Bulls sold to a top of 3,000gns, while heifers peaked at 2,500gns, at the Northern Ireland Simmental Cattle Breeders’ Club’s spring show and sale, held at Dungannon Farmers’ Mart.

Despite a strong entry of good quality bulls trade was somewhat lack lustre, reflecting the current downturn in beef prices and the uncertainty facing the industry in the wake of the CAP proposals.

A spokesman for the club said: “Buyers were bidding on a budget which left many bull vendors disappointed. However, on the positive side we managed to retain our share of a decreasing market, selling the same number of bulls as last year.”

Sale leader at 3,000gns was the second prize winning Kilbride Farm Drennan from breed stalwart Billy Robson OBE, and sons Michael and Norman, Doagh, Ballyclare, County Antrim. This fifteen-month-old entry was sired by the 9,500gns Kilbride Farm Warren – reserve intermediate champion at Stirling in February 2010 – and is bred from a dam by the 15,000gns Cairnview Snazzy. He is in the breed’s top 10% for terminal sire index +77 and self replacing index +85, and in the top 5% for milk +10. Buyer was pedigree breeder Joe Wilson who runs the 60-cow Ballinlare Farm herd at Rathfriland, County Down.

Next best at 2,800gns was the second prize winning Inishrush Denis consigned by brothers William and Philip Whyte from Portglenone, County Antrim.  Sired by the 6,600gns Omorga Baldwin – supreme champion at Dungannon in February 2011 – he was bred from the Stirling Nelson daughter Inishrush Sheila. With a TSI+86 and an SRI+90, he is in the breed’s top 5% for eye muscle area +3.9. This September 2012 born entry sold to suckler herd owner Michael McManus from Swatragh, County Londonderry.

Three lots came went under the hammer for 2,600gns. First to go was the fourth placed Dressogue Defender TSI+74 SRI+83, a July 2012 born Banwy T-Rex son from Seamus O’Kane’s herd at Drumquin, County Tyrone.  He is bred from Samark Glitter, and is a maternal brother to the 14,000gns Dressogue Victorious. Buyer was David Orr from Omagh, County Tyrone.

The Cairnview Snazzy son Kilbride Farm Ahoghill was behind the breeding of the second placed Ashland Dale TSI+71 SRI+74, brought out by the father and son team of Pat and Frank Kelly, Tempo, County Fermanagh. Born in November 2012, he is bred from the Celtic Nobleman daughter Corrib Susie. Selling for 2,600gns, he went to Oliver Donnelly, Augher, County Tyrone.

Also selling at 2,600gns was the day’s male and reserve supreme champion Castlemount Downtown TSI+70 SRI+84, bred by Duncan McDowell from Newtownards, County Down.  Born in November 2012, he is by the Cleenagh Flasher son Omorga Volvo, and is the second calf from Ranfurly Kleeb 23rd – purchased at Dungannon in October 2010 for 2,900gns. In the top 10% for eye muscle area +3.8, he was snapped up by Eric Speers from Hamiltonsbawn, County Armagh.

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Judge William McMordie, Ballygowan, described the reserve champion as a very sweet and correct bull. “He came from the day’s strongest class. This bull has a great backend and is well put together.”

Next best at 2,400gns was the third prize winning Lisglass Dasher TSI+57 SRI+56, an October 2012 born entry from Leslie Weatherup, and son Christopher, from Ballyclare, County Antrim. Sired by Kilbride Farm Porter, he is bred from Woodhall Sontana – purchased at the Woodhall reduction sale in Perth for a top price of 8,000gns. Buyer was John Morton, Armagh, County Armagh.

Male and supreme overall champion was the September 2012 born Derrycallaghan Duke TSI+51 SRI+58 bred by Harold Stubbs, and grandson Alan Burleigh, Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh. Sired by Drumlone Anchor, he is bred from Delfur Tanya, and attracted a bid of 2,150gns from Michael McCullagh, Loughmacrory, County Tyrone.

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Pedigree Simmental heifers met a strong demand selling to a top of 2,500gns, from Kenny Veitch, Lisbellaw, County Fermanagh, for the reserve female champion. The seventeen-month-old Drumlone Dusty TSI+59 SRI+68 was sired by the 10,000gns Drumlone Anchor, and is bred from the Strathisla Nuggat daughter Corskie Vashka, whose sons have sold to a top of 9,000gns. Buyer was G Morris from Omagh, County Tyrone.

The October 2012 born Knockreagh Donna Marie TSI+ 81 SRI+97 sold at 2,300gns for Val Fegan, and son Conrad, who run an eight-cow herd at Rostrevor, County Down. Sired by Hockenhull Matthew, she is bred from a Cleenagh Flasher daughter purchased privately from the Omorga herd. This one caught the eye of Oliver Quinn from Kilkeel, County Down.

Female champion was Drumagarner Deena TSI+47 SRI+53 bred by the father and son team of Michael and Eamon McCloskey, Kilrea, County Londonderry. Sired by the herd’s 2,800 Euro stock bull Barnattan Wally, she is bred from the Lisglass Python daughter Drumagarner. She joined the Castlewood Farm herd founded recently by Gary Peters, Castlewellan, County Down.

A small entry of commercial Simmental females saw in-calf heifers reach a ceiling of £1,400 and £1,280 paid to Rodney Wilson, Dungannon.

Averages: 18 bulls, £2,324; and eight females, £2,192.