Royal Welsh Winter Fair preview: Show success backed by auction ring prices

Winning the supreme championship at the Welsh Winter Fair is one thing, but topping the prices in the auction ring is another.

Winning the supreme championship at the Welsh Winter Fair is one thing, but topping the prices in the auction ring is another.

At last year’s event, the overall winner was knocked down for £4,000 and the reserve champion went for £4,700, but both were beaten by a heifer from the baby beef section.

Knocked down at £8,200 was a February 2012-born British Blue cross Limousin called Fancie from the T.E. Jones and Co farming operation of Brian Jones, his mother Gwenllian, wife Susan, son Matthew, his wife Anne-Marie and stockman Anthony Williams.

Based at Heol Senni, near Brecon, Powys, the Bailea prefix ranks among the top names in pedigree Limousin and Charolais circles.

Lying within the Brecon Beacons National Park, the enterprise revolves around 170 hectares (420 acres) - including 16ha (40 acres) of wheat and barley for home use - and 200 all-year-round calving breeding cows.

The 150 Limousins include a small herd of Black Limousins originating from Canadian imports, with sale ring successes of what once was a Perth record bid of 25,000gns for Bailea Black BMW and 12,000gns for Bailea Black Caviare.

Brian began farming with his late father, Tom, after leaving school and concentrated initially on breeding pedigree Herefords and Suffolk sheep, before moving on to Texels and Border Leicesters.

Sheep production came to an end, with ewes being sold to farmers restocking after the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak and the sheep sheds were converted for cattle.

Pedigree beginnings

The Bailea Limousin herd was established in 1982 with the purchase of two heifers carrying Marden breeding and using AI sires. In 1985, Ashwell Vindicator, carrying the noted Fieldhouse and Battleaxe breeding, was bought.

His daughters were put to Greensons Gigolo, which sired Bailea Imij, which was sold for 17,000gns, another record price at the time.

Gigolo daughters and others by a number of French bulls, notably Marron, who produced the Carlisle 14,000gns supreme champion Bailea Olympia and the 22,500gns Bailea Spunkie, further enhanced the herd’s standing — as did progeny by the imported Salomon, which went for up to 18,000gns.

The Charolais herd, built on 12 females bought from the Marden herd, has also seen high prices at Perth and Welshpool.

With more than 500 cattle on-farm and facilities bursting at the seams, the herd’s first production sale resulted in a then world record 50,000gns bid from Smiths of Bloxham for the pedigree Limousin maiden heifer, Bailea Umandy, whose daughter Ironstone Dumandy, among a long list of other titles, was supreme inter-breed champion at the 2012 Royal Welsh.

A full brother to Umandy is seen as an ‘exciting prospect’ for 2014, alongside a string of top class commercials in the pipeline following the purchase of the Black British Blue bull, Dragon Blues Factor.

The family sees the production of quality cross-bred cattle as an extension to its award-winning pedigree ventures.

Fancie, in fact, is out of their superb pure French-bred cow Florence and by a leading British Blue AI sire. She was bought by Irish father and son farmers, Robert and Mark McGiveron, of Cork.

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