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 Blyths 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!