29 January 1999

Optimism for start of Perth

FARMERS travelling to Perth for next weeks bull sales are showing increasing signs of optimism.

The event, which runs from Monday to Thursday (Feb 1-4) will see more than 1000 animals on offer. Highlights include the 195-strong entry of Aberdeen Angus – the breeds highest since 1980 – and the UKs first auction of pedigree Black Limousin bulls.

John Blewett, who will be travelling to Scotland from Cornwall, says the lifting of the beef export ban has brought more confidence to the industry. "The beef job is a long-term one. People have to start thinking about breeding now what will be eaten in two or three years time."

Mr Blewett won the supreme championship at the venue last February with his bull Reddivallen Magnum which changed hands for 6000gns. "It would have made 10,000gns a few years ago," he says.

Aberdeen Angus breeders, meanwhile, will struggle to beat the values seen for their stock 12 months ago, says breed society president, Neil Massie. But the trade should be better than last autumns Perth offering on the back of a slightly better finished cattle and suckled calf trade.

More buyers could also be present, reflecting the shift towards spring calving. And farmers who delayed culling bulls in the face of low over 30-month-scheme rates can only delay for so long. "People may now be forced into a change of bulls," says Mr Massie. &#42

Bull prices Feb 1998

(gns) (£)

Charolais 18,000 3396

Aberdeen

Angus 16,000 3408

Limousin 6200 2634

Simmental 6000 1990

Belgian Blue 4100 1785