NI Simmental Cattle Breeders’ Club chairman Conrad Fegan, and father Val, from Rostrevor, County Down, realised 10,000gns for a bull at the breed society’s premier spring sale, hosted by United Auctions at Stirling.
The May 2019 entry Knockreagh Kilroy ET TPI+74 SRI+81 was sired by the 2014 and 2015 Balmoral Show champion Dermotstown Delboy. His dam Omorga Dorcus is a daughter of the 21,000gns Corrick Kentucky Kid, while his maternal granddam is the prolific brood cow Cleenagh Daffodil.
This senior bull caught the eye of William Barneston and Sons from Lyneger Farm, based at Wick, Caithness.
The Fegan duo manage a herd of eight pedigree cows, and were delighted to beat their previous herd record of 8000gns set at Stirling in 2013.
The Robson family from Doagh also made the trip across the Irish Sea with two bulls from their noted Kilbride Farm herd, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Their best at 6500gns was the July 2019 Kilbride Farm Kanye TPI+95 SRI+95, which sold to James Moir from Keith, Banffshire. Sired by the Raceview King son Crugmelyn Brenin, he was bred from the Seaview Prince Charming daughter Kilbride Farm Dora 66E.
Sale topper at 26,000gns was the June 2019 Pistyll Kingsman bred by Messrs Francis from Carmarthenshire in Wales. He was sired by Woodhall Ferrari, and bred from Woodhall Evangeline. Buyer was pedigree breeder Richard McCulloch for his Overhill House herd.
United Auctions confirmed an 82 per cent clearance with 64 bulls selling to level at £6,482 – up a staggering £1,443 on last year’s sale.
Northern Ireland breeders have been conspicuous by their absence at the recent autumn and spring sales due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, this trend may be set to continue in the wake of the NI Protocol which was introduced in January. United Auctions reported that 32 NI-bred Simmental bulls had been entered for the annual February sale, but that numbers dropped dramatically to just three when breeders became aware of the new rules being dictated by the EU following Brexit.
A spokesman for the NI Simmental Cattle Breeders’ Club – founded 50 years ago this week – said that the NI Protocol regulations were discriminating against pedigree herds across the Province.
“The new rules on the import of bovine livestock from GB to NI are of huge concern, and if allowed to continue will have fatal consequences for many family farm businesses.
“We are particularly anxious about the rules involving the re-importation of NI-bred animals which have attended shows and sales in GB. It is ridiculous that NI-bred animals returning to their farm of origin are now facing a six-month standstill prior to re-importation.
This could cost breeders upwards of £2,000 per animal. Breeders simply aren’t willing to risk taking top-quality breeding stock across the water when the option to bring it home again is prohibited by the NI Protocol.”
He added: “Stirling is the main shop window for our progeny, and over the years numerous NI-bred bulls have scooped leading awards and price tags at the Scottish venue. Our members missed out on the buoyant trade at the recent sale, which saw six bulls selling for 10,000gns and over, and 28 achieving prices in excess of 6000gns.
“The rules are impractical, and as a result our club members, who have built up a strong reputation across the water, risk slipping from the spotlight.
“The market for pedigree bulls at home is limited, and breeders need a fair return for the investment they have made in genetics and herd health. Competing on the UK mainland is the only way to maximise profit.”
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