Averages lifted £681 on the year at a much more buoyant South Devon Spring Sale at Exeter, hitting a top of 5,400gns on Thursday (6 April).

Strong local demand was boosted by buyers as far flung as Essex and Lincolnshire, with 21 out of 23 sires knocked down through the ring.

See also: South Devons achieve 5,000gns high at Skipton

The day’s lead price tag went for Woodhayes Homer 24 from BG and JZA Dart, Cullompton, Devon, selling for 5,400gns to J Wharton Agriculture, Swaby, Lincolnshire.

Woodhayes Homer 24

Woodhayes Homer 24 saw a top price of 5,400gns

This home-bred, March-2015-born Woodhayes Homer 11 son is out of Woodhayes Daffodil 13 and was awarded best bull on performance and inspection by judge Douglas Scott of the Grove herd, Moreton-in-the-Marsh, Gloucestershire.

Reared on grass and silage only, Homer is in the top 5% of the breed for quality beef and suckler replacement indexes, his sire was rated +3.4% for calving ease daughters and he is expected to bring good growth traits and milky daughters.

A strong ringside of buyers included several fresh faces making for a more buoyant sale, breed secretary Caroline Poultney told Farmers Weekly.

“Some buyers went home with empty trailers,” she said. “Demand comprised mostly pedigree breeders but it was good to see large commercial bidders return.

“Some units are having success using South Devon bulls to breed suckler replacements and as a terminal sire, with one notable buyer keeping replacements from South Devon bulls used on blonde cows.”

Sexton Senator 8

Sexton Senator 8

Next best at 5,200gns was Mr Scott’s male champion from RRB and SJ Harvey, Sexton Senator 8 from the Ermington herd.

He has Z Northwick General 10 and Goffe Cave Marius as grandsires and knocked down to Mr D Ashcroft, Selborne, Hampshire.

Two then followed at 5,000gns, the first being Welland Dominator 2 from ME and TE Broome, Thorpe Langton, Leicestershire, knocking down to Cornish breeder R Rundle.

Matching this was reserve male champion Z Treguddick Hallmark 27 from D J Thomas and Sons, Launceston, Cornwall. He knocked down to Shillingham Farms, Saltash, Cornwall after winning the best-polled bull rosette.

At 4,800gns was Trewint Samuel, from Cornish breeders PS and AP Rowe, Menheniot, Liskeard. He is out of Trewint Darkie 146 and by Welland Valley Samson and is predicted to be easy calving with strong growth potential to 400 days and beyond.

Females

The sale was led by R Sadler and the Carlydnack herd who claimed the female championship and the top price tag of 1,600gns with two different polled heifers.

Z Carlydnack Hawthorn 17

Z Carlydnack Hawthorn 17 won the female champion rosette

Trade peaked at 1,650gns for Z Carlydnack Sapphire 10 selling to Devon breeders GK and MA Garrett and Son, Okehampton. She is by Billington Excalibur 34 and out of Carlydnack Sapphire 7.

Next best at 1,600gns was the champion, Carlydnack Hawthorn 17, another Excalibur daughter.

She boasts bloodlines going back to Wishworthy, Sexton and Kestle herds.