Over 300 online bids were placed during an on-farm breeding cattle sale, hosted by Fearn Farm, Ross-Shire on Friday 22nd January 2021.
The sale which included beef shorthorn bulls, in calf heifers and maiden heifers reared by the Scott family, was the first 100% cattle sale in Scotland using the innovative Yourbid system. Developed by a farming family in New Zealand to run livestock sales during the Covid-19 lockdown, the transparent bidding model allows all lots to be visible simultaneously, helping establish relative market values.
Nine two-year-old beef shorthorn bulls sold to a top of £9600 for Fearn NC 500 selling to Gill and Co, Brucefield, Portmahomack with his half-brother Nonu just behind him at £9400 to Harry Strawson, Hexgreave Estate, Nottinghamshire, whilst another, Nevis sold at £7600 to Antrim Estates, Glenarm, Northern Ireland.
All three of these bulls were by the £20,000 Fearn Godfather whose females and semen were also in demand selling to a top of £5100 for Fearn Isobel to George Shanks, Northern Ireland and £4050 to Eric Evans, Wales, whilst semen hit £55 per straw on four occasions for lots of 5.
Fearn Elmer also made his mark in the sale with sons selling to £6300 for Fearn North Star to the Green family, Corskie whilst an unregistered bull made £5300 again to Gill and Co Brucefield.
Three-year-old bulls sold to £4400 for the favourite Fearn Mey who heads north to Mackintosh, Glengolly in Caithness.
For John Scott, who has been organising on-farm ram sales since 2012 with his wife Fiona, the Yourbid system has allowed them to continue selling their stock whilst adhering to lockdown regulations.
“This format is a fantastic solution for the challenging times we live in at the moment and offers a long-term alternative method to selling livestock with many benefits.
“We have dreamt of having our own cattle sale now for some time and although we had envisaged it being more of a social occasion, the day worked well and we have been able to sell cattle all over the UK and Ireland in a clear and transparent manner.”
The sale included Luing bulls and heifers which, on this occasion, did not sell but according to John, it was just not the right time.
“The Shorthorns exceeded our expectations, and we are delighted to see our genetics travel across the UK. Unfortunately, it was too early in the season for the Luing animals, however, one of the benefits of these sales is we can be confident in our high health status as the animals have not left the farm.”
For anyone wishing to enquire about the Luing stock, please contact John on 07770 863506.
Giles Henry of Oakwood Mill, Selkirk shares why he purchased a Luing bull from us in May 2019
Giles upland organic farm of 210 ha in the Ettrick Valley has a pedigree Luing herd, calving on the 1st April on wards with heifers calved at 2 years of age. With a 6 week bulling period he requires stock that has high fertility, calve without intervention and flesh easily. Capacity to forage well is also key to produce progeny that thrive on a forage based system.
Giles looks for a Luing bull with “good breed characteristics, good depth so has gut capacity, hill bred, and good locomotion”. The animal also needs to have “good temperament and feet, and not been pushed on”. Animals from a “Hi health status” is also key criteria when selecting stock for Giles.
Giles informs us why he chose to purchase from us, “bred to traditional Luing type” and if he has lived up to his expectations. “He has been everything that we expected, easily worked with. He is one of these types that you hardly ever see working. No faffing about he just gets on with the job. His calves popped out with no difficulties, strong types, up and straight in to suck”. This year Sutherland warlord “had a batch of 32 bulling heifers and 1st calvers, all in-calf in a 6 week bulling period”.
Thank you for sharing your customer story with us Giles, we really do love to see and hear how our customers get on with their chosen breeding stock. Head to our bidding site https://www.yourbid.org/the-luing-and-the-short-of-it to view our Luing bulls and heifers we have available for sale.
We recently welcomed Redhill Priddy to Fearn, he’s a Beef Shorthorn bull calf and was bred by Brenda Wear who lives in Somerset near the village of Priddy and hence the bulls name.
To be fair to the young fella its been quite an experience for him, separated from his mum at eight months of age before being transported 573 miles north to us but he’s settling in really well. He will spend the next couple of months in our isolation area which is something we always do as part of our health plan when bringing new animals into our herd. This area has a view over the cattle shed and farmyard and catches the winter sun so its not a bad place to spend his early days on the farm.
Seeing as he’s such a handsome young man Jimmy our bull guru will halter train him just in case we need to show him or collect semen from him when he’s older and one of the benefits of that process is that he will become even quieter than he already is.
We have sometimes been asked what do you look for when buying a new bull, we look at many things including health status, estimated breeding values, structure and correctness and of course breeding, who are his parents and will he breed like them?
In this case it was all about the breeding, Priddy has an outstanding pedigree with proven genetics on both sides, his mum has two famous grandfathers in Tofts Romany and Sutherland Bundaberg and his dad is Bemore Fuel Injected V12 and Australian bull born in the year 2000 which had semen sent to the UK.
I first saw progeny from V12 when I visited the Glenisla herd owned by the Gibb family near Glenisla and amongst others saw a tremendous red son named Glenisla Vagabond running with highland cows.
In hindsight I maybe should have tried to buy him but bought semen from his father instead and inseminated a few cows with Fearn Abraham, sold for 5500gns and Fearn Nesta A being the resulting progeny.
Nesta A bred Fearn Elmer possibly the best bull we have bred to date so as you can imagine we are very excited that Priddy has arrived and look forward to sending him out to work next summer. We will of course keep you updated and share photos and information about him as he grows up.
Innovative livestock farmers, the Scott family at Fearn Farm, near Easter Ross, Tain are set to hold their first online breeding cattle sale in January 2021, following the success of their yourbid ram sale in August 2020 and due to the current uncertainties regarding Covid-19 restrictions.
“At Fearn, we strive to produce high health top quality stock from forage-based diets. Our new online sale allows us to sell stock direct from farm, putting minimal stress on the animals and our staff. It will also allow buyers across the UK and further afield the opportunity to purchase stock from their farm office, tractor seat, or in person on-farm subject to government guidelines, and where social distancing measures will be adhered to,” says John Scott.
The yourbid system was developed by David and George Giddings of Meadowslea Genetics, New Zealand, who integrated an online bidding option for their stud Angus female sale earlier this year while New Zealand was in lockdown. After seeing the success of the sale, Fearn Farm teamed up with the McGowan family of Incheoch, Blairgowrie to bring the Helmsman style online auction system to the UK for the first time in summer 2020.
“We first used yourbid earlier this year for our on-farm ram sale and found it worked really well for our system. Like a silent auction, all lots are offered for sale at the same time,” explains John. “The main difference is the online sale will only come to an end when there are no further bids on any lot.”
In total, forty-two animals will be offered for sale with videos of the cattle and a detailed catalogue including performance figures, genetics and weights available from 4 December 2020.
“This is an exciting time for us as a business, we believe in our product and are delighted that we can use this platform once again in the UK, giving farmers and crofters the opportunity to buy the genetics they need to drive their herds forward in uncertain times.”
The family currently run 100 pedigree Shorthorn cows under the Fearn prefix which was founded in 1995. John explains how the upcoming sale will give buyers the chance to purchase stock with genetics linking to some highly sought bloodlines.
“We have several bull and heifer lots sired by Fearn Godfather, who was originally sold for 10,000gns, then bought back three years later at auction for 20,000gns.
“He is one of the highest performance recorded animals in the breed and is a trait leader for calving ease; 200, 400- and 600-day weights; carcass weight and rib fat.”
John adds: “Other sires include Fearn Elmer – who needs no introduction – with sons selling privately to 10,000gns, averaging over £5,000 for 25 sold to date and his daughters are breeding extremely well within the herd.
“He is possibly the easiest fleshing bull that we have bred at Fearn, with one of his sons likely to be retained for our own use next year.”
The Luing offering will see bulls and bulling heifers available from the 50 cow Scotsburn herd which is managed by the Scott family through a contract farming agreement, as well as progeny from the 50 cow Sutherland herd which is run by Scott Farming Co. Both these herds have been founded on the renowned Cadzow Bros Luing genetics.
John highlights: “All of the cattle for sale have been produced on grass and forage-based diets. Stock are part of Johnes level 1 and BVD accredited herds and have been double vaccinated for BVD, with the heifers also vaccinated for Lepto. All bulls forward will be semen tested prior to the sale.”
The sale will go live on 12 January 2021 and run until 22 January 2021. Potential buyers can visit the farm to view stock by arranging an appointment for any of the following dates. 29th December 2020, 8thand 15th January 2021 between 10am and 3pm.
Prospective buyers can also pre-register to visit the farm on the final day of bidding (22 January 2021) and will be able to view a large screen where they can bid, using either a smart phone or bidding slips.
John concludes: “ Bidding will be up and running online for a ten days before the sale, but things should get interesting in the last hour or so on sale day. We expect that Covid-19 will encourage most bidders to operate from home but wanted to make it possible for those who want to be here to do so.”
For anyone interested in attending a pre-sale visit or for more information about the sale contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org, 01862 832522 or via the Fearn Farm social channels.