22 March 2002

Ready-to-work bulls pick of Charolais sale

By Jeremy Hunt North-west correspondent

BULL buyers deprived of the chance to secure Charolais sires from the Carlisle ring for over a year were back in action last week striking two deals at a top of 5500gns and pushing averages up by £500.

A clear preference for bulls ready to work immediately produced the days strongest trade for senior and intermediate entries at the British Charolais Cattle Societys show and sale.

Although this early spring fixture never matches keener demand for bulls at the societys May sale, 36 bulls found new homes – 10 more than in March 2000.

"Farmers who are restocking were active throughout the sale, although DEFRAs movement restrictions and the continued ban on multiple drop-offs took its toll and certainly kept many Welsh buyers at home," said breed society chief executive David Benson.

The brother and sister team of Robert and Kay Thompson, of Bishop Auckland, Co Durham, bought three Charolais sires as part of their restocking programme. Their biggest investment was the 5500gns they paid for Holtstead Rafferty, consigned from Freddy Andrews herd at Huddersfield, West Yorks.

Rafferty is by Simpsons Gregg and out of a home-bred cow by Newthrums Regal and will join the bull team working in the Thompsons 180-cow suckler herd.

High performance figures were an added bonus to Bassingbourn Ralph. This 18-month-old entry is from the Duxford, Cambridge herd of Mervyn and Christine Parker, whose stock has wooed the Carlisle crowd many times.

Ralph stood reserve champion under judge Alastair Houston from Gretna Green and boasted a beef value of 37, ranking him in the breeds top 1%.

He shared top price of 5500gns and continued his journey northwards to join the Blelack herd of Aberdeenshire breeders Neil and Graham Massie.

Moynton Rascal, a son of Oldstone Egbert and out of a heifer by Ideal, scooped the supreme championship. He has a beef value of 27, ranking him in the top 10%, and was bought at 5000gns by commercial beef producers J Morton and Sons, who farm at Melrose in the Scottish Borders.

Mike Yeandle, in charge of the Moynton herd, said: "The commercial man must not lose sight of this breeds superior growth rate because its what the Charolais is all about. Back-end shape is important, but this breed is not a white Belgian Blue."

The 26,000gns Perth bull Ugie Legend, bred by Suffolk sheep breeder Jimmy Wilson, has left a string of four and five-figure progeny. He notched up another at this sale when the partnership of Boden and Davies, of Stockport, Cheshire, sold their Sportsmans Ranger at 4500gns to Ralph and Alistair Needham from Louth, Lincs.

Ian Campbell from Alnwick, Northumberland, sold the best of his string at 4000gns. Thrunton Reynard is by Maerdy Nero, a son of French import Maerdy Grimaldi, and out of a cow by Blelack Jaguar. Buyer was Keith Brooke, Newton Stewart.

There were two bulls at 3800gns. Breeder Jean Atkinson, of Malton, North Yorks, sold Bassett Rocket to B Craig, Ayrshire. The other was Hendy Roger, by the great Killadeas Jack consigned by JA Rees, Llanidloes. He remained in Cumbria with Penrith farmers WR and FD Siddle.

The Siddles mopped up another two bulls, giving 3000gns for Esmor Evans Maerdy Remit and the same for Hendy Riverdance – another Killadeas Jack son from Mr Rees.

At 3500gns was a bull from local breeder Peter Vaseys Border herd, while a 3200gns call completed a successful 700-mile round trip for Messrs Terry and Houghton, from Gravesend, Kent. They took home a Maerdy Impeccable son from the Piatroon herd of &#42 Forster and Sons, Hexham.

Averages: 39 bulls £2602 and seven Bassingbourn herd females £1800 (Harrison and Hetherington). &#42