Own replacement trend big boost for S Devons
By Jeremy Hunt
SOUTH Devon breeders benefited from the trend among suckler herd owners to breed their own replacements when the society staged its spring show and sale at Exeter last week.
With prices up to 5000gns, and all but one bull sold to average £2048, the event was the best anyone could remember.
A big crowd, many drawn from the north of England and Scotland, created an expectant atmosphere as the first of the 24 bulls – the largest entry for nearly a decade – came under the hammer.
And post-sale analysis proved that the breeds reputation is spreading far beyond the West Country.
"Half the bulls sold went to buyers out of the south-west and a third went north as far as Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Scotland," said breed society secretary Mrs Lesley Lewin.
"Its a very pleasing trend, particularly the high percentage of bulls sold to buyers running commercial suckler herds," she added.
South Devon breeders have diligently supported performance recording and sires well up on figures were among the most favoured.
Leading breeder Douglas Scott achieved the days highest price of 5000gns with his Grove Brutus 31st, bred in his herd at Moreton-in-Marsh, Glos.
By Woodbastwick Kestrel and with a Beef Value of 45 – the second highest in the catalogue – he created a flurry of bids. His half-brother, Grove Brutus 17th, is one of the highest EBV bulls in the breed.
Brutus 31st heads for Scotland to Douganhill Farms, Castle Douglas which have used South Devon bulls in the past and are now returning to a policy of breeding their own replacements and will use their new purchase on Limousin cross cows.
Peter Rowes noted Trewint herd from Liskeard, Cornwall produced the second highest price of 4200gns with the bull Trewint Jubilee Junior 3rd.
This Apr 1995-bred bull by Trewint Jubilee 11th had been running out all winter. He stood reserve male champion and went to an un-named pedigree buyer from East Anglia.
One of the most significant purchasers was Richard Fuller of Driffield-based JSR Farming, partnered by Robert Roe.
Well known for the companys large suckler enterprise and pedigree Charolais herd, they secured three bulls paying their highest price of 3300gns for the three-year-old Marconi Buster 1st from Charles Phillips herd at Cirencester. This bull was the top ranking "Promising Young Bull" recorded with Signet in 1995.
JSR Farming went on to pay 2850gns for Waddeton Brut 2nd, an ET SDE Buttercup Brutus 3rd son, from society chairman Gordon Tullys herd at Brixham, Devon.
Completing the trio heading for Yorkshire was Chapple Tetrach 1st, a Juniper Tetrach son from first-time Devonshire vendors Mr and Mrs Chris Smallwood. The bull, which made 1500gns, had been out-wintered at 900ft on their farm on the edge of Dartmoor.
The days only two poll bulls offered created very strong interest. Best price was 3600gns given for local vendor David Huxtables AI Z Countisbury Cracker 2nd, a bull whose polling pedigree goes back three generations. Buyer was former society president Henry Laity for his Polkinghorne herd in Cornwall.
The other poll bull, Mr and Mrs Goodes Bedford Prime 11th, was from their 75-cow herd at Holsworthy, Devon. Sired by Paper Mill Prime 2nd, he went to Derbyshire buyer Mr Fenton, Ashbourne.
Show judge, Robert Shinner, Buckfastleigh, selected Richard Harveys Sexton Centurion 3rd for champion. By Stretchford Centurion he made 2600gns to Geoff Hill for his Hams Barton herd near Tavistock.
Three maiden heifers shared the top female price of 900gns. Mr and Mrs Clive Mitchells Landare herd sold two at this money to Mr Burr and David Huxtable.
Averages: 24 bulls £2048 and five heifers £777. (Bruton Knowles)
Highest priced bull, at 5000gns, Grove Brutus 31st.