5 January 2001

What the best of the best fetched in 2000

Although farming has

suffered its deepest

depression in living memory,

pedigree breeders have

focused beyond the current

crisis. Jeremy Hunt looks at

the highest prices paid at

last years dairy, beef and

sheep sales

THEY say breeding shows – and it certainly did for the Bothwell family from Ballina Mallard, Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, who bred the 17,000gns Killadeas Original, the top price beef bull for 2000.

This Charolais bull was the highest priced beef bull in a year when a record breaking 876 Charolais bulls were sold at auction markets in the UK.

Along with his illustrious brothers Jack and Legend, Original can trace his ancestry back to some of the Bothwells foundation cows bought nearly 30 years ago from a herd in the Republic of Ireland.

Stuart Bothwell and his son David run 45 pedigree Charolais cows. In recent years they have enjoyed an outstanding run of success and none more noteworthy than sons of the great brood cow Killadeas Beryl.

This remarkable matron died a year ago, but her breeding lives on through her daughters and grand-daughters and also through her three famous sons.

Killadeas Jack was her first bull calf and is already one of the breeds most successful sires. He was sold at Perth for 14,000gns and his brother Killadeas Legend later realised 10,000gns in the same ring.

They, like the 17,000gns Killadeas Original, were by the 16,000gns Brampton Embark; Beryl traces back to the Meade breeding line.

"Original was always a very striking calf, but we dont push our young bulls too hard. We like them to grow on naturally and then gear the feeding higher in the last two or three months before they are sold," said Stuart.

And it looks like the Original line will continue to produce the goods. "We have a very smart bull calf for Perth out of a granddaughter of Beryl," he added.

Original, who is in the breeds top 10% with a beef value of 28, was bought by Jim Goldie of Dumfries.

"He was a very impressive bull on the day and we are looking forward to his first crop of calves. It doesnt matter what you pay for a bull as its part of the breeding cattle jigsaw," said Mr Goldie, who sold bulls at 10,000gns and 8000gns from his own herd the same day.

Top ram

He was an April-born single lamb and although he looked promising in the late spring, it wasnt until summer that Willie Dunlop knew he had potential to "go the distance".

And he was right. By October the lamb became the highest priced sheep sold during 2000 after he made £38,000 at the Scottish Blackface Sheep Breeders Associations sale at Lanark.

Bred in Mr Dunlops Elmscleugh flock of 1400 Scottish Blackface ewes that graze the Lammermuir Hills near Dunbar, the lamb was one of a tremendous crop offered this year.

He was by a £9000 Connachan tup bred in the Crieff-based flock of Neil McCaul-Smith. Mr Dunlops shrewd investment in this 1999-bred ram lamb certainly paid off – his 2000 crop of ram lambs earned him £56,000.

"Hes one of the best lambs weve ever bred," said Mr Dunlop, who is no newcomer to big prices for Scottish Blackface lambs, having previously sold breeding stock for £56,000, £50,000, £48,000 and £42,000.

In 2000 he bought rams at Lanark and Newton Stewart at £26,000 and £37,000, respectively.

The £38,000 record breaker was bought in a four-way split by Hugh Blackwood, Ayr, Tom Renwick and John Campbell from Peebles, and Alistair McArthur of Biggar.

Top dairy cow

It was not a "spur of the moment" decision when the Leach family from Lancs paid 17,500gns in July last year for the young cow Coveacres Astre Rosalie.

"Cows of this quality cost more to buy in Canada. We reckon shell prove to be excellent value and have already had a lot of interest in her embryos," said Kevin Leach.

Rosalie runs with the rest of the 120 cows in the Leachfield herd near Garstang and is expected to give in excess of 12,000kg in her current and fourth lactation. She calved shortly after being purchased in July from North Yorks breeder Phillip Greens Eshton herd dispersal and produced a heifer calf by Lystel Leduc.

She has recently been flushed and has produced three more embryos to Leduc. Rosalie, classified Ex91, is by Duregal Astre Starbuck and stood first at the Great Yorkshire Show last year and third at the Royal Show. She is expected to make her first show ring appearance of the new season at the National Holstein Show in February.

"She looks in great form. Shes been a very easy cow to manage and has been well worth the investment.

"On the sale day we actually thought she would have made more money than she did," said Mr Leach. &#42

TOPPRICESIN 2000

&#8226 38,000gns Scottish Blackface ram.

&#8226 17,500gns Holstein Friesian cow.

&#8226 17,000gns Charolais bull.

The Original number one bull in 2000. This Charolais bull from Northern Ireland breeders Stuart and David Bothwell, Co Fermanagh, topped the sales at 17,000gns.

This impressive Scottish Blackface ram from the Elmscleugh flock of Willie Dunlop, Dunbar, looks majestic. His new owners believed so too, paying a massive 38,000gns to buy him.