A YARM breeder is celebrating after achieving the top price at two major bull sales with two "lucky" black bulls.

Rigel Discovery, from Rigel Pedigree, made 5,000gns at the Stirling Bull Sales and, just ten days later, Rigel Jarrow Poll, sold for 4,500gns at the Salers Cattle Society's Spring Sale at Welshpool.

Today the breed is predominantly red coated but black Salers are still bred in France where they originate from. There a black cow is often retained in a herd as it is thought to bring good fortune.

Messrs Pye, who own Rigel Pedigree, breed both colours to meet the preference of suckler breeders in different regions of the UK.

Terence Pye said: "Black or red Salers are equally strong in respect of ease of calving, growth rate and conformation, but batches of black cattle command a premium in a number of markets. Having black Salers has certainly brought us good fortune."

Attracted by their ease of calving, there has been strong demand for Salers bulls and in-calf heifers from commercial suckler farmers at the spring sales.

Discovery is by the Pye's own well-known bull Rigel Othello Poll, out of an Amazonien sired cow. He sold to J Wallace & Son, Newton Stewart.

Rigel Jarrow Poll was sired by Amazonien out of an Othello cow. He sold to Messrs Saunders, Caerphilly.

Messrs Pye also topped the female trade at Welshpool with a black polled in-calf heifer. Rigel Coco Poll sold for 2,500 guineas to W J Thomas & Son, Builth Wells.

Coco is sired by Casimir out of an Othello cow, and was sold in-calf to the homozygous polled bull, Rigel Munro Poll.

The Pye's black Salers all go back to Rigel Othello Poll, who they bred in 1997 using imported semen.

He is the most successful UK bred Salers bull in the 30 years that the breed has been here. He has more pedigree registrations than any other UK bred bull, and his progeny has been exported back to France and to Germany and Ireland.

Othello sired many top priced animals and show winners, and was himself twice champion male at the Great Yorkshire Show. He continued breeding until he was 14 years old.