As the weekly format of store cattle sales return to Thainstone this Friday, we feature the Forbes family from Dalrachie, Ballindalloch, who will be selling 20 Charolais crosses this week.
Alan Forbes, his wife Sarah-Jane and father Willie, farm the 350-acre unit, alongside 150 acres of rented ground at Aberlour.
As members of ANM Group, they have been selling at Thainstone since the centre opened, having previously sold through Elgin.
‘’Thainstone is a fantastic centre for selling store cattle, offering a good service to both buyers and customers,’’ said Alan.
‘’We sell at three sales per year and there is always a strong ringside of buyers, with a good atmosphere and helpful staff.’’
The family runs 110 Simmental cross cows and 350 North Country Cheviot ewes tupped to the Bluefaced Leicester to breed 150 Cheviot Mule ewe lambs for selling and the rest kept pure for replacing.
The herd is split calving and replacements are either home-bred or bought in as heifers with calves at foot or as in-calf heifers sourced through the breeding ring at Thainstone.
Top quality Charolais bulls are also purchased, with the most recent being Gretnahouse Nelson and Glenericht Odysey.
Heifers run with the Limousin for ease of calving although Alan pointed out that the calving ease has improved in Charolais bulls in recent years.
The spring-born calves are weaned in November and housed at Aberlour, while the cows are outwintered and brought inside just before calving kicks off in February.
Autumn-born calves are weaned in July and graze on grass with trough feeding until sale day.
‘’We aim to sell these back end calves at 450-500kg but some of the stots will be weighing above the 500kg mark,’’ said Alan.
‘’Charolais bulls produce the best outcome from our Simmental cross cows, with this year’s spring-born stots levelling at £1300.’’