Exhibitors and spectators enjoyed a cracking day out for the Aberdeen Christmas Classic prime show and sale at Thainstone Auction Mart, where Limousin cross heifers reigned supreme amongst the cattle and Beltex topped the sheep.
The event which last year was held behind closed doors due to Covid-19 restrictions, not only attracted large numbers of spectators eager to catch up with friends old and new, but also some of the best quality stock in the country.
“The quality of cattle was just as good as it always is, if not better,” said the prime cattle judge, Louise Forsyth of Forsyths butchers, Peebles, who alongside Jamie Scott of Paisley Meat Wholesalers placed the top winners.
“I’ve seen a few cattle being on the heavy side, but this year, most were more of a desirable weight and they had better cover on them,” she said.
Both judges were unanimous in their choice of top winners too, but they admitted it was a close decision between the champion and reserve – Limousin cross heifers from Andrew Anderson, Smallburn Farms and Harry Brown and family, Auchmaliddie Mains, respectively.
Supreme was Andrew Anderson’s She’s a Belter, a 20-month-old bred from a flush from a pedigree British Blue heifer and sired by the AI bull, Elite Lacette.
She passed the weighbridge at 625kg and later sold for £6,200 or £9.92 per kg to the Station Hotel, Rothes, Aberlour, who have recently just purchased Smallburn Farms in a bid to breed their own locally produced beef.
Following her all the way to the reserve overall was the runner up heifer, Harry Brown’s Robyn, a 22-month-old, 594kg entry bred on Orkney by Ian Sclater, Upper Breckan. She was bought jointly by the judges, for £3,200 or £5.39p per kg.
Adding to the Auchmaladdie Mains success, the Browns also produced the butchers champion in Starbust, a 595kg Limousin cross heifer bred by Tom Delday, Orkney. Alastair Bruce Butchers, Fraserburgh, was the final bidder at £3,400 or £5.71 per kg.
The Brown’s stockman, Thomas Hall, landed the reserve Young Farmers’ haltered title the previous evening with a two-year-old Limousin cross heifer that made £3,000.
Michael Robertson and sons Scott and Mark, Fodderletter Farms, Ballindalloch, secured several notable awards to include the champion bullock with Copland Road, a 685kg Limousin cross bred by Douglas Macdonald, Tiree. It later sold for 325p per kg to North Yorkshire meat wholesaler, Anthony Kitson.
The previous night, Fodderletter won the reserve honours in the Rising Stars commercial calf competition with the Shorthorn cross heifer, Sugar N Spice, bred by Andrew Anderson, Smallburn Farms. This March-born entry was bought at the end of October at Dingwall alongside its dam, a British Blue cross cow.
Mark Robertson was in the tickets too, bagging the Young Farmers’ title with Penny Arcade, a 20-month-old Limousin cross heifer scaling 630kg. She was bred by Gordon Cameron and sold for £3500.
Some 46 pens of top quality prime lambs were forward for the judge, Jimmy Stark of Paisley Meat Wholesalers, who found his supreme in a pair of 52kg three-quarter Beltex cross wedder lambs from William and David Moir, Home Farm, Cairness.
April born and by a home-bred sire, they made £420 per head to IJ McIntosh Butchers, Fraserburgh.
The same buyer also went to £240 per head to buy the champion Young Farmers’ lambs, Beltex crosses from James Lowe, South Tarwathie, Strichen, with the reserve winners in the section, similarly bred entries from Fay Wilkie, Braigiewell, Echt, selling for £210.
Young Cameron Muir (13) and Fynn Leslie (13) paraded the reserve overall winners, 50kg Beltex crosses for Jim and Belinda Muir, Honeyneuk, Maud. April-born, they were knocked down at £250 per head to the judge.
Sisters Emma Smith (16) and Laura (14) lifted the butchers’ championship with another pen of Beltex crosses which later made £250. The blue and white sash was presented to similarly bred lambs from Ryan Shand, Lythebrae, Aberchirder, that sold for £170.
The Aberdeen Christmas Classic was organised by Aberdeen and Northern Marts in conjunction with the Aberdeen Fatstock Association.