Tuesday 3 March 2020

Weather conditions did not put young members, parents or council members off attending the commercial day at Richard and Joanna Mann’s Ufton Hill Farm in Warwickshire.

The day kicked off with members viewing a bunch of cows and calves while discussing management and calf selection.

Members gained a great insight into the commercial system

A group of home grown pedigree Hereford heifers were then seen, some of which will be retained for breeding replacements and others were destined for the food chain. Richard explained his decisions were dependant on many factors including conformation, breeding lines and EBVs.

Alongside the 50 strong herd is a commercial enterprise of 800 cattle, purchased from Meadow Quality or sometimes local markets. A comprehensive list of their feeding regime, sire selection and calf weights provided by Richard sparked a constructive conversation on buying in calves, what to look for and the difference between a profit and loss. Vital information and knowledge was shared among members which provided food for thought.

Members were shown around the feed store and looked at ingredients which go into the ration. It certainly made some people think about proteins and feeding structures.

A lovely lunch provided a great opportunity for members and council members to integrate and discuss the day so far. The afternoon’s proceedings involved guest speaker and trainer Phil Parrot, who runs a successful butchers shop in Aylesbury. Clive Davies was also in attendance and the two worked together demonstrating cattle assessment. Phil explained what he looks for in a butchers’ animal and sparked a debate on carcase size and evaluation. Clive touched on the EUROP grid and explained the meaning behind it.

Two sets of four cattle were then presented for judging which posed an interesting array of concentrated faces. Many members have participated in stock judging classes but not ones in which they were assessing fat and store cattle for slaughter. Phil and Clive demonstrated different cuts of meat and gave their reasoning behind their own placings. The afternoon proved to be a success and each member took away something new from the exercise.

An impressive set up of buildings and management left an impression on all who attended that day. The opportunity is not often given to visit such a commercially run enterprise and UK Hereford Youth thanks Richard and Joanna Mann for their hospitality and insight into their farming business.

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