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Belgian Blue Cattle Sale Warms Up Chelford
06/03/06

A chilly Chelford sees the sale of livestock’s hottest prospects as the Champion crossbred makes 3,000gns.

Sub-zero temperatures and snow falls did nothing to deter showmen and cattle breeders from all corners of the UK travelling to the Cheshire Centre’s 43rd National Show and Sale of Pedigree and Crossbred Belgian Blue cattle on Saturday 4th March 2006.

Supreme Champion Henlli Van Dame - 4400gns
Supreme Champion
Henlli Van Dame - 4400gns

After a degree of uncertainty in the beef sector over the past couple of years, the overwhelming feeling is that a cautious confidence is slowly returning.

An unbelievable trade ensued for the entry of some 134 Belgian Blue Crossbred cattle, and was held right up to the day’s penultimate lot when the Crossbred Champion realised £3,000.

Consigned by Powys breeders A J & J A Powell of the Grovelands herd, this exceptional yearling heifer caught many eyes at the previous evening’s show, none more so than the Judge, respected stockman John Madeley of Ross-on-Wye, who had no hesitation in picking his Champion our of four extremely busy classes.

At sale time, frenetic bidding from several noted showmen eventually came down to a two horse race between ringside and a telephone bidder. Howard Price of Felindre, Swansea had waited all day for the heifer and he wasn’t going home without her.

The ring was packed at the start of the sale and remained full throughout a long day, as trade remained lively all day and few animals left the ring unsold.

Leading the Pedigree Bull section was Croftends Winston, a May 2004-born son of As de Trefle du Vanova, out of the Irmin-sired Clonberton Petrinia. This very stylish black and white bull from Appleby-in-Westmorland breeders Andrew and Jonathan Bellas had stood first in his class at the previous evening’s show. At sale time, Somerset producer Keith Barrow, a regular supplier of quality crossbred cattle from his suckler herd to this sale, beat off fierce competition from breed enthusiasts and fellow suckler producers to take him home at 4,800 guineas.

The Pedigree Judge, Peter Taylor, had awarded the Supreme Championship to Henlli van Dame, a powerful blue and white son of the renowned Philipper, out of the great show cow Ovatie van de Wolvendreef. Having also won the Supreme Championship at the September Show his vendor, and breeder, Geraint Willams from Anglesey had taken him home unsold, but this time saw lively bidding from the off, before he returned to Anglesey with David Owen, Trefor, Holyhead, for 4,400 guineas.

Last year’s Society Premier Breeder, Michele Wilde from Buckinghamshire, saw her class-winning bull Ridge Dean Wesley, a February 2004-born son of Brutal de St Fontaine out of the Park Daimler-sired Ridge Dean MG Midget, make 4,100 guineas to P L Morris, Aylesbury. Local breeders Keith and Janet Belfield put forward an excellent pen of strong bulls, their leading price being 3,500 guineas for the powerful May 2003-born Affute du Ry Ossogne son Boothlow Valliant, taken by Buxton-based suckler breeder Steven Buckley.

Powerful bulls, fit to work immediately, met strong demand throughout, with enthusiasm evident from a wide range of both dairy and suckler producers from throughout the UK, all no doubt anticipating increased demand for quality Belgian Blue Cross cattle once the export market is fully reopened.

The Society has reported a huge increase in membership registrations in recent years, and a large number of newer members were prominent in the bidding for Pedigree Females, trade for which reflected the huge confidence in the breed’s ability to meet the anticipated demands of the forthcoming improved beef market.

It was the younger heifers, and breed stars of the future, which caught the eye, and leading the trade at 4,100 guineas was the outstanding June 2005-born heifer Lukeroyal Azure from Northern Ireland breeders Mel and Diane Lucas. When this blue and white roan Bringlee Talbot daughter, out of a show-winning Philipper-sired cow, entered the ring there was a palpable buzz, and fast bidding resulted in her being knocked down to Cragg Vale, Halifax breeder Alan Wheelwright.

John and Janet Green’s long, and snowy, trip from near Aberdeen proved worthwhile when their February 2005-born Oxcroft Astra, an ET daughter of the show-winning Oxcroft Lionheart out of the Octane-sired Oxcroft Nymph, made 3,200 guineas to Mike Scott, Newark. Fellow Scottish-based breeders Messrs Ryder, from Moffat, also showed a smart pen of young heifers, their leading bid of 3,000 guineas coming for Annanwater Wallflower, a September 2004-born daughter of Danseur d’Embise out of the President-sired Springfield Tinga, in turn a daughter of the great Ovatie. Having stood first in the Junior Heifer class, she went home with J C Walker and Son, Clitheroe, Lancashire.

The Female Championship had been awarded to one of a small number of Pedigree Cows with calves at foot, shown by Shropshire breeder Graham Brindley.

Bringlee Orange, a January 1997-born daughter of Bringlee Freeman out of the Clown du Tilleul-sired Fenton Inca, was sold with her September-born bull calf by Cajoleur de Rettigny at foot, and made 3,600 guineas to J H & S M Mason, Clapham, Lancaster.

Chelford reaffirmed its position as the leading Auction Centre in England and Wales for show potential Belgian Blue Crossbreds with vendors braving the winter conditions, travelling from as far afield as Devon, Somerset and South Wales, to sell at this prestigious event, now in its 22nd year.

A packed ringside of prospective purchasers, not just showmen but premium quality beef finishers, ensured 100% clearance at rates generally more than vendors’ expectations.

Whilst the top call of £3,000 was paid for the Supreme Champion Crossbred, it was preceded by no less than 12 cattle over £1,000. A nine month old steer from the Dinmore Manor Estate of Paul Dawes took the second highest price at £1,900, closely followed by a bid of £1,700 for the Reserve Champion, another nine month old steer, this time from the Penygelly herd of B L & J E Griffiths, Newtown, Powys. The purchaser was Mr I G Townson of Clitheroe, Lancashire. Messrs Davies Brothers from Llangadog, Carmarthenshire have been selling at this sale since its inception and were rewarded with no less than four of their 20-strong consignment past the magical four figure mark.

Auctioneer Jonathan Farrall commented “Increased confidence in the beef sector, due in no small part to successful Christmas Primestock Sales and an encouraging return by many finishers to liveweight sales, has widened the gap between the quality price ranges. Premium quality store cattle are still in reasonably short supply but the demand has increased as finishers try to provide the consumer with a top class product”.

Averages:

82 Pedigree Bulls £2,300.00
34 Pedigree Females £1,833.94
  4 Pedigree Cows with Calves £2,052.50
53 Crossbred Steers £ 701.32
68 Crossbred Heifers £ 741.47
11 Pedigree Embryos £ 251 .05

link Lots of Bull Promised at 10th Annual Belgian Blue Sale
link Best Belgian Blues attract breeders to Chelford
Alliance Strengthens Belgian Blue Beef Breed in the US

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