2014-11-10   facebook twitter rss

Upsall Herd Dominates Beef Shorthorn Sale

The Hon Gerald Turton's Upsall Shorthorn herd near Thirsk – the oldest in Britain – made a clean sweep of the top honours and also achieved the leading prices at the fifth annual show and sale staged on behalf of the North of England Beef Shorthorn Club. (Wed, Nov 5)

Tessa X902 of Upsall, the first prize 2013-born junior heifer shown by herdsman Ian Park, then went on to clinch the female championship for Mr Turton, who runs his famed herd, first established in 1909, from The Grange in Upsall. He was also Skipton supreme champion in 2012.

The Hon Gerald Turton, left, receives the Skipton Beef Shorthorn female champion heifer trophy from judge Willie McLaren, joined by the victor and stockman Ian Park.

The Hon Gerald Turton, left, receives the Skipton Beef Shorthorn female champion heifer trophy from judge Willie McLaren, joined by the victor and stockman Ian Park.

His latest title winner, a roan April-born daughter of the AI sire, Trojan of Craigeassie, a triple Interbreed champion, is out of Tessa X505, who is from a top-notch family and also bred Tessa X683, which sold for a price-topping 4,000gns at the 2011 Skipton sale.

Scanned in-calf to Festival of Upsall, the 2014 victor was the subject of keen interest at the ringside, before falling for 5,200gns, top price in show and a new breed centre record for a female, to Highland Wagyu, from Burnside of Balhaldie, near Dunblane in Perthshire.

Established by husband and wife, Mohsin Altajir and Martine Chapman in 2011, the pedigree beef company breeds premium Japanese Wagyu, Beef Shorthorn, Aberdeen Angus, Highland and Dexter cattle on its 25,000-acre estate farm.

Mr Turton, who has himself been breeding Shorthorns since around 1960, was also responsible for another red rosette-winning 2013-born junior heifer, Nonpareil X942 of Upsall, which also became reserve female champion.

The dark roan June maiden heifer, by one of the herd’s own stock bulls, Elijah of Upsall, out of Nonpareil X731, another renowned breeding line that itself goes back some 40 years, sold for the day’s second top call of 4,500gns to Calderdale’s Tim Riley, of Stoney Royd Farm, Midgley, Hebden Bridge.

The Upsall herd, which this year won the northern region club’s silver salver for the best calves, also produced the second prized junior heifer, Marigold X947 of Upsall, by the noted Atilla of Upsall, out of a Vortrekker cow. This joined the champion at Highland Waghu when sold for 3,500gns.

With 100% clearance of females, the senior heifer class was also well supported, with first prize honours falling to the Highlee pedigree herd of Calderdale breeder Tracy Severn, of Brick Green Farm, Barkisland, Halifax, with her June, 2012-born red with a little white Highlee Duchess Fantasia, by Vulcan of Upsall, which had performed well since being acquired from the Turton holding some seven years earlier.

She is the first daughter of Sandwick Duchess, bred by the Ivinsons in Penrith and a former Great Yorkshire Show champion, to be sold by Mrs Severn. Carrying a service to Podehole Elite, Fantasia joined AC Farms in Oakham, Rutland, for 2,900gns. The same vendor also sold her third prize junior heifer, by Astrix of Upsall, for 2,000gns to Welsh breeder G Williams & Son, of Cefyn Melyn, Cilcain, near Mold in Flintshire.

The same price was also achieved for two further females from the Albion herd of Paul Braithwaite in Stokesley and the Lancashire-based Pikelowe herd of Andrew Thompson in Higher Wheelton.

Bulls proved hard to clear, with both the male champion and reserve from, respectively, Rosanna James, who runs the Sleightholme pedigree herd at Fadmoor, York, and Jim Frame, from the Scottish-based Galla herd in Wiston, Biggar, returning home.

However, a considerable number of buyers had travelled long distances to the sale in search of in-calf and maiden heifers, with many leaving empty handed because of the strong demand. With 36 Beef Shorthorn forward, heifers averaged £1,967 overall, in-calf heifers £1,963 and cows either in-calf or with calves at foot £1,732.

Scottish show judge Willie McLaren, who runs the Netherton pedigree Aberdeen Angus herd at Blackford, south of Perth, said there had been a good show of females. In choosing his principals, he said he had been looking for both length and femininity for breeding purposes and as near two two-years-old as possible.

The show was sponsored by feed firm I’Ansons and Bradford-based Wm Morrisons Supermarkets, whose own Morrisons Farm Rothesay Beef Shorthorn pedigree herd based on the Dumfries House Estate at Cumnock in Ayrshire, was represented at Skipton, picking up for prizes for its junior heifers, which sold to joint highs of 1,400gns.

Morrisons is now saying it needs more Shorthorn-sired cattle for its Traditional Beef Scheme – the supermarket pays a 30p/kg premium.

Beef Shorthorn Society secretary Frank Milnes commented: “Launched exactly three years ago, the scheme has provided a welcome boost for the breed in help to increase the value of steers, which are now achieving significant premiums in the ring from finishers who are confident they have the genetic potential to meet both the spec and, ultimately, Morrisons’ growing demand. It is now up to Beef Shorthorn suckler producers to respond to that interest.”

Skipton Auction Mart’s general manager Jeremy Eaton said: “Breeders of both traditional and native breed cattle have certainly benefited through the addition of the Morrisons’ scheme to existing ones.

“It fits in well in upland areas with conservation and stewardship grazing and also the viability of the beef industry, which continues to lose beef breeding cows from the national herd. These types of animals are easily managed and convert forage efficiently, with high growth rates. Equally important are the premium schemes now offered, which makes them a serious choice for specialist beef producers.”

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