale itself is on Monday 20th February and also from 10am. Please click here to see the full catalogue.