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Ervie Herefords acheived a sale record of £8,200 at the on-farm sale of 40 young Ervie Hereford bulls on behalf of John Douglas and family, Kirkcolm, Stranraer. 

Sale topper was Ervie Advance 162146 by Ervie L1 Achiever 91151H and out of a Lisette cow with good performance recorded figures. 

Society Vice-president, Des Kelly, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, forked out the second highest price of £7000 for Ervie Advance 162151 another son of Ervie L1 Achiever 91151 and again out of a Lisette female.

The sale of these young outwintered, unpampered, rising two-year-old bulls was conducted by C and D Auctions.

Overall, 31 bulls sold to an average of £2,470 with volume buyers being Glenapp Estate, South Ayrshire who purchased ten.

Hereford bulls enjoyed a sharper trade and a good clearance of stock on offer at the Elite Breeders Sale in Dungannon market on Tuesday 13th February. The top price of 3,000 guineas was paid on three occasions and the average price for 11 animals sold was just under £2,600.

Champion on the day was Mark Moore’s Annaghbeg Domino sired by the home bred Annaghbeg Bruno (pictured right). No stranger to red rosettes - Domino had enjoyed a successful show season, taking Breed Championship awards at Omagh and Enniskillen Shows on his way to the coveted Horned Bull of the Year award. His entry into the sale ring brought a keenly contested battle of bids with the final call at 3,000 guineas.

Following closely behind were the two entries from the Graceland herd of Robin and James Irvine, both sired by Fisher 1 Jubilee. Graceland 1 Nigel (pictured left) - a Superior Carcase Sire who had stood second to the Champion in the judges line-up was knocked down at 3,000 guineas to join a leading beef suckler operation in Co. Tyrone. Next to reach the 3,000 guineas mark was Graceland 1 Pilgrim whose scale and muscling impressed the packed gallery.

Fingerpost Panache from Adrian and Sandra Irvine was another to attract favourable comment – sired by Trillick Hotspur he took second place in his class before going on to sell for 2,800 guineas. First time consignor to the Elite sale – Mrs K Greenaway had ‘a good day at the office’ – realising 2,700 guineas for Hilltop 1 Sunny sired by Graceland Giovani. The Reserve Champion, Corraback Larry (pictured right) - a stylish young bull from Mervyn and Henry Richmond and out of their successful stock bull Mara Flook sold for 2,400 guineas.

Mervyn Richmond commenting for the Elite Breeders group said, “The sale had produced a very satisfactory result and expressed his appreciation for the support from Bank of Ireland, R & J Lyness and W G Mills.”

British beef will be back on the menu in Beijing for the first time in more than two decades, Theresa May announced this week.

Speaking as she launched a three-day trade mission, the Prime Minister revealed UK beef would return to Chinese dinner plates and supermarket fridges for the first time since the 1996 BSE crisis.

Flanked by Chinese premier Li Keqiang, she said: “We have agreed new measures to improve market access in China and remove barriers to trade.

“This includes an agreement to make progress on the lifting of the BSE ban on British beef exports within six months and an agreement to allow exports of a broader range of dairy products from the UK to China.”

China is a key trade target with a population of 1.4billion people.

China has promised a "golden age" in relations with the UK and has said trade will not stop after Brexit. Mr Li confirmed that UK produce would be allowed in to "give the Chinese consumers more options in accessing higher-quality agricultural products".

Chris Mallon CEO of the NBA on hearing the news said, “The NBA are delighted at the prospect of new markets for British Beef. The lift of the ban on British Beef imports to China would be a fantastic step forward in forging new export relationships post Brexit.

China represents a huge opportunity for exporting both 5th quarter, essential for carcass balance and high end cuts to the top end of the market. China is one of the fastest growing markets for beef, in China last year consumption grew by 4% while domestic production only grew by 1% so there is an increasing reliance on imports. We hope British Beef will fill this quota and provide a traceable, quality product with high provenance.”

Details are now available for the Hereford Elite Breeders’ Sale on 13th February and potential purchasers are assured of a high quality offering with something to suit everyone. 

As well as a good selection of strong functional sires ideal for crossing in commercial beef and dairy herds this event features some of the stars of the summer show season which will appeal to the most selective pedigree breeder. 

Leading the line-up in pole position, Mullaghpoll Elite exhibited by Ciaran Kerr has been one of the most successful show animals in the Hereford breed for many years. ‘Elite’ was recently awarded the N.I. Hereford Bull of the Year award for the second successive year following a number of Breed and Inter-breed successes, culminating in the Beef Inter-breed Championship at the Clogher Valley show. He has been used successfully in the Kinnego herd and leaves some impressive progeny behind him. 

Another highlight will be the offering of the Horned Bull of the Year, a strong yearling from the Annaghbeg herd of Mark and Laurence Moore. 

Many of the exhibits are backed by impressive performance figures with a number eligible for the Hereford Society’s Superior Carcase incentive which is worth up to £500 to the purchaser. 

A spokesman for the Elite Hereford Breeders was delighted with the quality of the entry “We have a very interesting catalogue for this event and our breeders are really responding to the increasing demand for Hereford sires for quality beef production” 

Catalogues are available from David Smyth on 07808 078117 and can be viewed under the Online Sales Catalogue – please click Catalogue

All lined up and ready to go - the Elite Hereford breeders are offering a strong selection of quality bulls in Dungannon on Tuesday 13th February

Breeders braved the elements as a thick layer of snow covered Northern Ireland to take part in the Northern Ireland Hereford Breeders’ Association (NIHBA) Premier Show & Sale at Dungannon Farmers Mart. Twenty nine bulls and five females went under the hammer on Friday 19th January.

Taking the Overall Supreme Championship was John Taggart's home-bred Bull Carney Hill 1 Nectar (pictured right), this April 2016 born bull certainly impressed the judge on the day. ‘Nectar’ didn't disappoint in the sale ring either making 2,600 guineas and was purchased by Dickson & Sons of Drumquin.

The Reserve Overall Championship went to Nigel Heatrick's Black Water Napoleon (pictured below left), who went on to make the top price on the day of 2700 guineas and is now proudly owned by Derek McCrea of Bready, Strabane.


Other class wins went to Trevor Andrews from Larne with Mountview 1 Finn in the September 2016 Born Bull Class. Drumnamether McCaw owned by PJ Cully took first in the March 2016 Born Class with Glen Mortons Nancy 1 Angus 2nd winning a strong May 2016 Born Class.

Winning the Female Class was Ian McFadden with his smart October Born Heifer Bellshill 1 Nancy, she later sold for the top price female at 1900 guineas and was another top acquisition for Dickson & Sons of Drumquin.

Sale average in the day was £2,570 for bulls and £1785 for females despite a lower than expected turnout of buyers due to the adverse weather.

Class 2 1st Peter Cully Drumnamether McCaw 2nd John Conlon Drumatee Freeman 3rd JE RI & W Haire Dorepoll 1 Nashville

Class 3 1st J & K Taggart Carney Hill 1 Nectar 2nd DR Wilson Lisrace Lackey Boy 10th 3rd D R Wilson Lisrace Landlord 27th

Class 4 1st G Morton Nancy 1 Angus 2nd JE RI & W Haire Dorepoll 1 Navigator 3rd S Baxter Umgola 1 Impact 8th

Class 5 1st S & N Heatrick Black Water Napoleon 2nd S & N Heatrick Black Water Nelson 3rd A & A Armour Woodvale 1 Next Step

Class 6 1st T Andrews Mountview 1 Finn 2nd G & W Burleigh Benaughlin Fortune 3rd G & W Burleigh Benaughlin Norman

Class 7 1st I & J McFadden Bellshill 1 Nancy 2nd G & W Burleigh Benaughlin Lily 3rd P Beatty Tirelugan

Champion J & K Taggart Carney Hill 1 Nectar

Reserve Champion S & N Heatrick Black Water Nepoleon

Free uploads to BVDFree database

English beef and dairy farmers can have their Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) test results uploaded to the national BVDFree database without charge until the end of March*.

The offer is open to all farmers who are registered with the BVDFree England scheme and is available for all results uploaded by the following labs: APHA, Biobest, CIS and NML. Farmers can register with the scheme at bvdfree.org.uk. The aim is to grow the number of searchable BVD statuses on the existing 65,000 strong database.

Farmers don’t need to wait for the outcome of existing testing as they’re able to have any results from the previous 12 months uploaded.

Bill Mellor, BVDFree Chairman, said: “We can only eliminate BVD from the national herd if farmers test their animals and load their results onto the central database. By removing the cost, we hope this is the final encouragement farmers need to take part in this crucial scheme.

“With the busy spring sale period approaching, farmers can often command an additional premium for animals known to be BVD free as well as giving buyers confidence in the status of purchased animals.”

Farmers whose results are on the database can sell their animals with a known BVD status, which is especially important for those in the North of England as Scottish buyers require English animals to be tested for BVD.

*This offer is available for all results uploaded by the following labs: APHA, Biobest, CIS and NML.

For more information contact:
Eleanor Kane, AHDB Herd Health Project Manager
Tel: 0247 647 8726/ 07772 929898
Email: eleanor.kane@AHDB.org.uk

Pembrokeshire YFC Chairman is swapping the show ring for the saddle as she looks to complete a mammoth cycle challenge.

Non Thorne, from Tiers Cross YFC has decided to take on a unique challenge during her year as YFC County Chairman; by cycling from Haverfordwest to the NFYFC AGM in Blackpool.
The 250 mile journey will take four days to complete and Non will be joined by a team of keen YFC cyclists, dubbed 'Non's Riders'.

Miss Thorne said: "Each year the YFC County Chairman chooses their own unique challenge or fundraiser, and this year I thought I'd push the boundaries with an endurance challenge.
"Over 5,000 young farmers will descend on Blackpool for the AGM in May, most arriving by car, bus or train. However a group of us from Pembrokeshire YFC will by putting on our Lycra, pumping up our tyres and cycling all the way.

"I'm far more comfortable in the show ring with my Hereford cattle than on a bike, but this is what YFC is about: pushing yourself to try something new in a fun and friendly way.
"We will be raising money for Prostate Cymru, Wales Air Ambulance and Pembrokeshire YFC.

All donations would be greatly received, please head over to our JustGiving page or send directly to the Pembrokeshire YFC office or Non Thorne. Thank you in advance for all your support. 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/YFCBIGadventure

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/PembsYFCsBIGAdventure2018/

The second day of the British Cattle Breeders Club’s annual British Cattle Conference for 2018 saw Dr Matthew Cleveland fly in from the USA, to give a presentation on maximising profits through improved beef genetics, while grower, Andrew Ward, urged farmers to get involved in public relations. The Conference also saw the launch of new indexes for dairy cattle, with the 22-24 January event at Telford in Shropshire marking the BCBC’s 70th anniversary and carrying the theme of ‘Farming and Genetics – Let’s Inspire the Next Generation.’

Among the many options for differentiating beef in the marketplace, the most important were those which were measurable and demonstrated a real difference in value, said Dr Cleveland, who is the director of global beef product development for Genus.

“As breeders change their cattle genetics, they need to see an improvement and have a firm objective for the outcome which is linked to the supply chain,” said Dr Cleveland. “There are barriers to this type of improvement within the beef industry, because the benefits of taking action can be unclear.

“All of the parties along the supply chain need to perceive an advantage in any progress that is being made. Once stakeholders see its value, they will begin to demand greater genetic differentiation.”

The first steps were to understand the real value within the marketplace and define economically relevant traits, as well as deciding how performance data would be collected, he explained. The breeder should then create differentiation through a set of selection objectives, finally putting into place a targeted programme of improvements. Dr Cleveland argued the case for splitting objectives into terminal and maternal traits and basing matings on the information generated by this data. He added that the final stage for a tailored system of genetic improvement should include the aim of increasing profitability through each generation.

Lincolnshire farmer and founder of the Forage Aid charity, Andrew Ward described how the industry came together on several occasions where extreme weather caused problems for farmers. This included the forage shortage which occurred in 2013. Mr Ward also gave his views on the future, commenting on the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. However he also saw the move as an opportunity, stressing that producers had many more mouths to feed, compared with any other time in history.

“Big changes are definitely ahead, and we are already seeing some exciting developments, such as the robotic picking of fruit and vegetables in glasshouses and driverless tractors. But we are also facing threats from activists on subjects like chemical crop spraying, the bovine TB issue and the effect on human health from eating livestock products.

“More than ever before, we must tell our story and make sure the public receive accurate information about the way we farm. You would go to a doctor to learn about medicine and to a mechanic for problems with your car, so we must be proactive and encourage the public to come to us for advice on farming and not seek information from the vegan lobbyists, for example. Some anti-farming groups are highly active, especially on social media, and it is up to individual farmers to try and redress the balance,” said Mr Ward.

The group of more than 200 delegates also heard how four new dairy indexes for calf survival, carcase quality, lameness and feed efficiency will be added to the existing Predicted Transmitting Abilities published by AHDB Dairy. Announcing the launch, the organisation’s Marco Winters said that a range of data had been accessed, in order to produce the new information, which will start to be released from April.

“These four new traits for 2018 build on our progress and address some of the pressing issues the industry faces today,” said Mr Winters, who is head of animal genetics. “Farmers want to know which dairy calves have good survival, which daughters are less prone to lameness and which will convert their feed into milk more efficiently. Producers will also value the addition of carcase traits, particularly if they are rearing pure or cross-bred dairy beef.”
The BCBC wishes to thank the following major sponsors for their support: The event’s main sponsors are: Afimilk, Waitrose, Mole Valley Farmers, MSD Animal Health and AHDB. Other sponsors: ABP UK; Alltech; Asda; Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society; British Limousin Cattle Society; BVD Free; Caisley Eartag Ltd; DairyPro; Dovecote Park; Egenes; ForFarmers; Hereford Cattle Society; Neogen Europe; Shepherd Publishing; SRUC; VikingGenetics; Zoetis.

World leaders in the field of cattle genetics gave an overview of the latest technological developments on the first day of the British Cattle Breeders Club’s annual British Cattle Conference this year. The 22-24 January event at Telford in Shropshire marks the BCBC’s 70th anniversary and carries the theme of ‘Farming and Genetics – Let’s Inspire the Next Generation.’

AHDB’s head of animal breeding, Kim Matthews announced that a two-year genetic evaluation project to establish an index for tuberculosis resistance in beef cattle had recently got underway. It follows on from the AHDB Dairy’s world first, TB Advantage index, which ranks bulls according to their resistance to the disease. Other indexes, relating to susceptibility to diseases like ketosis and Johne’s, could follow, said Mr Matthews.

Gwyn Jones, AHDB Dairy Board chairman, stressed the need for producers to review their herd calving pattern, to ensure that their system maximised profitability. Processors had expressed concerns about milk supply post-Brexit and Mr Jones felt there was room for increased flexibility.

“The processors would like a level supply all year round, but we believe that does not necessarily mean that every farmer has to calve all year round. The supply of milk produced by a dairy farmer member who calves in the autumn, could be matched with a supply from another member who calves in the spring, for example.

“There are pros and cons involved with block calving, compared with calving all year round, and the choice solution depends on the individual business. But we are urging farmers to consider whether their production pattern is right for their farm in the current climate, rather than continuing with a specific system because it is a tradition. It should be a conscious decision.”

Abby Moran from SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College, told the audience that all cattle breed types were more profitable when finished on a 12-month system. The average beef and beef dairy cross animal of today took 24 months to finishing, while the figure for Holsteins was about 18 months. Reducing days to finishing was also beneficial for the environment, through the reduction of methane emissions.

“Our research shows that profitability can be improved by hundreds of pounds per head, by finishing cattle in a 12-month period, although that may not be a practical option for all farms,” said Mrs Moran. “However the advice is to reduce finishing times by as many days as possible.”

Professor Mike Coffey of the SRUC predicted that the continued development of genomic selection would slow down to a degree, but progress would remain steady.

“It could take a decade for genomic selection to be adopted on a global scale,” said Professor Coffey. “In the UK, we will see new traits coming in and new ways of predicting cattle performance. Two factors which will be evaluated are immune status and survival.

“There are a number of options for gathering data in the future. We could see farmers paid more for collecting information from their animals than they receive for their product; some beef producers are already paid a fee for measuring the feed efficiency of their herds.

“At SRUC, we have the technology to measure sheep feed intake efficiency, as well as a mobile CT scanner, which is used on sheep and pigs. Historically, testing meat for its eating quality has been expensive and that has prevented the practice from becoming more widely used. We are using one third of the national kill data, to develop a way of making it cheaper. Within the livestock industry, we have to ask ourselves whether we want to change by management, or become victims of change.”

The BCBC wishes to thank the following major sponsors for their support: The event’s main sponsors are: Afimilk, Waitrose, Mole Valley Farmers, MSD Animal Health and AHDB. Other sponsors: ABP UK; Alltech; Asda; Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society; British Limousin Cattle Society; BVD Free; Caisley Eartag Ltd; DairyPro; Dovecote Park; Egenes; ForFarmers; Hereford Cattle Society; Neogen Europe; Shepherd Publishing; SRUC; VikingGenetics; Zoetis.

hosted by the Pedigree Cattle Trust and supported by Glanbia Cheese

 Thursday 25 January 2018

7.30 pm to 9.30 pm

Seagoe Hotel, Portadown, BT63 5JE 

Guest speakers include 

Richard Sibley

A pioneering vet trialling early detection methods for bTB 

David Simpson MP 

Victor Chestnutt, UFU 

Fraser Menzies, DAERA Veterinary Epidemiology Unit 

Followed by tea/coffee and biscuits and the opportunity

to talk with colleagues about the current consultation paper 

Please click here to register by 12 noon on 24 January 

We have a very distinguished panel of speakers who will share their knowledge and experience with us and more details on them can be found below.

Please feel free to forward this email to other contacts you think would be interested in attending. 

Registration for this FREE event is essential and e-tickets will be available on a first come first served basis until 12 noon on Wednesday 24 January.  Simply click here or log into https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bovine-tb-conference-tickets-42076674466 to join us for what promises to be an interesting and stimulating evening.

Brian Walker
Chairman, Pedigree Cattle Trust 

Speaker Profiles

Richard Sibley, Vet

Pioneering vet, Richard Sibley has been carrying out research which may help eradicate bovine tuberculosis without a single badger being killed.

He is trialling two new tests, the first of these detects bTB in cows months before they test positive with the traditional “skin test”.  To find out if they are infectious, a second test detects bTB in dung, showing if a cow is “shedding” – spreading – the disease. If it is, the cow is slaughtered even though the conventional test suggests it is healthy.  He is also looking at ways to prevent the spread of the disease by changing the conditions in which the cows are kept and measures to ensure mothers are not passing the disease to new born calves. 

David Simpson, MP

 Upper Bann MP David Simpson is a senior partner in a highly successful business in the agri-food sector which has been operating for more than 30 years.  It currently trades in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, the EU and Far East.  He won the Upper Bann Westminster seat in May 2005 and retained the seat in the subsequent elections of 2010, 2015 and 2017.  He is the DUP Westminster spokesman on Business, Skills and Innovation and Environment, Food & Rural Affairs  and he also sits on the EFRA Committee. 

Victor Chestnutt, Deputy President, Ulster Farmers’ Union

Victor Chestnutt is a fourth generation farmer based on the North Antrim Coast, near the Giants Causeway. The family farm is run by Victor, wife Carol and son David. As a former Greenmount student Victor has shown a life-long commitment to farming. Firstly managing a sheep and suckler herd and producing feed for the livestock, rearing calves and undertaking a bull beef finishing system. Since then Victor has also introduced several pedigree beef herds: Aberdeen Angus; Charolais; British Blue and Limousin, and more recently a major decision was taken to extend the existing enterprises to incorporate a new dairy unit.  Victor’s farm is also well-known for pedigree Texel sheep which have been bred there since the early 1980s. Victor has held several UFU and industry positions, including; County Antrim group chairman, President of the Texel Sheep Society and chairman and co-ordinator of Causeway Coast Quality Lamb group

Fraser Menzies, DAERA Veterinary Epidemiology Unit

Fraser qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 1982 and spent five years in farm animal practice in Northern Ireland prior to joining the Scottish Agricultural College’s Veterinary Investigation Service after completion of an MSc.

He returned to Northern Ireland in 1990 to work as a veterinary epidemiologist at the then Veterinary Research Laboratories, Stormont.  His interest in population medicine has led to work across many species and diseases; from farmed salmon to badgers and from campylobacter in poultry to bovine tuberculosis. He obtained his PhD from Queen’s University of Belfast which investigated some of the economically important diseases of cattle (cause of bovine mortality, coliform mastitis and liver fluke). 

Fraser joined DAERA’s Veterinary Epidemiology Unit (VEU) at its formation in 2003, which he currently manages.  The bulk of VEU’s work revolves around the epidemiology of bovine tuberculosis and evaluating the risk and mitigation measures from preventing exotic animal diseases entering Northern Ireland.

The 2018 Hereford Breed President Jonathan Moorhouse, Cato Herefords will be well known to many Hereford breeders not just in the South West but across the UK.

He is an active member and past Chairman of the South Western Hereford Association and has represented the region on Council for the past six years.

Jonathan has judged many shows including the Society’s Autumn Show & Sale in 2010, the penultimate sale at the old Hereford Market, and at the Great Yorkshire Show in 2012 which, as a native Yorkshireman gave him immense pleasure. However, his greatest honour to date in terms of judging has to be the National Poll Show held in Moreton-in-Marsh in 2013.

A great advocate of the Hereford Breed, Jonathan together with his wife Rosemary, has been breeding Herefords since the mid 1990’s and in 2016 Cato Herefords were judged Best Herd in the South West. He has a strong desire to further develop the identity of the world famous Hereford Brand and will be available to discuss ideas with members at events up and down the UK on how best this can be achieved.

Elected as Vice-President for the year is Northern Ireland breeder, Des Kelly “Mullin Herefords” who farms in Ballygawley, County Tyrone along with his wife Colette.

Pasture-Fed Livestock Association seeks new chairman and appoints three new board members.

The Pasture-Fed Livestock Association (PFLA), which champions livestock farmers who produce high quality beef, lamb and dairy without feeding any grains to their animals, is seeking a new chairman.

John Meadley, who has led the Community Interest Company so ably since 2011, has now stepped down. The organisation is looking for a new chairman to build on the firm foundations he has developed.

This members’ organisation is now positioned to influence the future of UK Agricultural policy, as the value of wholly pasture-fed farming is increasingly recognised, bringing with it public goods such as better human health, animal welfare and environment and wildlife.

There is a growing membership of 320 individuals, mainly farmers – with 54 Pasture for Life certified farmers and 34 certified butchers.

The biggest challenges are to ensure the association is financially self-sustaining into the future and to grow the market for Pasture for Life food.

The organisation is seeking someone with gravitas, experience and a strong and visible passion and commitment to the PFLA, its mission and its strategic objectives.

The person will head a committed and professional board of directors that is actively engaged in taking the PLFA forward, and a membership that is keen to learn, innovate and be involved.

More details about this position are posted on the Pasture for Life website at pastureforlife.org - learn more – news articles. Or contact PFLA director Fidelity Weston on Romshed@weald.co.uk or call 07867 797116.

New directors welcomed
Three new directors were welcomed to the Board at the last meeting held in November; Laura Chapman, James Osman and Dr Angela Wright.

Laura is a former vegetarian turned believer in sustainably produced meat. With her husband Jonathan she raises Pasture for Life certified Red Ruby Devon cattle on the Hertfordshire/Buckinghamshire border. They have built up their herd over the past six years and retail the beef directly.

Laura has worked in London in real estate investment management for pension funds and aims to combine her commercial and administrative experience with her hands-on farming/retailing knowledge. She is particularly keen to help establish meaningful and regular pasture-fed supply chains.

James is a beef farmer from the Isle of Wight, where he runs a herd of Hereford cross Angus suckler cows, alongside a farm shop and café business at a National Trust tenant farm, with his mother and father.

Originally trained as an Environmental Scientists at Southampton University, James has spent the past six years working for the NFU. This has provided him with the key skills of lobbying, public speaking, media handling and policy development. He is also skilled in membership recruitment and will be putting some of these skills to good use while being a director of the PFLA.

Angela has been involved with the PFLA in a professional capacity as Chief Scientific Adviser for Compassion in World Farming, since 2014 and is passionate about the organisation’s members, goals and ethos.

Angela specialises in animal welfare, an area she believes the PFLA can use increasingly to position itself in the marketplace. She also has connections with organisations dealing with issues of food security and climate change, and hopes to promote the value of pasture-fed livestock as part of the solution.

In the past, Angela has been a small-scale producer of Norfolk Horn sheep, reared in a manner sympathetic to organic and Pasture for Life principles.

Fidelity Weston, Director, Pasture-Fed Livestock Association, Mobile: 07867 797116
Email: Romshed@weald.co.uk

Issued by:
Sara Gregson
Communications Director, Pasture-Fed Livestock Association
Mobile: 07768 764062 Email: sara@saragregson.co.uk

Despite the difficult driving conditions throughout many parts of the UK and particularly in Shropshire where several inches of snow fell the day before, the show was well attended with several groups making it over from Northern and Southern Ireland and others from as far afield as Denmark. The size of the crowd around the show ring was also boosted by the 2nd Designer Genes Sale which immediately followed the show which was conducted by Halls Auctioneers.

Moralee 1 Porterhouse (pictured right) from T & D Harrison, Stocksfield, Northumberland took the honours at this the 10th Annual Christmas Calf Show organised by the Hereford Cattle Breeders’ Association and held at Shrewsbury Livestock Mart.

This powerfully built, stylish young bull, 14 month old Moralee 1 Porterhouse first took the Grand Male Championship at the ever-popular event under the watchful eye of current Society Chairman Richard Mann, Spinney Herefords. ‘Porterhouse’ is out of Moralee 1 Kimberly and by Danish bred bull SMH King Size 87K. This is just the latest success for Tom & Di Harrison who have enjoyed a fantastic calendar year in both the sale ring and show ring and which justified the long journey down from Northumberland.

Standing Reserve to ‘Porterhouse’ in the Grand Male Championship was Bosa 1 John Hawkins from Herefordshire breeder G Blandford. Shown by experienced stockman Matt Gray, this eight month old bull is out of homebred dam Bosa 1 Margaret 847 and by game-changing stock sire Greenyards 1 Flynn.

Bosa Herefords were also awarded first place with calves sired by ‘Flynn’ in the Best Group of Three Calves by the Same Sire and Owned by the Exhibitor. To complete a successful day for Gerald Blandford, Bosa, were also judged to have the Best Pair of Heifer Calves Owned by the Exhibitor.

In Best Pair of Bull Calves Owned by the Exhibitor it was Derbyshire breeder A & SG Stevenson who took the plaudits with two well matched bull calves.

Other young bulls that came to the fore, in some extremely competitive bull classes, were the 2017 National Calf Show Grand Male Champion, 13 month old Blakesley 1 Major. Owned and exhibited by Leicestershire’s P Cobley, ‘Major’, who is out of multiple show champion Blakesley 1 Icicle and by thrice Royal Ulster Champion the prolific Solpoll 1 Dynamite took the class Bulls born November / December 2016.

Eleven month old Frenchstone P. 1 Hercules took the red rosette much to the joy of Richard Gray from LR & AM Ayre, South Molton in the class bulls born in January or February 2017. The powerfully built ‘Hercules’ is another animal sired by a Danish bull, this time by Moeskaer Magnum 1404 and is out of Frenchstone P. 1 D.Angela.

In the following bull class it was HighHouse Paddy from Worcestershire breeder JR Whitlow who caught the judges eye. Nine month old ‘Paddy’ is out of Border Roulette K32 and by homebred sire HighHouse Merlin.

In the youngest and last bull class of the day it was Romany 1 Prime Time BL P62 from Scottish Borders breeder JRB Wilson & Sons who came out on top. Shown by young Lottie Wilson this seven month bull calf is by Barwise 1 Lancer and is another top animal to come from the well known Ishbel female bloodline.

Taking the Grand Female Championship was the beautifully balanced Normanton 1 Enoki 5th, (pictured right) this followed on from her recent success at Agri-Expo where she took the Supreme Championship. ‘Enoki’ bred and exhibited by TD & WT Livesey, Leicestershire is out of Normanton 1 Enoki J874 and by 2016 Hereford Bull of the Year, the much vaunted Normanton 1 Laertes. Judge Richard Man went on to tap ‘Enoki’ out as his Reserve Supreme Champion much to the delight of ‘Team Normanton’.

Standing as the Reserve Grand Female Champion was Pulham Blossom 20th (pictured below left) from fellow Midlands & East Anglia Hereford Breeders’ Association member PRJ & LR Vincent, Diss, Norfolk. This attractive eleven month old female is all Pulham breeding; out of Pulham Blossom 10th and by Pulham Maverick. It wasn’t just the judge’s eye that she caught, as later in the day she was knocked down to S Taylor & D Marsh, Lancashire for 5,200gns at the Designer Genes Sale.

The spoils were shared amongst some other well known Hereford breeders in the remaining female classes. Breed stalwarts DE, ED & AL Jones, Powys took the class, best heifer born in either November or December 2016, with Dendor 1 Jennefer 19th. Thirteen month old ‘Jennefer’ is out of Dendor 1 Jennefer 12th and by another Danish bull, SMH Euro 30E.

In the March born class it was Blakesley 1 Nancy from J Riley, Northamptonshire who was awarded the red rosette. The Blakesley herd has produced some stunning females over many years and this latest edition is a fitting tribute to the late Mrs P Riley. Nine month old ‘Nancy’ is out of Blakesley 1 Kathleen and by yet another Danish bull, Aland Leopold.

Scottish breeders JRB Wilson & Sons picked another first prize card this time in the male section with eight month old Romany 1 Lucy BL P61. ‘Lucy’ is out of Romany 1 Lucy RE L18 and is sired by Barwise 1 Lancer.

In the final class of the day it was rather fitting that local breeders MJ & HM Timmis, Shropshire took the honours, as no other breeder has done more to support the Christmas Calf Show over the past 10 years. They came out on top with the young animal in the show six month old Shraden 1 Alice P828, who is out of Shraden 1 Alice E283 by the Scottish bred bull Baldinnie 1 Victory.

Throughout the day two age categories of Young Handlers were being judged from the side-lines by newly married couple, Scott and Isabel Coates. In the 16 and under age group it was another battle royal for the Soutter siblings who were representing Normanton Herefords, with Isla this time pipping her brother Finlay into second place.

In the Senior age group of 16-21 years it was Luke New from Fir Farm which took top spot with Iona Smith in Reserve.

Scott and Elizabeth then selected Isla (pictured right) as their Overall Young Handler Champion, which meant that Isla had collected the Young Handler Trophy for the second successive year!

• Highest priced Hereford female to ever sell at auction in the UK (11,000 gns)
• Second Highest priced Hereford female to ever sell at auction in the UK (10,200 gns)
• Highest averaging Hereford sale in UK history

The heavy snow did not deter the crowds and buyers at the 2nd Annual Designer Genes Sale held at Shrewsbury Auction Mart. A total of 19 lots were sold to average £5,062 and gross £96,185, making it the highest averaging Hereford sale in UK history. The sale also broke the record twice for the highest priced Hereford female ever to sell at auction in the UK at £11,550 and £10,710. The sale auctioneer was Jonny Dymond of Halls Auctions and the sale was organised and managed by Josh Dowbiggin.

Smashing the breed record was 16-month old heifer Sky High 1 Lâncome Lucy from B Birch & G Brindley. 'Lâncome Lucy' (pictured right) was Supreme Champion at the 2017 National Hereford Calf Show in Cirencester and also Intermediate Female Champion at the National Poll Show in September. She was also the first daughter of Dendor 1 Murdock to ever sell at auction. She was knocked down at 11,000gns (£11,550) to partners Gouldingpoll Herefords and Intelagri, Republic of Ireland.

Another Sky High female was not far behind her record breaking stable mate. Sky High 1 Danish Dream, (pictured below left) another 16-month old daughter of Dendor 1 Murdock, also breached the five-figure barrier when she sold for 10,200gns (£10,710) to the Bowendu Hereford herd of L & L Bowen.

The third and final Sky High female offered at the event was Sky High 1 Dainty Duchess. This October 2015 born heifer was no stranger to the Hereford World, being Supreme Champion at Shropshire County, Reserve Female Champion at the Royal Welsh and 3rd overall Hereford Female of the Year in 2017. Sold in calf to SMH Kingsize, she was knocked down to the Spartan herd of SC Hartwright for 7,500gns (£7,875).

The only female offered from the famous Moralee herd of T & D Harrison at DGS 2017 was Moralee 1 Kate 2nd. 'Kate 2nd' was Junior Female Champion at both the Royal Highland and Great Yorkshire shows in 2017 and is sired by Romany 1 Frisky A84 F57. Sold in-calf to the renowned Knightrider bull whose progeny have averaged over 4,000gns at auction, 'Kate 2nd' was sold to young Hereford breeder William Awan for 6,200gns (£6,510).

An exciting ‘Pick of the Heifer Calves’ lot was offered from the globally renowned Romany herd of JRB Wilson & Sons in the Scottish Borders. The herd offered the successful bidder the chance to pick from any of the heifer calves born at Romany from August 2017 to March 2018. The pick sold for 6,000gns (£6,300) to partners Gouldingpoll Herefords and Intelagri, Republic of Ireland.

The highest priced Horned female of the sale was Pulham Blossom 20th from PRJ and LR Vincent, Norfolk. Earlier in the day 'Blossom 20th' was crowned Reserve Female Champion at the HCBA Christmas Calf Show. Her pedigree combined genetics from the UK and Australia, making her very popular on sale day. She was knocked down to S Taylor & D Marsh, Lancashire for 5,200gns (£5,460).

Another heifer from Pulham Herefords was offered at the sale, this time from their Polled section of their herd. Pulham 1 Starlet 6th was the first daughter of Romany 1 Machine (son of 'Castro') to be offered for sale, and out of the famous Solpoll Starlet family. This March-born heifer calf was sold to Burs Farm Partners, Norfolk for 4,200gns (£4,410).

The debut entry for the renowned Dendor herd of DE, ED & AL Jones was 6-month old heifer Dendor 1 Anna Mary 34th. 'Anna Mary' was the first daughter of Dendor 1 Max to be offered for sale and her pedigree contained numerous breed changing sires including Gilbert, Euro and Vindicator. She was sold to DJ Powell for 4,800gns (£5,040).

A heifer from the Rempstone herd of M Ludgate was also offered at Designer Genes 2017. Rempstone 1 Tessa K462 was the first daughter of SMH Kingsize to be offered for sale anywhere in the world and out of the Dorepoll Tessa family. At just 10 months of age, 'Tessa' was knocked down to Ian Skea, Bennachie Herefords of Aberdeen, Scotland for 4,500gns (£4,725).

The Auckvale herd of W & R Kemp & Sons also offered a heifer at the sale. Auckvale Lively 1631P was a direct daughter of two-time Horned Female of the Year Auckvale Lively 1058H and the first daughter of Auckvale King-Maker to be offered for sale. This heifer is only the second Auckvale female to ever sell at public auction. She was sold to Burs Farm Partners, Norfolk for 3,800gns (£3,990).

Frenchstone P. 1 Harriet was the only heifer offered for sale from the Frenchstone herd of LR & AM Ayre in Devon. 'Harriet' was only the third daughter of Moeskaer Magnum to be offered for sale and a half-sister to DGS Hall of Fame heifer and Royal Welsh Female Champion Frenchstone P. 1 Get Real. She was knocked down to G Parry for 3,500 gns (£3,675).

Gerald Blandford also offered an in-calf heifer from his award-winning Bosa herd. Bosa 1 Elke 1007 is one of the first daughters of Greenyards 1 Flynn (son of Archie) to be offered for sale. Out of a Nationwide daughter, Elke 1007 boasted EBVs in the top 10% of the breed. She sold for 3,200gns (£3,360) to S & J Branch from Bristol.

Two females from the Moorside herd of G & MC Shepherd, Lancashire also sold at the sale. In-calf heifer Moorside 1 Jane 7th, a direct daughter of previous Polled Female of the Year, sold to Jimmy Hodge for 3,000gns (£3,150). The Shepherd family also offered Moorside 1 Mink 2nd H1 at Designer Genes, a 6-year-old cow sired by Nationwide. With growth and milk EBVs in the top 1% of the breed, she was knocked down to S & J Branch from Bristol for 3,000gns (£3,150). Her heifer calf has been retained at Moorside Herefords.

Mr & Mrs H Elliot of Cornriggs Herefords in County Durham also made their DGS debut at the 2017 sale. Cornriggs 1 Vanity 2nd, a September 2016 born daughter of 'Super Guy', had a pedigree stacked with world renowned sires like 'Storm' and 'Victor Boomer P606'. She was sold to young breeder Marcus Murdock from Northern Ireland for 3,000gns (£3,150).

A pregnancy from the current Hereford Female of the Year Dendor 1 Jennefer 15th was also offered from the Sky High herd. The pedigree pregnant recipient carrying an embryo from this world-renowned female was knocked down to M Barber for 2,600gns (£2,730).

Three embryo and flushing opportunities from international Hereford programs were also offered at Designer Genes 2017. A pick of the 2018 Embryo Inventory from Harvie Ranching was the first genetic lot to be offered, allowing the successful bidder the chance to pick 8 embryos from all of the flushes at Harvie Ranching next year. This lot was knocked down to Steven & Lizzie Walker, Hoghton View Herefords, Lancashire for £4,400.

A pick of the cow herd flush from RSK Farms in Manitoba, Canada was also up for grabs at the sale. RSK Farms won the title of Grand Champion Polled Hereford bull at Agribition 2017 so their genetics are certainly in demand this year. This offering was sold to GH Morgan, North Wales for £3,000.

The final lot of the day was a flush of breed legend female Harvie E Ms Firelfy 19Z from Iron Lake Ranch, Texas and Elkhe Herefords, Montana. This daughter of Victor Boomer P606 is one of the top donor females in the Iron Lake program. The flush was sold to joint buyers Harvie Ranching and RSK Farms.

The British Cattle Breeders Club’s (BCBC) annual two-and-a-half day conference for 2018 will host an exciting line-up of experts and farmers from around the world, who will speak on a wide variety of scientific and practical topics related to cattle breeding. The event will mark the 70th anniversary of the Club, which was formed in 1948.

To view the 3 day programme please Click Here

The move to encourage young people into farming has inspired the topics for next year’s Conference, which carries the theme of ‘Farming and Genetics – Let’s Inspire the Next Generation.’ The packed programme will begin at 1pm on Monday, 22 January, with AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) representatives giving an overview of its proposed post-2020 business strategies. It will be led by the organisation’s Adam Quinney and Gwyn Jones.

Later in the afternoon, Mike Coffey of SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College), who is the BCBC president, will examine how strategic breeding policies might address some of the long-term issues facing cattle producers. Delegates at the event in Telford, Shropshire, will also learn about the latest genetic developments planned for 2018, including carcase trait breeding values for beef and dairy, as well as feed intake recording for beef cattle.

Among the speakers on the Tuesday is Professor David Kenny, principal research scientist in ruminant nutritional physiology at the Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in County Meath, Ireland. His presentation will be based on the management of cows for optimum fertility.

Professor Kenny will point out that herd fertility and health are the main factors in determining suckler herd profitability. In Ireland, evidence suggests that more than 80% of heifer replacements fail to meet the target 24 months of age at first calving. In addition, the average interval between calving frequently exceeds 400 days and only eight out of every 10 spring-calving cows produce a calf within a 12-month period. He will outline a number of options which have the potential to improve performance and profitability.

Wednesday will see Professor John Dupre giving a presentation on the ethical issues which may arise following scientific advances in gene editing. He will dispel some of the myths surrounding the process and explain how the use of the hornless gene, for example, could improve animal welfare. He believes the technique will be available in the “not-too-distant” future.

The student presentations are always popular and on beef day, Orla Kelly will focus on the challenges posed by the management of a profitable suckler herd in the post-Brexit environment. Ms Kelly, an award-winning student at Queens University, Belfast, will give a presentation which suggests that the Beef Shorthorn is a breed which can command a premium and has a lot to offer in a future without support payments.

The dairy day line-up also includes North Yorkshire producer, Roger Hildreth, who will describe all aspects of milk production at Curlew Fields, near York, but with special attention paid to the breeding of heifers and genomic testing. His business is run with profit per cow place at the forefront of management decisions and the farm is one of the AHDB’s ‘Calf to Calving’ hosts.

Places for the 2018 BCBC Conference can be booked online at www.cattlebreeders.org.uk or contact the secretary, Heidi Bradbury on 07966 032079 or email her at heidi.bradbury@cattlebreeders.org.uk

The event’s main sponsors are: Afimilk, Waitrose, Mole Valley Farmers, MSD Animal Health and AHDB.