24 May 2002

Belgian Blue gets the top price twice

By Jeremy Hunt

TWO top bids of 10,000gns from commercial buyers and 107 bulls selling to average £3619 at the Border Belgian Blue Clubs show and sale at Carlisle last week, confirmed that the breed is now a major player in the suckled-calf sire market.

Upland suckled calf producers were in contention for modern, clean-gutted bulls with style and scale. Despite the impressive average buyers remained selective.

"Commercial buyers are looking for far more than a lump of muscle. They want stylish bulls that are correct, mobile and tall," said Leighton Buzzard breeder Michele Wilde, who had a storming trade for nine bulls that earned her almost £53,000 and included one of the 10,000gns top prices.

Bull breeders travelling from Belgium were surprised at the preference being shown among British buyers. "The less extreme UK type is what is wanted. I hope the Belgian breeders got the message," said Ms Wilde.

Her joint sale topper was the dark blue-and-white Ridge Dean Springer that stood reserve junior champion. Hes by Seduisant De Fooz and out of the top show winner Ridge Dean Popsicle who has the breeds second highest beef value.

Buyers were well known Cumbria stockbreeders M Bindloss and Sons of Shap, Penrith. But their investments in crossing bulls did not end there. They also paid 5500gns for the male champion Brookfield Sewell from Thirsk, North Yorks vendors S and G Potter, and 5000gns for the reserve intermediate champion Owlden Samson from John Ogden and Son, Lancaster.

The 80-cow Ridge Dean herd also produced the 8000gns Ridge Dean Spitfire, an all-black bull by the home-bred sire Mahogany. Buyer was W Errington, Penrith.

Ridge Dean Super Fighter, by the 4000gns sire Cowden Prince Nazim, comes from an easy calving line and realised 7200gns to R Marwood and Sons, Richmond, North Yorks.

Sharing the top price of 10,000gns was Aprilton Sinbad from Richmond, North Yorks breeder Eileen Wilson, who keeps just five Belgian Blue cows. This powerfully muscled son of Philipper De Remichampagne was an ET-born calf from the only egg in the flush from Lenborough Juliette.

Sinbad, one of three bulls from Miss Wilson to average almost 6000gns on the day heads for Eric Nelsons suckler herd at Bull and Cave, Clapham.

Another Philipper son, Dundrod Sambo from Sam Hamiltons herd at Lockerbie, made 9000gns. Like several of the higher priced bulls he did not feature in the awards under Belgian judge M Francis Goose, but this was the type that was in demand among the bull buyers. Sambo goes to J Stephenson, Skipton, North Yorks. (Harrison and Hetherington) &#42