28 February 1997

Value and popularity of Luings are on the up

LUING breeders relished a top-gear trade for their cattle at Castle Douglas last week when bull bidding twice reached 3000gns and females made to 1750gns.

The demand for bulling and in-calf heifers was the talk of sale yard. The in-calf heifer average was up £46 and bulling heifers lifted their 1996 figure by £89.

Bidding set off at a cracking pace and soon peaked at 1750gns for Dirnanean Anna V9th, an in-calf heifer by Dirnanean Montana from long-time supporter Finlay McGowan, Blairgowrie, Perth-shire and bought by Mr and Mrs B Brookes, Trochry, Dunkeld.

"I have kept Luings for 21 years and I believe the breed has never been better," said Mr McGowan. "Cattle now have more commercial appeal; they are bigger framed and over the last decade there has been a commitment among breeders to use bulls with superior fleshing and muscling qualities.

"Now its paying off because we have the conformation as well as the thriftiness, hardiness and longevity that the breed is renowned for. There were bulls on offer at the sale weighing over 900kg at just under two years old," said Mr McGowan who keeps 50 pedigree Luing cows.

Richer pickings were to follow when the red-coated Dirnanean Waterloo, the tallest and heaviest bull in the market, jointly topped the sale at 3000gns. This son of Montana went to Borders buyers A and E Salvesen, Langholm.

Sharing the 3000gns price tag was West Lothian breeder Robert McNee Ltds red-and-white Benhar Warrior, a son of Luing Soldier. This Feb 1995-bred bull went to A White, Galashiels.

The bull average of £2179 for eight sold was up £454 on the year and included a 2800gns investment by the Crofters Commission for Merkland Winchester, a Dirna-nean sired bull from John Fawcetts herd in Dumfriesshire.

Cadzow Brothers, Oban – who developed the breed from Beef Shorthorn and Highland foundations – sold a Benhar sired bull to Robert McNee Ltd at 2100gns.

Bulling heifers produced the fiercest bidding of the day.

And it was a pair from John Fawcetts Merkland herd that produced the most spirited bidding reaching to 1020gns each to buyers C and J Simons, Kelso.

AVERAGES: 53 in-calf heifers £1013; 96 bulling heifers £788; eight bulls £2179. (Wallets Marts)

By Jeremy Hunt

Best pair of in-calf Luing heifers came from Robert McNee. The pair by Benhar Power made 1450gns apiece.