MARKET REPORTS: Blacks sale adds up to best.
A RECORD number of Welsh Blacks went under the hammer last week with prices struggling to match last year's highs.
Returns at last Friday's 49th Welsh Black winter sale inevitably fell short of 2004's record breaking prices but the sheer number of entries still generated a best ever total sale value.
A record 137 pedigree animals were entered for auction at Dolgellau, with 115 actually forwarded for sale.
Leading the way was lot 135 - Graig-Goch Gerwyn 17th - who was sold for 10, 800gns to Mr & Mrs E Ll and M Williams. The family runs the Rhydygarnedd herd at Dolaugwyn, Tywyn, as well as a veterinary practice in Tywyn.
They said they were pleased with their purchase and ``looking forward to breeding from the top prized bull''.
The 16 month-old bull was one of the youngest of the 39 bulls offered for sale. He was bred and shown by Emyr Jones, Graig Goch, Nebo, Llanrwst. A first prize winner in his class, the bull was also overall reserve champion bull. Next in the money stakes was Caerynwch Major 3rd, who went for 10, 000gns.
A second prize winner in his class, the 19 month -old bull was bred and exhibited by TW Williams, Caerynwch Farm, Dolgellau, and bought by Robin Price, Rhiwlas, Bala.
Welsh Black Cattle Society (WBCS) chief executive Andrew James said he was pleased with the sale.
``With so much uncertainty in the industry at the moment and following the best season ever for the society, it was a tall order to try and match the November sale at Dolgellau.
``Nevertheless whilst average prices were, in some categories, down on January 2004, the total sale value and number of stock sold were both up.
``On Friday the Society sold 95 pedigree animals as compared to 56 in the January 2004 sale. ``The total value of the sale was 33, 582gns up on the previous year's sale. Friday's sale generated an extra pounds 1, 000 revenue over and above what can be described as a good average in 2004. ''
Bulls accounted for the day's top prices with Graig Goch Gerwyn 16th attracting the third highest price of 7, 000gns.
Bred and shown by Emyr Jones, Graig Goch, Nebo, the 17-month-old bull was bought by D William Jenkins, Neuadd-yr-Ynys, Taliesin, Machynlleth. He is a full brother to Graig Goch Ceri 13th, who was the highest priced female of 2003, selling for 3, 800gns.
The pre-sale show champion bull Ysguboriau Llywelyn 36th - was knocked down for 4, 200gns.
Bred and shown by R ap Simon Jones, Ysguboriau, Tywyn, the 19-month-old bull went to William T Davies, Waenfach, Llanegryn, Tywyn.
The top maiden prices were led by Graig-Goch Bet 41st, who sold for 2, 650gns.
The 15-month-old maiden heifer was bred and shown by Emyr Jones, Graig Goch, and bought by new society members Wyn Evans and Amanda Joynson, who are establishing an pedigree herd at their family farm at Croesyceilog, Carmarthenshire.
Bro-waen Nel 5th, a 19-month maiden heifer by Alwyn Morris, Merddyn, Ceunant, Llanrug, Caernarfon, was knocked down for 2, 600gns to Enzo Sauro, who recently opened the new butchery and abattoir, Cwmni Cig Calon Cymru, at Cross Hands.
The highest priced female accolade went to lot 10, the champion female, Neuadd Caran Ddu 305th, who sold for 2, 350gns.
The in-calf heifer was bred and shown by D William Jenkins, Neuadd-yr-Ynys, Taliesin, and sold to organic farmer Gwyn Ogwen Thomas, Blaen y Nant, Nant Ffrancon, Bethesda.
Main sponsor of the day was the national livestock breeding company, Genus, who used the event to launch the sale of semen from their bull, Brysgaga Erddyn 42nd.
``The bull was bred by immediate past Society chairman of council Mr JP Rees, who sadly passed away early in the new year, '' said Mr James. ``It was quite poignant to think that the launch came just a few days after his funeral.
``It is a fitting tribute that his family still travelled to Dolgellau to sell two bulls and see their home-bred bull Brysgaga Erddyn 42nd launch the semen sales. ''