Hexham Mart “Bellingham” Suckled Calf Sale October 15th 2020

When using Limousin, the returns are sweet, here the proof is in the pudding. At the BLCS sponsored Hexham & Northern Mart sale on Friday 15th October, the trade showed that Limousin breeding is the smart choice!

Hexham & Northern Marts held their Special Annual Prize Show and Sale of Limousin cross store cattle which was kindly sponsored by Armstrong Watson Accountants, The Farmers Guardian and The British Limousin Cattle Society.

Prior to the sale the show, for unhaltered cattle only was conducted under strict Covid-19 guidelines and expertly judged by Mr Ricky Alder, Ponteland. With classes solely for Limousin cross cattle the Thornton Family, Cornhills, Kirkwhelpington dominated the prizes for pens of four; scooping both the steer and heifer awards for two very well-bred and presented pens of black, seven-eighths bred cattle at 15 months of age. It was the heifer pen that Mr Alder favoured and awarded the Northern Limousin Cattle Breeders Trophy to The Thornton’s for the Championship pen of four.

With two very simple individual classes; one for steers, one for heifers the judge was presented with six male and eight female exhibits from noted producers from both Northumberland and County Durham and all fourteen of the cattle were of outstanding quality, worthy of any show ring at this traditional show-sale time of year.

Overall Champion at Hexham Mart “Bellingham” suckled calf sale was won by a Limousin x Steer from Eric Armstrong, Harlow Bower, Whitfield.

Mr Alder worked swiftly and diligently to arrive at his prize lists for each class and then on to the culmination of the schedule; the Overall Championship and the George Stappard Memorial Trophy which he awarded to a tremendously correct red heifer at 14 months of age. The victory for renowned and highly regarded cattleman Mr Fred Murray, East Horton, Wooler, North Northumberland was extra-special in that, after a long and successful career breeding and showing cattle at both regional and national level, this heifer and the others sold with her was to be the last consigned for sale at Hexham Auction Mart by Fred who has decided to hang up his cattle clippers and retire – at the top! The heifer was one of a pair shown, the other a black example which had stood second in the class and both but especially the champion epitomised what only a lifetime of breeding and showing top quality cattle can result in. The sparky red female was a beacon of Continental cross-bred genetics and the pinnacle of commercial beef cattle for todays modern market place – in short a fantastic heifer with carcass and confirmation; shape and style; muscle and movement and the triumph a fitting end to a glittering career for Mr Murray.

Reserve Champion at Hexham Mart “Bellingham” suckled calf sale was won by a Limousin x Heifer from Eric Armstrong, Harlow Bower, Whitfield.

The Reserve Championship was awarded to another very well-bred, well-presented example; a year old jet black bullock from annual consignor to this sale and likewise a well-respected cattleman based in County Durham Mr Michael Reed, West Biggens, Frosterley in Weardale. The bullock too exhibited all the desirable traits of the Limousin breed as the leading commercial sire of beef cattle in the country and stood a worthy reserve with Mr Alder leaning towards his favoured choice in the sale ring and his own finishing sheds; the heifer.

The auctioneers would like to extend their grateful thanks to all those who contributed to the show under difficult circumstances; all exhibitors, our judge and our generous sponsors without whom such spectacles could not take place.

Prize Show

Four Limousin x Steers – 1st – Cornhills

Four Limousin x Heifers – 1st Cornhills

Single Limousin x Steer 1st – West Biggens, 2nd – Cornhills, 3rd – Agars Hill

Single Limousin x Heifer 1st – East Wrangham, 2nd – East Wrangham, 3rd – Agars Hill

Overall Champion Single Calf – Mr F Murray, East Wrangham, Limousin Heifer

Reserve Champion Single Calf – M/s Reed, West Biggens, Limousin Steer

Best Pen of 4 Limousin x Calves – 1st M/s Thornton, Cornhills

With the formalities of the show taken care of the focus of the day shifted to the catalogue of 771 top quality Limousin cross cattle consigned by noted producers from Northumberland, County Durham & The Scottish Borders. No fewer than Sixty-One buyers were socially distanced round the ring at the start of the sale and keen to compete for the quality on offer and numbers swelled further as the day went on.

The first quarter of the catalogue consisted of cattle in the 18-24 month age bracket and these were considerably dearer than of late peaking at £1475 for a cracking pen of 5 Limmy bullocks like peas in a pod from Ian Scott and Sons, Corneyside, who followed these up with a pair of heifer sisters at £1450 which led towards the run of seven steers and five heifers averaging a whopping £1412 for the Matfen based family.

The bulk of the catalogue was however made up of three-quarter bred cattle in the 12-15 month age bracket with many noted producers selling runs of thirty to seventy head as they do on an annual basis.

The lead trade of the day had to be that attained by Fred Murray who, with a super pen of seven cattle including his rosette winners returned an average of exactly £1500 per head for two steers and five heifers at 14 months of age – a fitting end to a fabulous career. His show champion sold for a worthy £1640 selling to Messrs Thorpe, Hawes, North Yorkshire.

Many purchasers travel a distance to vie for some of the best cattle in the country offered at this sale and a number of our valued consignors reported lifts on last years trade well in excess of One hundred pounds per head, not least the aforementioned Thornton Family, Cornhills. Richard and son Christopher sold thumping bullocks to a top of £1490 and a sublime heifer to £1510 and reported a huge increase on the year to their obvious delight – their hard work of managing hybrid genetics paying dividends with an average of £1285 for 24 steers with 24 heifer sisters alongside.

Another significant lift was enjoyed by Messrs Lee, Agars Hill, Whitfield who saw steers at ten months to £1205 with heifers trumping their penmates at £1290, often the case nowadays and a super run of cattle from The Lees averaged £1068 for 30 steers and 16 heifers throughout.

The largest run of cattle on the day came from Hexhamshire locals Graham & daughter Gemma Common, Low Ardley who similarly reported a sizeable increase through the Hexham ring with steers to £1300 twice and a shapely heifer selling to £1250. The Commons enjoyed an average of £1042 for 34 steers and 31 heifers highlighting this centre as the leading outlet for both quality and quantity in this region.

A number of renowned County Durham cattle breeders sent consignments North to Hexham and were once again rewarded in style for their efforts, not least John, Andrew & Steven Reed of Lands Farm, Westgate in Weardale who sold late in the day but they too enjoyed a hefty rise on 2019 figures. Lands steers topped at a newsworthy £1450 with heifers peaking at £1175 at just 12 months of age with many return purchasers noted on the sale docket. The Reed family were yet more happy customers at Hexham reporting an increase of well over £100 per head with an average of £1086 for 25 steers and 19 heifers.

The Reserve Champion from Michael Reed, West Biggens, Frosterley sold at noon to return £1200 going home with Messrs Clark, Paxton Dene, Longhorsley whilst The Biggens heifers sold to £1165 with trademark shape and style thoughout his run of thirty-two averaging £1035.

With well-sold, quality consignments simply too numerous to mention in their entirety the furthest travelled lot would be that of brothers Tom & Blair Cockburn, Kingside, Peebles who brought their annual load to Hexham and once again savoured the journey with heifers peaking at £1290 and their best steer hitting £1135 contributing to an average for their seven sold of £1107 which would sweeten their considerable trek home over The Carter Bar.

Once again the auctioneers were delighted to be able to bring together the best of breeders from across the region with a staunch and steadfast ring of dedicated buyers; two distinct and essential groups of customers to which we thank for their continued custom in these trying times.

Thoughts now turn to next week and The ‘Bellingham’ spring born suckled calf sale and The ‘Tow Law’ show and sale which take place on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th respectively. Details of both are available from the auctioneers on 01434 605444.

Leading Prices;

Cattle 23 – 30 Months

Limousin x steers – £1250 & £1245 Highwood

Cattle 17 – 22 Months

Limousin x steers – £1500 East Wrangham, £1490 & £1480 Cornhills, £1475 Corneyside, £1400 & £1385 Wingates South, £1360 Highwood, £1350 Elrington Hall & Cornhills, £1335 Highwood, £1320 Lunns House & Elrington Hall, £1310 Lunns House & Cornhills, £1300 Corneyside, Elrington Hall & Low Ardley (x2), £1290 Lunns House, £1280 Elrington Hall & Old Deanham, £1260 Lunns House, £1240 Wingates South, £1230 Highwood (x3) & Wingates South, £1225 Cornhills, £1220 Low Ardley & Cornhills, £1215 Highwood, £1205 Highwood, £1200 Church Farm, Highwood & Old Deanham, £1195 & £1190 Highwood, £1180 Old Deanham, £1170 Highwood & Wingates South (x2), £1160 Highwood, Wingates South, Old Deanham & Warksfield Head, £1155 & £1150 (x2) Highwood, £1130 Wingates South & Low Ardley, £1125 Church Farm, £1120 Thrunton Lowfield, £1100 Church Farm, Wingates South & Old Deanham, £1090 Church Farm & Old Deanham, £1080 Highwood, £1065 West Haydon, £1050 Old Deanham, £1025 Church Farm (x2), £1020 Old Deanham

Limousin x heifers – £1450 & £1360 Corneyside, £1350 Wall Town Farm, £1330 Low Middleton, £1320 Cornhills, £1310 Little Swinburne, £1290 Cornhills, £1280 Wall Town Farm, £1270 Cornhills, £1260 Old Deanham, £1240 Wall Town Farm, £1230 Old Deanham, £1200 Little Swinburne, £1190 Stone Stile, £1170 Lunns House & Little Swinburne, £1130 Little Swinburne, £1130 Old Deanham, £1090 Wall Town Farm, £1070 Little Swinburne, £1060 Springwell Cottage, £1030 Stone Stile, £1020 Lunns House & Little Swinburne, £1010 Lunns House, £1000 Cornhills & Old Deanham, £980 Lunns House

Cattle 11 – 16 Months

Limousin x steers – £1560 East Wrangham, £1470 Cornhills, £1450 Lands Farm, £1320, £1275 & £1255 Cornhills, £1250 Burntongues, Low Ardley & Cornhills, £1240 Low Ardley, £1220 Cornhills, £1215 Burntongues, £1205 Warksfield Head & Agars Hill, £1200 Elrington Hall, Old Deanham (x2) & West Biggens, £1190 Low Middleton & Low Ardley, £1180 Springwell Cottage, Low Ardley, Agars Hill & Lands Farm, £1170 Lands Farm & Morley Hill, £1165 Agars Hill & Lands Farm, £1160 Agars Hill, £1155 Low Ardley, £1150 Agars Hill (x2), Old Deanham & West Biggens, £1145 West Biggens, £1140 Lands Farm & Crook Dene, £1130 Warksfield Head & Morley Hill, £1120 Lands Farm, £1115 Low Ardley & Lands Farm, £1110 Rogerley Hall (x2), Allenshields & Crook Dene, £1105 Rogerley Hall, Old Deanham & Flotterton, £1100 Warksfield Head, Old Deanham, West Biggens, Kingside, Lands Farm, Allenshields, Rusheylaw & Bulls Hill, £1095 Springwell Cottage & Lands Farm, £1090 Springwell Cottage & Lands Farm (x3), £1070 Warksfield Head, Burntongues, Agars Hill (x2) & Lands Farm, £1060 Burntongues, £1055 Low Middleton & Lands Farm, £1050 Rogerley Hall, Burntongues, Woodhead, Agars Hill (x2) & West Biggens, £1045 Low Ardley & Flotterton, £1040 Church Farm, Agars Hill & Morley Hill, £1035 Woodhead & Lands Farm, £1030 Bulls Hill, £1020 Low Ardley & Flotterton, £1015 Agars Hill

Limousin x heifers – £1640, £1560 & £1520 East Wrangham, £1510 Cornhills, £1400 East Wrangham, £1340 Cornhills, £1330 Allenshields, £1320 East Wrangham & Cornhills, £1310 Springwell Cottage & Cornhills, £1300 Cornhills, £1290 Agars Hill, £1250 & £1240 Springwell Cottage, £1220 Low Ardley, Cornhills & Allenshields, £1200 Agars Hill & Rusheylaw, £1175 Lands Farm, £1170 Agars Hill & Allenshields, £1165 West Biggens & Kingside, £1160 Little Swinburne, Low Ardley, West Biggens & Lands Farm, £1150 Low Ardley, Cornhills, West Biggens & Lands Farm, £1140 Low Ardley, £1130 Burntongues & Lands Farm, £1120 West Biggens, £1110 Allenshields, £1105 Springwell Cottage, £1095 Agars Hill & Morley Hill, £1090 Rusheylaw & Crook Dene, £1085 West Biggens, £1080 Lands Farm, £1075 Agars Hill & Lands Farm, £1070 Burntongues & Agars Hill, £1065 Rogerley Hall & Lands Farm, £1060 Burntongues, £1055 West Biggens, Allenshields & Low Ardley, £1050 West Biggens, £1045 Burntongues, West Biggens (x2) & Lands Farm, £1040 Rogerley Hall, Low Ardley & Lands Farm, £1035 Old Deanham, £1030 Low Ardley, £1010 Lands Farm, £1005 Springwell Cottage & West Biggens, £1005 Lands Farm, £1000 Low Middleton, Rogerley Hall, Low Ardley, Agars Hill & West Biggens (x3), £995 Rogerley Hall, £985 Kingside, Haggate & Lands Farm, £980 Woodhead, £975 Low Ardley & West Biggens, £970 Rogerley Hall & Agars Hill (x2), £965 Springwell Cottage, £960 Lands Farm, £955 Crook Dene

Cattle 10 months and under

Limousin x steers – £1050 East Loanend (x2), £1000 Agars Hill, £925 East Flass, £910 & £890 Birtleyshield

Limousin x heifers – £1250 Low Ardley, £1120 Rusheylaw, £1060, £1030 (x2) & £935 East Loanend