Charolais and Simmental breeders look like being on a fairly safe wicket at next week’s Stirling Bull Sales if the opening fixture was setting a trend.


Bidding kicks-off next Monday with an entry of 175 Simmental sires followed by 250 Charolais on Tuesday.


This premier fixture for Charolais breeders marks the start of the breed society’s 50th anniversary year but while pedigree breeders may be in celebratory mood it’s the exceptionally strong demand for Charolais store cattle in recent months that’s expected to produce stiff competition for crossing bulls among suckled calf producers.


But while EBV figures will continue to factor in a growing number of bull buyers’ selections, the challenge will be choosing bulls that demonstrate the breed’s reputation for high growth rate along with the “safety factor” of a good Calving Ease figure.


Dig deep enough into the catalogue ahead of the sale and those bulls are there. Achieving a Terminal Sire index of over +60 and a Calving Ease of over +10 is achievable and the bulls are available – but the “curve bender” sires are bound to be the ones that quickly ratchet up the bidding next week.


Banffshire breeders John and Raymond Irvine were in the limelight when they took the championship at the Stars of the Future event at Forfar last November with their Charolais bull Inverlochy Fencer. By the 30,000gns Balmyle Bollinger – the Dingle Hofmeister son that sired the breed’s 70,000gns record breaker – he has a Terminal Sire Index of +44 and a Calving Ease figure of +10.5. Fencer looks like one to watch.


Hofmeister comes through strongly in entries from Carlisle-based breeder Peter Vasey who offers a Terminal Sire Index of +45 and Calving Ease figure of +8.2 with the Hofmeister son Edenhurst Faberge while Robert and Kay Adam’s Newhouse entries by the 10,000gns Balmyle Churchill boast EBV figures bound to command attention.


And there’s no shortage of aspirational vendors parading Bollinger sons, among them Fifeshire’s Andrew Stevenson with Bonerbo Fire  – a bull with a Terminal Sire Index of +44 and Calving Ease figure of +13.2.


Neil Massie’s string includes Blelack Fantastic, the first son of the 15,000gns Goldies Dynamite and out of a cow by the 25,000gns Thrunton Socrates. Fantastic has a Terminal Sire Index of +82 and a Calving Ease figure of +1.7 Major Walter’s Balthayock bulls by Balmyle Churchill and Balthayock Adonis will certainly find favour among those demanding high ranking performance data.


And it’s a case of “back to the future” for those who remember the furore caused by the introduction of polled genetics into the Charolais breed almost 30 years ago. Now the poll-factor is back with bulls on offer next week by the French sire Unico from Charlie Boden’s Sportsmans herd and Danny Wyllie at Newroddige.


Lancashire Simmental breeder Michael Barlow returns with another string of bulls by Ashland Tornado – the bull that sired his 17,000gns top priced Denzies Amazon at this fixture last year. And Michael Durno of Ballindalloch is hoping for more good fortune with sons of Saltire Talent who sired the 20,000gns Auchorachan Wizard at this sale two years ago.


Back in 2009 Dressogue Victorious was the first bull to be sold by Co Tyrone breeder Seamus O’Kane. He made 14,000gns and stood reserve champion. Next week Seamus will lead his sole entry Dressogue Barney into the ring – a full brother to Victorious and with a terminal Sire Index of +65.


Farm manager Adrian Ivory brings the first sons of Victorious to next week’s sale from the Strathisla herd backed up by some good Breedplan figures.


Skerrington Vanguard, the Corskie Proton son bought for 10,000gns in 2008, has bred well for Finlay McGowan at Dirnanean. Vanguard sons with EBV figures bolstered by strong maternal traits from Dirnanean will be worth checking out.


Lachlan Quarm’s only entry is Annick Brandy which stood reserve junior male champion at the Scottish National Simmental Show and is one of the first sons to be offered by the successful show winning bull Annick Valentino who is by Sterling Nelson.


Willie Robson and Sons bring a strong team from their Kilbride Farm herd at Ballyclare including the Seaview Prince Charming son Kilbride Farm Benone. Reckoned to be one of the heaviest and fastest growing bulls ever bred in the herd, his terminal Sire Index of +88, Calving Ease figure of +2.4 and Self-Replacing Index of +90 gives him a top 5% breed ranking. He achieved 858kg at 400 days and is out of a powerful cow by Dovefields Gallant. Who said size doesn’t count?


(United Auctions)