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Red Rubies shine as buyers see off winter blues at spring show

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 19, 2014

By Athwenna Irons; @AthwennaWMN

  • Champion bull Stonegrove Nutcracker.

  • Reserve champion bull Whitefield Mark My Word.

  • Female champion in-calf heifer Ashway Mary 15th.

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A rich shade of auburn proved to be the colour of good fortune, as 81 lots of registered pedigree Red Ruby Devon cattle went under the hammer at the society’s official spring show & sale last Thursday, March 13.

Buyers came from across the South West and further afield, including the Welsh borders and Warwickshire, resulting in a packed ringside at Sedgemoor Auction Centre, Bridgwater. Demand for bulls proved particularly strong, with the overall average price of 3044gns up by £400 in comparison to last year’s sale.

Breed secretary Catherine Broomfield described the day’s trade as: “A good sale in difficult circumstances.”

“Many farmers are still low on forage and feeling a bit battered coming out of the winter. A lot of people have been severely challenged by the weather,” added Catherine.

“The auctioneer had to work for his trade but the quality showed out.”

Breeders are increasingly opting for native breeds, as Catherine added: “Native breeds are very much in demand. Commercial farmers are looking for those genetics.

“Devon cattle represent terrific good value as they so versatile and cost-effective.”

Jointly topping the books at 4,000gns was champion Stonegrove Nutcracker and reserve Whitefield

Mark My Word, judged earlier in the day by Mike Cowell.

A son of Bollowal Elgar, reserve native breed champion at last year’s Royal Three Counties Show, Stonegrove Nutcracker will remain in the region, purchased by Justin Goad of Kytton Barton Farm, Wellington, Somerset.

Following on, Whitefield Mark My Word, from Heywood & Hurd of Wiveliscombe, Somerset, was bought by John May of Priorton Barton, Crediton.

The long journey up from Penzance was well rewarded for Mr & Mrs Hosking, as their home-bred bull Boskenna Donal clinched a win in the bull classes before selling to Mr John May for 3100gns.

Other top prices included Simon & Grania Phillip’s Colleton Maximus, making 3,600gns to Messrs Waygood & Son of Rock Farm, Taunton. Not far behind was Messrs Dart & Son’s Champson Goliath, selling to 3200gns for Robin Haddy, of Home Farm, Boscastle.

In the female section, George Vellacott of Ashway Farm, Dulverton, Somerset once again took the championship with Ashway Mary 15th. The in-calf heifer achieved a top price of 2850gns and sold to Pamela Idelson-Smith of TrebarfootManor, Bude.

Top price for maiden heifers was 1400gns for Philip Huxtable’s Barton Camelia 243rd sold to Mr J Thorne of Barnstaple Devon, and Margaret Elliott’s Cutcombe Severn 27th, which sold for 1400gns to P Richards of Melbury Bubb, Dorset.

Perhaps the most spectacular bidding of the day was saved until the last three lots, when May Farming Partnership of Clannaborough Farm, Crediton, put up 30 straws of Thorndale Assirati.

At 14 years old and still working in the Clannaborough Herd, Assirati was bred by Clive Thornton OBE and has had a hugely influential effect on the national herd over the past 10 years. His reputation was present in buyers minds, with 20 straws selling for £70 each and the final batch of 10 going for £71 each.

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