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Balthayock is a family run stock farm situated four miles east of Perth in the beautiful heart of Scotland.
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We had a successful day at the October bull sale with all our bulls finding new homes. It was particularly pleasing that two of them went to pedigree herds and we will look forward to seeing their progeny in the show and sale ring in the future. Johnny Irvine bought Balthayock Maestro a class winner and full brother of last year’s October junior champion Balthayock Loyalist, and Dan Harman bought the high figured Balthayock Musketeer for his Chesham herd. We wish all our buyers the best of luck with their investment in the Balthayock bulls.
Time flies and already the next team of bulls has been entered for the Stirling February sale. I think they are a strong team with the emphasis on easy calving combined with high growth rate EBVs. The notes below will be included in the catalogue and nearer the sale Catherine McGregor as usual will take their photographs for this web page.
Feb 2018 - Stirling Bull Sales Entries
Balthayock Marquis. Catalogue Number 399.
Sire Balthayock Impression. Dam Balthayock Firefly.
Impression is the highest ranked bull for terminal and replacement index in the national herd and is proving to be very easy calving. He is a very modern bull of average size but with great length with outstanding figures for calving ease, growth, milk, scrotal circumference, eye muscle and fat cover. He has an exceptionally good temperament.
Firefly is an embryo daughter of the 26,000 guinea Balbithan Vespasian who has bred so well for Blelack and Balthayock and out of the famous Balthayock Rosita by Dingle Hofmeister. Marquis carries the best of Balthayock bloodlines.
Balthayock Mikado. Catalogue Number 401.
Sire Balthayock Imp. Dam Balthayock Heaven.
A top 1% bull with an exceptional EBV for growth combined with easy calving. Balthayock Imp was male champion and junior interbreed champion at the RHS in 2015. We are very pleased with his first crop of calves which have inherited all his good looks and breed character. Balthayock Heaven by Swalesmoor Cracker out of the 26,000 guinea Balbithan Vespasian goes back to the famous Balthayock Unwary dam of Balthayock Impression.
Balthayock Marauder. Catalogue Number 407.
Sire Balthayock Ferdinand ET. Dam Balthayock Heather.
Balthayock Ferdinand won many show championships in his day and sired our top priced bull so far, Balthayock Justice sold to the late Gilbert Crawford for 50,000 guineas. Ferdinand is a gentle giant and breeding exceptionally well with top class sons and daughters. Heather is a daughter of Ugie Echo a reserve junior champion at Stirling in his day and the sire of many bulls sold for high prices. His last son sold to the Marwood herd in October for 16,000 guineas.
Balthayock Maxim. Catalogue Number 410.
Sire Maerdy Grenadier. Dam Balthayock Felicity.
Maerdy Grenadier was male and junior interbreed champion at the RHS in 2012 and sired the female champion at the RHS in 2017. He topped the averages of sires with three or more bulls sold at Stirling last October at £7602 to a top of 12,000 guineas. He was judged the best stock bull in a large herd at the last Scottish and Northern inter-herd competition. Felicity by the 26,000 guinea Balbithan Vespasian has bred sons to £10,000. Her dam Balthayock Britannia is still going strong with 10 live calves to her credit.
Balthayock Mandate. Catologue Number 412.
Sire Maerdy Grenadier. Dam Balthayock Gold.
Mandate is a very powerful son of Maerdy Grenadier who was male champion and junior interbreed champion at the RHS in 2012, and sired the female champion at the RHS in 2017. He topped the average of sires with three or more bulls sold in October at Stirling at £7602 to a top of 12,000 guineas. He was judged the best stock bull in a large herd at the last Scottish and Northern inter-herd competition. Gold is a daughter of Swalesmoor Cracker one of our most successful herd sires and a leader in seven different traits in his EBVs including short gestation, 200, 400 and 600 day weights, milk and retail yield.
Balthayock Minstrel. Catalogue Number 420.
Sire Balthayock Ferdinand ET. Dam Balthayock Gem.
Balthayock Ferdinand won many show championships in his day and has sired our most expensive bull to date, Balthayock Justice sold to the late Gilbert Crawford for 50,000 guineas. Ferdinand is a gentle giant and breeding exceptionally well with top class sons and daughters. Minstrel is in the top 5% of the national herd. His dam Gem by the very easy calving Barbican Lancer who joined the Balthayock herd in 1977 and whom we have used ever since on heifers, was the dam of Balthayock Lisa, the reserve female champion at the RHS in 2017.
Balthayock Manifesto. Catalogue Number 421.
Sire Balthayock Imp. Dam Balthayock Finesse.
Manifesto is in the top 5% of the national herd with a very high EBV for weight gain and eye muscle area but still positive for ease of calving. His sire Balthayock Imp was male champion and junior interbreed champion at the RHS in 2015. We are very pleased with his first crop of calves who have inherited all his good looks and breed character. Balthayock Finesse by Swalesmoor Cracker out of the famous Balthayock Rosita is full of the best and most successful Balthayock bloodlines. She has already bred bulls up to 9,000 guineas.
Balthayock Morgan. Catalogue Number 432
Sire Ugie Echo. Dam Balthayock Ira.
Echo was reserve junior champion at Stirling in February 2010 and champion at the Perth show. He has proved to be exceptionally easy calving and has a great temperament. He has sired many high priced bulls including Balthayock Lineup bought at Stirling by the Blyths last October for their Marwood herd for 16,000 guineas.
Ira is by the very easy calving Barbican Lancer who we have been using through AI since 1978.
Balthayock Marvin. Catalogue number 452.
Sire Maerdy Grenadier. Dam Balthayock Diana.
Grenadier was male and junior interbreed champion at the RHS in 2012 and sired the female champion in 2017. At the Stirling October sale in 2017 his sons topped the bull averages at £7602 to a top of 12,000 guineas. He was judged the best stock bull in a large herd in the last Scottish and Northern inter-herd competition.
Diana by the very easy calving bull Barbican Lancer who we have been using through AI since 1978, is out of a Dingle Hofmeister daughter going back to Balthayock Gelatin, one of our most successful breeding cows.
'The Balthayock Team for the October bull sale at Stirling on 24th October 2017
Lot No. 661. Class 2.
A well-muscled son of Maerdy Grenadier who was male and junior interbreed champion at the Highland Show in 2013.Since then he has bred the junior champion at the Stirling October sale in 2016, and this year’s female champion at the Highland Show. Magnum’s dam Balthayock Deborah, is a daughter of Balbithan Vespasian who we shared with Blelack and was bought for 26,000 guineas. He has bred very well in both herds and his relatives featured prominently in the recent Balbithan dispersal. We have retained all Deborah’s daughters in the herd.
Lot No. 712. Class 6.
A bull in the top 5% of the national herd. He is the first son of Balthayock Imp which we have offered for sale. Imp was male champion and junior inter-breed champion at the Highland Show in 2015. Majestic’s dam Balthayock Harmony is a daughter of Swalesmoor Cracker who has been one of our most successful herd sires with sons sold to a top of 22,000 guineas. We have kept one of Cracker’s sons, Balthayock Impression for our own use and I believe he is now the highest rated bull in the national herd and he has proved his easy calving EBV particularly on heifers. Imp despite his size and now with forty calves on the ground, has also proved that he is an easy calving herd sire.
Lot No. 715. Class 7
A twin son of Maerdy Grenadier out of Balthayock Hosanna. She has had three sets of twins since 2015. Her dam Balthayock Decima has bred bulls sold for up to £15,000. Grenadier, male champion and junior interbreed champion at the Highland Show in 2013 has already bred a junior champion at last year’s Stirling sale in October and this year’s female champion at the 2017 Highland Show.
Lot No. 723. Class 8.
A son of Balthayock Impression who I believe is the highest rated bull in the national herd, has proved to be a very easy calving bull with forty calves now on the ground. He was junior champion Charolais bull and junior interbreed champion at the Perth Show in 2014 on his only show outing. Sons have been sold for up to £15,000. His dam Balthayock Emily has bred three bulls, two of whom have been sold privately, and another Balthayock Johnathan who won his class at the Stirling February sale in 2016, and was sold for 14,000 guineas.
Lot No. 731. Class 8.
Another well fleshed son of Maerdy Grenadier. (See notes on Lot Nos 661 and 715.) Maestro is a full brother of Balthayock Loyalist, the October 2016 Stirling junior champion who was sold for 14,000 guineas .Maestro’s dam, Balthayock Glory by the 26,000 guinea Balbithan Vespasian, is a daughter of the famous Rosita presently enjoying a well-earned retirement at Balthayock at the age of seventeen and with fifteen calves to her credit.
Lot No. 749. Class 10.
An impressive young son of Balthayock Imp, (See Note on Lot No 712.) He is the grandson of the much admired Blelack Forester, senior champion at Stirling in February 2012 and bought in partnership with Balmyle and Newhouse for 22,000 guineas. Maximum’s dam, Balthayock Emma has bred three bulls to a top of 13,000 guineas achieved when Peter Donger bought Balthayock Jonathan for his Seawell herd. Emma’s only heifer calf Balthayock Harriet who we have retained, is breeding particularly well. Her first calf was a bull sold last February at Stirling for 8,500 guineas, and she has another very promising bull calf by Maerdy Grenadier, Balthayock Moonbeam, who we will bring to the February Stirling sale in 2018.
Entries for October Bull Sales 2017
After a slow start in the spring the summer has turned out to be a great year for growing grass but a very difficult harvest has at last been completed with the last of the oats safely through the dryer and the winter barley sown and through the ground. Good yields all round but we may be short of bedding straw unless the weather relents and we get a few days of sunshine and a drying winds. Now the October sale is just round the corner and I am pleased with the team we plan to take to the sale. We have sold three bulls privately recently but none of them were planned for the October sale. Jeremy Price has bought a son of Balthayock Impression, Balthayock Marksman, a young bull with EBVs of 76/80, so he will set me a challenge to try and top the list of the Charolais Society’s list of promising young bulls when his progeny start appearing! Another son has gone to Laurie Dorien in Eire who has been for many years one of our most loyal supporters, and a son of Merdier Grenadier has gone to the Macaulays at Thornhill.
We are bringing three sons of Maerdy Grenadier to Stirling - Magnus, Mungo and Maestro. Grenadier was male and junior interbreed champion at the RHS in 2013 and since then has bred this year’s RHS female champion (bred by Jim Muirhead). Included among his sons we are entering for Stirling is Balthayock Maestro, a full brother to Balthayock Loyalist who won the Stirling junior championship last October.
Majestic, a bull in the top 1% of the National Herd, and Maximum, are two very promising sons of Balthayock Imp and the first to be offered for sale. Imp was the RHS male champion and junior Interbreed champion in 2015, and with over forty calves now on the ground, has proved to be a very easy calving bull.
Our last two bulls are sired by Balthayock Impression who I believe is the highest rated bull in the National Herd. Musketeer is out of Balthayock Emily. She is by Balthayock Valentine who we used here on heifers for many years because of his easy calving EBV. Emily has two sons still on the farm. Meteor, a Barbican Lancer son we will probably keep to use on heifers and Napoleon who was the top bull in September in the Charolais Societies list of promising young bulls. Both these two bulls are in the top 1% of the National Herd. The two Impression sons sold privately have averaged five figures. Impression now has over forty one calves on the ground and he has proved to be very easy calving and his progeny particularly good natured. We plan to invite Catherine MacGregor as usual to take some photographs of our entries for the sale provided it stops raining!
With the premium for Angus sired cattle beginning to fall as supply meets demand, this is surely the moment to invest in a top quality Charolais bull with an easy calving EBV and outstanding genetic ability for live weight gain. There is nothing to beat a good Charolais and maybe the only way in the future to make a real profit from a suckler herd.
2017. The first six months.
With all the spring sales now behind us we have sold privately or at auction all our young bulls from the 2015 crop. Our top price at the Stirling February sale was for Balthayock Lineup, a very promising son of Ugie Echo out of The Highland Show winner Balthayock Fortune. He went for 16,000 guineas to the Blyth’s Marwood Herd near Hartlepool. Bull prices have reflected to some extent all the uncertainties in farming with the Brexit talks just about to start, but store sales have been a strong trade everywhere. We sold eighty steers and surplus heifers at Stirling in early April and they averaged £1156 weighing an average of 466 kilos. Some sold to our usual buyers but there was strong competition for them from feeders from Yorkshire. After some of the driest months this spring that I can remember, the heavens have opened, the grass and crops have grown at an astonishing speed and silage making is underway. We have turned the bulls out to run with the commercial cows and the bulls which we will run with the pedigree herd will go out after the Highland Show. We have sold the young bull we planned to take to the Highland so our young heifers will fly the flag for Balthayock next week and show the standard of cattle that we are now breeding. On the pedigree herd we will be using Balthayock Ferdinand, Influence, Imp, Impression, Ugie Echo, Maerdy Grenadier and his son Balthayock Loyalist who has grown into a very handsome bull. We bought a very easy calving son of Wesley Equinox from Alasdair Houston at Carlisle in the spring. Gretnahouse Lunar with calving EBV of plus 18.5, will be used on some of our heifers and should help us to breed the bulls that are in demand these days with easy calving EBVs but also with well above average weights at 200 and 400 days. With Balthayock Longbow, a son of Dingle Hofmeister in his pedigree, we are very confident that he will breed as well as his figures suggest. He has a Swedish polled bull in his pedigree but we do not plan to go down that route.
The big bull shed is full already with thirty eight young bulls ready to start their training and when the herd sires are out working next week, we will have room in their shed for a few more. It is going to be another very busy summer! We had a very enjoyable visit from a group of Nuffield Scholars on Wednesday. I hope they enjoyed it as much as we did and it was a good opportunity to talk about the future of farming in a wider prospective and we had a lively discussion at the end. As always I argued the case for using high figured Charolais bulls as the terminal sire of choice. No other breed can put on the same amount of weight so quickly with the same food conversion efficiency so if you want to make money from your suckler herd, the choice of herd sire has to be an accurately recorded high figured Charolais bull.
Davie and Hector with our first ever set of Charolais triplets!
2016 and Beyond.
The October bull sale in Stirling was a very successful day for our Balthayock bulls. Winning the Junior Championship with Balthayock Loyalist, a very promising son of Maerdy Grenadier was the highlight, and he went to the Newhouse herd for 14,000 guineas.
We also sold Balthayock Legend at 11,500 guineas to the Hepburns at Hawick, and Balthayock Lachlan at 7500 guineas to the Clarkes at Lesmahagow.
With all the bulls we brought to the sale finding new homes and sold to average just over £9,000 in what was for many quite a sticky sale, we were very pleased with our trade thanks in no small part to all the hard work in feeding and preparing the bulls by Davie and Tracey Nicoll backed up on sale day by the ‘B’ team, as Tracey calls all our very willing team of helpers.
So that ends an interesting year dominated by cash flow problems experienced by all farmers due entirely to the unforgiveable incompetence of our Scottish Government in their failure to manage and distribute our single farm payments on time. This put a totally unnecessary strain on farmer’s cash flows which for some still continues.
After an unusually mild winter all livestock are looking well and despite the rise in prices of fuel, sprays, feed, fertiliser and imported machinery, there is a feeling of a little more confidence returning about the likely outcome of the Brexit negotiations. Let us hope it is not misplaced and that the organisations that are meant to support our industry such as the SNFU, the NBA, and QMS are collectively wise in the advice they give to the Westminster and Scottish Governments on the best means of supporting agriculture in the post Brexit world. Maybe if they argue for the introduction of a deficiency payment scheme which served us so well in the old days, it would be a good place to start. In the meanwhile QMS might do something to improve our exports rather than just talk about last week’s prices. If Simon Coveney, a relatively young Irish politician with a head wiser than many twice his age, can get Southern Irish beef exports into the USA, China, Vietnam and recently back into Egypt without the blessing of the EU, it is surely time that QMS funded mostly by us farmers, did the same without waiting for a green light from the EU. Like our first Minister has asked, I hope she and they will all be judged by what they achieve rather than what they say and if that proves to be the case, there is hope we will all be much better off in the future.
I support a UK wide agricultural policy rather than a purely Scottish one. Both sides of the Border have similar problems and the hill and upland areas of England are very similar to our own. The RPA in England has not distinguished itself but nor has our own government by the incompetence it has shown in the management of agriculture, education, the police, our roads and the national health service north of the border. One system for the whole of the UK seems a better choice.
The Stirling Bull Sales 2017
With seven different sires used on our team for the February 2017 sale in Stirling it is perhaps not surprising that there is a variation in the size and shape of our bulls this spring. Despite this they share the common advantages of easy calving without losing the vital growth EBV which makes the Charolais bulls excel over all other breeds as a terminal sire.
Balthayock Leander. Lot No. 306.
Sons of Hofmeister have found success throughout the national herd. Leander was a twin with a heifer. Though not the biggest bull by any means, he combines short gestation, easy calving, low birth weight, and exceptional eye muscle area EBVs in his genetic makeup and is rated in the top 1% of the national herd.
Balthayock Luke. Lot No. 330.
A son of the Adonis sired Balthayock Grandee who we have used successfully on our commercial herd of cross Simmentals for the last five years. He proved to be easy calving and good natured. We have so much confidence on his easy calving genetics that we have used him to chase up some of our pedigree heifers after AI. His dam is a daughter of Ugie Echo, reserve junior champion at Stirling in October 2010, who we bought from Jimmy Wilson because of his marvellous feet, exceptional scrotal circumference, temperament and very easy calving EBV and we have used him extensively on our heifers and have sold many sons at prices in the mid-teens.
Balthayock Lookout. Lot No. 345.
A heifer’s calf by Ugie Echo who has been such a success for us at Balthayock and has for the last seven years, been our first choice bull to use on our pedigree heifers. With Balthayock Aesop and Balthayock Valentine in his dam’s pedigree, both of whom we used on heifers in their day, I am confident that his EBVs for easy calving, low birth weight without loss of growth performance, and exceptional EBV for scrotal circumference like his sire, will be of benefit to anyone looking for a safe choice of bull to put on their heifers.
Balthayock Legacy Lot No. 347.
If this bull was human he would be a strong candidate for a place in the front row of the Scottish rugby team. But despite his impressive shape both his sire and particularly his grandsire on his dam’s side Barbican Lancer, who was born in1972, has proved to be a particularly easy calving bull which we still use on heifers. Legacy is full of easy calving genetics along with well above average growth and milk on the female side of his pedigree.
Balthayock Langsyne. Lot No. 351.
A son of Blelack Forester, the 22,000 guinea Stirling senior champion in February 2012 who we share with Balmyle and Newhouse, Langsyne is out of a Barbican Lancer daughter who sons have sold for up to 7,000 guineas. Forester was a very big bull but Langsyne seems to have inherited more of his mother’s genes for size but I am sure he will be easy calving and very good natured like both his sire and dam.
Balthayock Lance. Lot No. 362.
Lance will grow into an enormous bull and is a real gentle giant. Sired by Maerdy Grenadier, the Highland Show male champion and junior interbreed in 2013, he has made such an impact both with us and with Jim Muirhead at Firhills. He also won the prize for the best herd sire in Scotland two years ago. Lance has the best of pedigree with the 34,000 guinea Stirling supreme champion Goldies Uppermost, the 30,000 guinea Dingle Hofmeister and the famous Balthayock Rosita, who has bred so many high priced bulls for us, featuring prominently in his pedigree. He deserves a place in a pedigree herd especially somewhere where a little more size in the females would be an advantage. Lance was a twin and because he had a leg back at birth, he had to be given some slight assistance although his twin brother who was born first calved unaided. Lance has been penalised rather unfairly I think with a slightly negative calving EBV although his twin has a positive calving ease EBV. We have found Grenadier to be an easy calving bull and to prove the point, Jim has used him successfully on all his heifers.
Balthayock Lineup. Lot No. 418.
A Ugie Echo son out of Balthayock Fortune , a first prize winner at the Royal Highland Show, she is a daughter of the 26,000 guinea Balbithan Vespasian who has bred so well with us and at Blelack. With easy calving EBV throughout his pedigree, Lineup has the potential to be the perfect answer to someone looking for a bull to put on their heifers. At 400 days his corrected weight was 741 kg with a daily live weight gain of 1.73 Kg since birth. He is that rare combination of easy calving without losing growth performance.
Balthayock Lightning. Lot No. 420.
We have used Balthayock Dante, a son of the 26,000 guinea Balbithan Vespasian, on our commercial cows for the last seven years and he has proved to be an easy calving bull that consistently produces quality cross calves for the spring sale at United Auctions. I am confident that Lightning will follow in his father’s footsteps. Valentine was used for many years on our pedigree heifers and Gelatin was one of our best breeding cows with 20 progeny including seven by embryo transplant. The best known was Balthayock Nougat with over six hundred pedigree calves registered in the herd book.
Balthayock Lanyard. Lot No 433.
Another typical son of Ugie Echo with a good all-round set of EBVs. He has inherited his father’s good nature and excellent feet. With Hofmeister, Lacinia and Fauvette on the dam’s side of his pedigree, he has proven successful bloodlines which have played an important part in the development of the Balthayock pedigree herd.
October Bull Sales 2016 - Balthayock line up..
A strong team from Balthayock for the 2016 October Bull Sale at Stirling
Lot 658 Balthayock Lancer.
This is a bull which might appeal particularly to the breeders of show calves. A very shapey son of Balthayock Grandee who we have used extensively on our commercial herd for the last four years and more recently on pedigree cows as well. He has proved to be very easy calving son of Balthayock Adonis who we still use on as many of our pedigree heifers as possible.
Lot 742 Balthayock Legend.
A typical very easy calving son of Swalesmoor Cracker. He has inherited all his father’s top ranked EBVs for daily live weight gain and eye muscle area and a high EBV for milk which is not surprising with the 28,000 guinea Balbithan Vespasian and Barbican Lancer in his dam’s pedigree. With terminal and replacement EBVs of 75/72 he is in the top 1% of the National Herd.
Lot 756 Balthayock Lachlan.
With almost identical blood lines to Legend (Lot 742), he shares all the same top rated EBVs for easy calving, weight gain, eye muscle area and milk on his dams side. Cracker calves have tended to be 2/3 kilos heavier at birth than sons of Adonis but the extra weight is in their extra length not their breadth. Lachlan’s full sister Juliet is turning out to be one of the stars of our 2014 heifer crop.
Lot 771 Balthayock Lyndoch.
Another Cracker son in the top 1% of the National Herd. Cracker stamps his sons so well that it is sometimes difficult to tell them apart. Lyndoch is out of one of our favourite breeding cows, Balthayock Fantasia, who has Balbithan Vespasian, the 30,000 guinea Dingle Hofmeister and the famous Balthayock Rosita in her pedigree.
Lot 781 Balthayock Loyalist.
Loyalist is out of Balthayock Glory, a full embryo sister of Fantasia the dam of lot 771, but this time his sire is Maerdy Grenadier. Fantasia is an embryo full sister of Balthayock Ferdinand, the sire of the 50,000 guinea Balthayock Justice. Grenadier was male champion at the RHS in 2014 and judged the best herd sire in Scotland in 2015. Shared with Jim Muirhead who has used him on all his herd, heifers included, we have both found him very easy calving despite his size and length. Loyalist will be slightly slower maturing than our Cracker sons but I am confident he will grow on to be an outstanding herd sire with such exceptional proven breeding on both sides of his pedigree. He really deserves a place in a pedigree herd.
Lot 783 Balthayock Lionheart.
Another good example of the consistent quality of the progeny sired by Swalesmoor Cracker. With excellent EBVs for all the important traits he also shares the good looks of his sister Jade who we showed successfully at the RHS in 2016. Apart from good looks, sons of Cracker and Grenadier share the same easy going temperament.
Getting ready for the bull sales is just so exhausting!
Balthayock Herd Sires
Balthayock Ferdinand, a son of Balbithan Vespasian out of the famous Balthayock Rosita. He was a Royal Highland Show class winner in his day. He is the sire of Balthayock Justice sold to Gilbert Crawford in February this year for 50,000 guineas.
Balthayock Imp, a son of Blelack Forester who was the senior champion at a Stirling sale and was bought for 22000 guineas by Balthayock in partnership with Newhouse and Balmyle. His dam is by the 28,000 guinea Balbithan Vespasian. Imp was Male Charolais and Junior Interbreed champion at the Royal Highland show in 2015.
Balthayock Impression, a son of Swalesmoor Cracker and out of Balthayock Unwary. On his only show outing he was Charolais champion and junior interbreed champion at the Perth show in 2014. With Terminal and Replacement sire EBVs of 83 and 89 he is the current highest rated herd sire in the national herd.
Maerdy Grenadier, shared with Jim Muirhead of Firhills, he was male Charolais champion at the Royal Highland Show in 2014. Last year in the inter herd competition run by the Scottish and Northern he was judged the best Herd sire of the year.
All these bulls now have calves on the ground and they look very promising. We are very lucky to have such a fine team of herd sires which have proved their worth in the show ring and now have proved their value as sires of some outstanding young stock.
Summer 2016 Update
The February and May spring bull sales were a success for us at Balthayock with all the bulls forward sold to commercial and pedigree herds. It has been a difficult time for everyone in the cattle business due in part to the disappointing prices being paid for prime stock by the abattoirs as the supermarkets continued to compete with each other for turnover in the price war that has gone on for the last three years and has had such a damaging effect on the profits of their farmer suppliers. More serious however has been the extraordinary incompetence shown by the Scottish Government in their failure to pay farmers their Basic Farm Payments which were due last December but only arrived in farmer’s bank accounts in the middle of the summer. It is no wonder that with cash flow under such pressure the prices paid for commercial bulls in all breeds suffered and demand was limited. We did well to find new homes for all our bulls even if some of the prices were a little disappointing.
Now with Brexit decided on and a much weaker sterling/euro exchange rate, prices for prime cattle have begun to rise and confidence is slowly returning to our industry and for the first time for several years the size of the suckler herd is on the increase. This is all encouraging news and I hope this will result in a good demand for our bulls in the October sales. We will have a strong team of six bulls for Stirling with easy calving EBVs, and outstanding figures for growth. We will commission Catherine MacGregor to photograph them nearer the time of the sale but until then all potential buyers are welcome to inspect them at home and see them and their sires and dams out at grass in their working clothes.
Bulls for February 2016
I hope that you will all agree with me that this is the best string of bulls that we have ever sent to the February bull sale.
They include some really useful bulls which are ideal for commercial herds because of their easy calving and above average growth EBVs.
With the need to breed cattle which fit into the new weight limits imposed on us by the abattoirs, bulls that are the right size but with well above average EBVs for live weight gain are going to be in demand if we are to regain, as I am sure we will, our position as the terminal sire of choice in all commercial herds. Bulls like this are ticking all the boxes in the Balthayock commercial herd of Simmental cross cows.
For the pedigree breeder I would like to draw your attention to the following bulls:-
Lot No 428. Jasper. He is a very good-looking bull as you will see from his photograph with the EBVs you would expect from a son of
Swalesmoor Cracker and out of an outstanding daughter of Dingle Hofmeister. Fauvette, Ranee, and Parish’s Lilly on his dams side were
standout cows in the herd in their day which is not surprising with bulls like Seawell Offshore, Bowerhouses Topper and Tattenhall
Impeccable in their pedigrees.
Lot No 431. Julius is another Cracker son out of a dam by the 28,000 guinea Balbithan Vespasian. He has grown into a very powerful bull and has that extra bit of style about him which pedigree breeders are looking for.
Lot No 448. Jeronimo, a son of the 20,000 guinea Welsh and Highland Show Champion Maerdy Grenadier, has always stood out as a potential herd sire and is the best Grenadier son we have bred to date. He is Tracy’s favourite!
Lot No 493. Jago is very like his sire Ugie Echo but on a bigger scale which is not surprising as his dam is a daughter of Swalesmoor Cracker and the famous Rosita.
Lot No 500 Jonathan, is another Echo son and is growing into a very big and powerful bull and will maintain his sire’s record of easy calving, great feet, scrotal circumference and temperament. Echo remains our bull of choice for use on all our replacement heifers.
Also in the sale:
A recent article in the Farmers Guardian about us in the run up to the sale:
Balthayock Charolais Herd all set for Stirling
Scottish and Northern Charolais Society annual herd competition
At the meeting of the Scottish and Northern Charolais Society prize giving, we won the first prize for the best stock bull with Maerdy Grenadier, and the first prize for the best group of in calf and bulling heifers, both of which awards are good news for the future of the Balthayock Charolais herd.
October Bull Sale 2015
Winning the Junior championship and runner up to the supreme champion was a wonderful day and a well-earned reward for all the hard work by Davie and Tracey to bring out such a good bull looking his best on the day.
When the sale came we were all hopeful that Justice would fetch a good price but when the bidding reached the thirties forties and fifties it was almost too good to be true and far exceeded the previous best price we had ever achieved by a considerable margin. What was particularly rewarding for us was that the two bulls with the highest EBVs in the sale, fetched the two top prices which more than vindicates our belief that breed improvement using Breed Plan, is the way forward and is here to stay.
I am delighted that Justice has gone to such a good homes in Northern Ireland and I am sure that he will make his name in two such high quality herds and that his sons, when the time comes will follow his winning ways.
We wish Gilbert Crawford and Joe Wilson the very best of luck with their new purchase.
Lleyn Flock Update
Improving our Lleyn flock is making steady progress but now that we have built up our numbers we can be even more selective in choosing the ewe lambs to retain as flock replacements.
These latest figures from Signet show that the rate of improvement is speeding up so hopefully next year, all retained ewe lambs will be in the top 50% of the national flock and the majority in the top 25%.
From being a rather mixed flock which was inevitable when the original gimmers were sourced from so many different flocks, we are now developing a type of sheep which suits our farming system and which have strong maternal instincts, are easy lambed and increasingly prolific.
Still work in progress but it is encouraging to see the progress we have achieved to date.
Bulls for Stirling Bull Sales - October 2015
Balthayock JETHRO Lot No 836.
A very stylish heifer’s son of Balthayock Adonis out of a Swalesmoor Cracker daughter. These two blood lines have really clicked at Balthayock. Jethro has an almost perfect set of EBVs for easy calving, exceptional live weight gain, scrotal circumference, and eye muscle area.
Balthayock Jacobite. Lot No 845.
He is the first son we have offered for sale by that outstanding show bull Elgin Glenlivet, out of a Hofmeister daughter Angelica, who is herself a daughter of that great cow Balthayock Gelatin. Jacobite weighed 793 kg at 400 days, a daily live weight gain from birth of 1.85 kg.
Balthayock Justice. Lot No 865.
An outstanding son of Balthayock Ferdinand whose dam was the famous Rosita. Justice has it all. He was male and overall champion Charolais at the Kirriemuir show and at the Perth show, he won the Charolais male championship and junior interbreed championship. He is a bull with exceptional good looks and temperament and with a terminal EBV of 84 and a replacement EBV of 80, he stands second on the BCCS October list of the most promising young bulls in the national herd. He is the highest rated bull in this October’s Stirling bull sale.
Summer 2015 Update
We have had a very successful summer showing cattle at the Angus, Kirriemuir and Perth shows, as well as the huge success Balthayock Imp had at the Royal Highland where he was junior and overall male champion Charolais and went on to win the Marks and Spencer junior interbreed as well, confirming our decision that he was a bull which we must keep for our own use in the Balthayock Herd.
The trophy cabinet!
Balthayock Justice, a son of Balthayock Ferdinand, has been very successful too. He was second in a very strong junior class at the Highland and won junior and interbreed championships at county shows including a junior interbreed at Perth following in the footsteps of Balthayock Impression last years winner, who we have decided to keep too to join Imp as future herd sires.
The young heifers we have shown have also done well winning a fist full of first prizes at local County Shows. With Maerdy Grenadier, Balthayock Ferdinand, Balthayock Imp and Impression running with our cows, I believe we have the strongest team of herd sires that we have had at Balthayock in over forty years and with the new bull shed now complete, we have the facilities to bring out the bulls for sale in ideal conditions to do our best to fulfil our promise to our buyers that bulls from Balthayock will be fed mainly on grass, will stand on concrete to be fed and watered, will lie on a bed of sawdust, and will have twenty four hour direct access to exercise paddocks. They will be presented for sale fit and not fat.
We have an outstanding bunch of heifers chosen with the help of Breed Plan, to replace some of the old ladies and to expand our herd. Where possible they have been A I’d with Adonis semen and are now running with Ugie Echo who has been such a success here with his easy calving record both direct and now proved to be the case in his daughters as well. I have never known a summer when we have had more grass on the farm and all the cattle have done well and are in fine fettle for the winter ahead.
All we need now is an improvement in the prime cattle price and a fall in input costs, justified in many respects by the fall in the value of oil related by products, and our prospects will start to look a great deal brighter. The only cloud on our horizon remains the doubt in everyone’s mind as to when we will receive our Basic Farm Payment. With the Numpties in charge of our industry in Holyrood that is anyone’s guess.
We have entered four bulls for the October national sale at Stirling. Catherine MacGregor will come and photograph them nearer the time of the sale so that potential buyers can see what they look like on line when the sale catalogue is ready. They are all by different sires including Balthayock Adonis (B.Jethro), Balthayock Ferdinand (B.Justice), Maerdy Grenadier (B.Javelin), and Elgin Glenlivet (B.Jacobite). I hope and believe they will be well up to the high standard we have set ourselves.
Balthayock Ivor has grown into a fine young bull at Balmyle where Bill Bruce will use him on his heifers. He is ideal for this purpose because he is a son of Barbican Lancer, one of the most proven easy calving bulls ever used in the national herd.
Results of the 2015 February Sale at Stirling
We had a very good bull sale with very encouraging support from commercial and pedigree breeders. We wish all our breeders the best of luck with their purchases. All bulls sold under the NBA fertility guarantee are insured for fertility for six months. If any purchaser wishes to delay the start of the six month insured period please let me know and I arrange for the start of the policy to be delayed to fit in with the time the bulls are turned out to work.
Balthayock Impact remains for sale privately. His photograph is in the previous news article and might suit anyone who failed to buy the bull of their choice on February 17th. Otherwise he will go to the sale at Carlisle or Stirling next May.
The two sons of Blelack Forester, both winners of their classes, caused a lot of interest at the sale. Their size, character and correctness, and their obvious good nature, were much admired and culminated in Balthayock Imperial winning the senior championship and selling next day for 11,000guineas to the Wordies of Cairnborrow in Aberdeenshire
Sons of Ugie Echo continued their success in the sale ring with Balthayock Ignatius going to David Barker’s Cayler herd near Royston for 10,000 guineas and Impulse going North at 9,000 guineas to the Keirs at Alford. Echo continues to impress us with the consistency of his sons who share his good temperament, easy calving and scrotal circumference EBVs and excellent live weight gains.
The two bulls we have retained as potential herd sires, Impression and Imp, are growing on well and next week we plan to take some semen from them both just in case of accidents as I do not want to lose their bloodlines. I have a strong suspicion that Davie and Tracey are cooking up a plan to enter Imp in some of the summer shows. Impression is going to be too busy for such frivolities! You will find photographs of both these bulls on our web page.
The bull boxes are full again with 12 young bulls settling in well and more will join them after the May sale. With another twenty young bulls showing promise another row of bull boxes are in the planning stage.
For the May sale at Stirling, Impact apart, we will enter three other young bulls. Idiom sired by Balthayock Eagle, Immortal sired by Cracker and Influence sired by Balthayock Ferdinand are provisionally on the list but before then there are 150 cross cows and thirty Charolais to calf and not forgetting 650 Lleyn ewes and gimmers to lamb, so do not be surprised if there is not much news on our web page for the next two months or so! It will be a case of all hands to the pumps!
2015 Stirling Bull Sale - 16th February
A strong team from Balthayock for the February bull sale at Stirling on 16th February..
BALTHAYOCK IGOR Lot No 326.
A bull with huge potential out of the best of Balthayock bloodlines.
BALTHAYOCK INTREPID Lot No 339.
A son of a senior champion at Stirling, Blelack Forester who is breeding so well for us at Balthayock.
BALTHAYOCK IMPERIAL Lot No 355.
A son of a Stirling senior champion Blelack Forester who is breeding so well for us at Balthayock. The blend of the Foresters blood line on an Adonis daughter, Balthayock Drachma is proving a winner.
BALTHAYOCK IGNATIUS Lot No 380.
By the proven easy calving and popular herd sire Ugie Echo, a reserve junior champion at Stirling in his day, and out of an outstanding young Balbithan Vespasian daughter Felicity, I have high hopes for this young bull. His grandmother is Balthayock Britannia by Balthayock Olivier bred in France by Jean Francois Naudin and shared with Frank Lawson from Asloun. A Britannia son by Echo sold last year for 11,000 guineas.
BALTHAYOCK IMPULSE Lot No 388.
Another promising Ugie Echo son with exceptional growth for a son of a relatively early maturing bull. He combines his sire's well-established traits of easy calving, good live weight gain and scrotal circumference and great feet with an exceptionally good temperament.
Balthayock IMPACT was entered for the February sale. Unfortunately despite asking to have all possible entries for this sale DNA confirmed in an e-mail to the Society on the 30th October 2014, the system failed to find out that his sire was incorrect and that he was in fact a son of Balthayock Ferdinand and not Swalesmoor Cracker as I had thought. For this reason he was disqualified from the sale. No good crying over spilt milk but it is a shame that despite early warning this should have happened. The bull will remain for sale at Balthayock privately at a price which will be set at the average achieved by the rest of the string at this February sale if anyone is interested. His sire Balthayock Ferdinand is a son of Balbithan Vespasian bought with Blelack for 28,000 gineas and out of Balthayock Rosita, perhaps the most dominant and successful cow we have ever bred.
Introducing the new herd sires at Balthayock..
An outstanding son of the senior champion at Stirling in February 2012, BLELACK FORESTER who was bought jointly with Balmyle and Newhouse for 22,000 guineas. His dam is a daughter of the 28,000 guinea BALBITHAN VESPASIAN who has bred so well at Blelack and Balthayock. IMP is a magnificent looking bull with great power and character and I am sure he will have an great future at Balthayock.
Over Xmas we had to say goodbye to Swalesmoor Cracker who has bred outstandingly well at Balthayock producing many high priced sires for use in pedigree and commercial herds which have gone on to meet their buyers highest expectations. Having lost Cracker, we had to find a son to take his place and have had an easy choice in BALTHAYOCK IMPRESSION. Not only has he distinguished himself in the show ring winning the junior and interbreed championship at his only outing at the Perth Show last August but he has also been rated at the top of the Charolais Society's most promising young bull list in January by some margin, scoring a maximum for his Replacement Sire Index EBV of 93 and a Terminal Sire Index of 88. His dam Balthayock Unwary has proved herself to be an outstanding cow with nine calves in the last twelve years selling for up to 10,000 guineas and she is still going strong. I think we are extremely fortunate to have such two fine young bulls to take our breeding policy forward after such an unlucky experience with the bulls we have bought recently.
Balthayock Imp and Balthayock Impression with David Walter
Balthayock Imp and Balthayock Impression.