April 13, 2018 2018 Charolais Youth
South East, Anglia & South West Regional Qualifier
There was an early start to the qualifiers this year, as the weekend after Easter saw the first of the regional qualifiers take place for the South East, Anglia and South West regions on Saturday 7 April at Mortimers Farm, Fair Oak, Hampshire, by kind invitation of the Piper and Maclean families.
Mortimers Farm which established their Charolais pedigree herd in 1983 with the purchase of seven pedigree Charolais females from the Monymusk herd, is well known throughout the show circuit as Charlie and the boys take their show team all over the country. They have achieved considerable success in all age groups at National and County Shows including Overall Supreme Championship at the Royal Highland, South of England and The Royal Bath & West – to name just a few, and bred the last ever Royal Show Champion Mortimers Urovision.
In the sale ring the herd has had seven Perth sale female champions, five of whom were sired by homebred Mortimers Josh and their current record high priced, was the sale of Mortimers Echo for 10,000gns at Stirling in February 2011.
Quality is favoured over quantity and the Mortimers’ breeding objective has been to produce quality females and bulls for pedigree herds and the commercial farmer – focusing on ease of calving, conformation, temperament, milk and growth rates. A high health and welfare policy is paramount, and the herd is a member of the SRUC Premium Cattle Health Scheme and accredited for BVD, IBR and Johnes.
After the club AGM the stockjudging began with three classes to be judged, young heifers, cows and bulls, after which we tucked into the fine spread laid on by regional co-ordinator and host Karen Maclean, which included some very welcome warming soup. Lunch and the presentations were hosted in the beautiful period barn and when everyone had eaten their fill there was a chance to have a go at halter making with Graham Fishlock before a cattle dressing demonstration by experienced showmen Darren Knox of the Drumshane herd and host Charlie Maclean.
Before the presentation of prizes, the master judge 23-year-old Ruth Perry gave us a demonstration on how to give reasons and the young competitors had a chance to ask her questions about her choices and her experiences in previous stockjudging competitions. It was refreshing to have such a young master judge and the high scores achieved by the competitors proved that she knew her stuff.
Congratulations to all of the regional high scorers who go forward to the National final on the 21st July. For the South East region, Angus Maclean and Kirstie Torrance will represent the seniors with scores of 142 & 132 respectively. Donald Maclean and Matthew Ranson who scored 134 & 106 will go forward at the intermediate team and Holly Archer and Kiera Mason go forward for the juniors with scores of 141 and 138. For Anglia, team a are Naomi Jones and Ellie Knox who scored 127 & 125, team b – Toby Ranson and Hannah Knox – 102 & 123 and team c – Charlie Knox scoring 123 and William Heath. And finally, the South West will be represented by James Wareham, George Wareham, Emily Mitchell, Ben Trim, Tom Mitchell and Ali Wareham who scored 113, 102, 136, 134, 130 & 112 respectively.
Regional Qualifier Dates
Wales & Midlands
At Welshpool Livestock Sales, Buttington Cross, Welshpool, SY21 8SR, on Friday 27 April, commencing at 4:30pm.
At Borderway Mart, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA1 2RS on Friday 11 May, commencing at 7pm. Joint stockjudging with the British Blonde Society.
Yorkshire & North East
At Brampton Hall, Skelton on Ure, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 5AW, by kind invitation of Billy & Sarah Turner, on Sunday 20 May, commencing at 2pm.
At Firhills Farm, Arbroath, Angus, DD11 4RJ, by kind invitation of Jim & Alison Muirhead, on Sunday 27 May, commencing at 12 noon.
At Swatragh Mart, 46 Garvagh Rd, Swatragh, Maghera, BT46 5QE, on Friday 1 June, commencing at 5pm.
National Final & Open day
Kindly hosted by the Donger family at Seawell Grounds, Foxley, Towcester, Northamptonshire, NN12 8HW on Saturday 21 July 2018.
The event will begin at 9am with trailer tours of the cattle and holding, a presentation by Weatherbys on genetic DNA testing and a presentation of the value of using EBV’s for beef production. This will be followed by the Youth stockjudging final and open stockjudging at 12 noon. Lunch will be provided at 1pm, after which there will be presentations by Harbro and Keenan Feeders and a cattle dressing demonstration before the presentation of prizes at 4pm.
If you are travelling from Scotland or Northern Ireland, you may wish to consider flying into Birmingham Airport or getting the train to Birmingham International station. The Society will provide coaches on the day for return travel to and from the train station, which is just a 5-minute free monorail trip from the airport. The coaches will leave the airport at 7:30am and return at approximately 6:30pm. The fee for return travel will depend on the uptake but will be approximately £10 per head.
There are 150 open places for up for grabs, on a first come, first served basis, so if you would like to attend please could you let us know as places must be booked by Friday 1 June 2018.
March 17, 2018 Charolais continue the upward trend at Dungannon
There was great trade for Charolais at the Northern Ireland Charolais Club sale at Dungannon on Friday 16 March. The sale which had been postponed due to the bad weather at the beginning of the month, saw an 86% clearance, a 9% increase on last year. The 38 bulls averaged £3,285 which was up from last year’s equivalent by £367 for five more sold.
Leading the pack at 5,600gns and 5,000gns respectively were a couple of crackers from Jonathan Crawford, Maghera, Co Derry. The first Coolnaslee Manager, had been tapped out third in his class at the pre-sale show and caught the eye of O Jeffers, Cookstown, Co Tyrone. The August 2016-born Manager is sired by the 10,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Ratoary Ferguson, while his dam is the 30,000gns Dingle Hofmeister daughter Edenhurst Hrh, who was purchased from the Edenhurst dispersal in October 2015 for 8,000gns.
Mr Crawford’s 5,000gns bull was the reserve junior champion Coolnaslee Minto. Minto also boasts an impressive pedigree, being a son of 10,000gns Carlisle intermediate champion and Clogher show intermediate champion Ratoary Icebreaker and the 10,000gns Blelack Babe, who goes back to the 25,000gns Perth supreme champion and Royal Show junior male champion Thrunton Socrates. C Shaw, Carryduff, Belfast was the purchaser of this 15-month-old lad.
Two bulls secured a price of 4,800gns a piece and both came from Harold Stubbs & Alan Burleigh, Crummy, Co Fermanagh, who went on to sell a total of four to average £4,252.50. First up was the reserve supreme and reserve senior champion Derryharney Mustang, a 19-month-old who was the first to be purchased by the pre-sale judge Terry Coghill, on behalf of Mr Patterson, Feltigar, Orkney. The breeding here includes the 10,000gns Perth supreme champion Thrunton Bonjovi and the Balmoral Show supreme champion Goldies Carnival daughter Derryharney Hazel.
The next Stubbs and Burleigh consignment which also secured a 4,800gns bid was the class winning, September 2016-born Derryharney Muncher. Muncher who is sired by the proven high performing, short gestation and easy calving Blelack Digger is out of Derryharney Jazzystar, who in turn is sired by the Fintona male champion Derryharney Happyharry. He heads on to Stranocum, Co Antrim, to work for John McHenry.
J Smith, Randalstown, Co Antrim, was the next to snap up one of the Stubbs and Burleigh lots. The 18-month old Derryharney Mrmotivator, a son of the 22,000gns Newhouse Bigal and Thrunton Bonjovi daughter Derryharney Ipad, secured a bid of 3,600gns.
Selling in a 4,400gns deal to ED Sherrard, Belfast, Co Down, was a blue ticket winner from Will Short, Beragh, Co Tyrone. Woodpark Mcbeth is a November 2016-born son of the 14,000gns Goldies Usher
and Woodpark Idele, a daughter of the 9,500gns Stirling reserve senior champion Woodpark Gregg.
After his earlier purchase of the reserve champion, pre-sale show Judge Terry Coghill was again prepared to back up his judgement when he purchased the supreme champion Carrgene Muckian on behalf of Mr Featter, Westray, Orkney. An August 2016-born son of the Irish-bred Crossmolina Euro and the homebred Carrgene Gemma, a Major daughter, Muckian had also been awarded the overall male championship and senior male champion rosettes earlier in the day and secured a 4,200gns bid for breeder and consigner Eugene Muckian, Silverbridge, Co Down.
Next in the trade stakes at 3,700gns was the 16-month-old Dartonhall Milan, who is sired by the 12,000gns Maerdy Fiend. An entry from John Erskine, Killylea, Co Armagh, Milan’s dam is the 7,000gns Stirling female champion Vexour Galina, who goes back to the 30,000gns Dingle Hofmeister, he was purchased by J Martin, Staramore, Co Armagh.
Just behind at 3,600gns was an entry from Balfour Brothers, Bellanaleck, Co Fermanagh, who was purchased by ST Scott, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. The October 2016-born Clonatrig Max is sired by Doonally New and out of Blelack Digger daughter Clonatrig Ida.
Two bulls were knocked down at 3,500gns a piece with the first coming from Vincent Cunningham, Dromore, Co Down. Class winner Cunnsallagh Macduff is by the well-known AI sire Indurain, while the dam is Cunnsallagh Edna, a cow by the Balmoral Show M&S Beef interbreed winner Sandelford Bergkamp. The 20-month-old Macduff goes home to work in Stewartstown, Co Tyrone for K Watters.
Matching the 3,500gns price tag was the September 2016-born Killadeas Magna, who was tapped out second in his class, for breeders and exhibitors Stuart and David Bothwell, Ballina Mallard, Co Fermanagh. A Hillan, Broughshane, Co Antrim, was the man who forked out the cash for this son of the 16,000gns Stirling supreme champion Blackford Dynamite and Killadeas Bea, a daughter of the Omagh Show supreme champion and Royal Ulster Show reserve supreme champion Derrygiff Mills.
Following on at 3,400gns was Moorlough Marco. G Cutler of Florencecourt, was the successful bidder of this yellow-ticket winner and took him home to his Co Fermanagh-based unit. This 15-month-old lad from John McBride, Strabane, Co Tyrone, is by the 10,000gns Portadown supreme champion Moorlough Palo, while the dam is the Doonally New-sired Moorlough Hannah.
Another from John McBride was the first to secure the next highest price of 3,200gns. Moorlough Mecca, a 16-month-old, sired by the 12,000gns Maerdy Fiend and out of Moorlough Isla, who goes back to the 16,000gns Stirling junior champion and Caithness Show supreme champion Clyth Diplomat, was purchased by George Ewart, Killylea, Co Armagh.
The second to be knocked down at 3,200gns was a yellow-ticket winning entry from the aforementioned Will Short. Woodpark Minstrel, a 21-month-old who was purchased by S Campbell, Bellaghy, Co Derry, is a 2007-born son of the 19,000gns Doune and Dunblane champion Corrie Alan bred out of Woodpark Guinevere, a Begonia daughter.
A trio of bulls sold for the next highest price of 3,100gns and the first was Tullyconnaught Mel. The breeding here includes the 18,000gns Thrunton Fairfax on to the home-bred Tullyconnaught Daisy, who goes back to the 15,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Burradon Talisman. The September 2016-born Mel was another purchased by judge Terry Coghill, this time for Mr Ritch, Sandwick, Orkney from Mr James Pyers, Corbet, Co Down.
Also hitting the 3,100gns price tag was William Whyte’s Innisrush Magic from Portglenone, Co Antrim. Another Blelack Digger son this time out of Innisrush Gem, a daughter of the 55,000gns Balmoral Show interbreed champion Sportsmans Columbo, this September 2016-born lad caught the eye of Michael Mullin, Dungannon, Co Tyrone.
Another to secure 3,100gns when knocked down to Michael Quinn, Cookstown, Co Tyrone, was the 16-month-old Glenramble Mark, an entry from Thomas O’Neill, Claudy, Co Derry. Mark is sired by the 12,000gns Carlisle reserve senior champion Wesley Equinox, while the dam is the Dromiskin Viceroy-sired Glenramble Honey.
Another trio secured matching price tags, this time at 3,000gns a piece. Derryharney Murray from the above-mentioned Harold Stubbs and grandson Alan Burleigh was the first, and was purchased by G Campbell, Dungannon, Co Tyrone. Murray is bred from Thrunton Bonjovi daughter Derryharney Imlucky, sired by Goldies Eddy and was 17-month-old on the day of sale.
The second 3,000gns bull was the October 2016-born Drumacritten Marcus, who goes home to work in Downpatrick, Co Down, for his new owner C Montgomery. Marcus is sired by the 16,000gns Stirling junior champion and Caithness Show supreme champion Clyth Diplomat, is out of Drumacritten Angel, a Lisnalurg Ignot daughter and secured a yellow rosette for vendor George Nelson, Rosslea, Co Fermanagh.
Matching the 3,000gns price tag was a class winner from the O’Kane Bros of Lower Ovill, Co Derry. Ovill Mahon who is a 16-month-old lad out of the 55,000gns Balmoral Show interbreed champion Sportsmans Columbo daughter Ovill Gwynne, and sired by the home-bred Ovill Instant went home with an undisclosed bidder.
The female section was topped by the female champion at 3,100gns. The 21-month-old Brogher Mygirl from Mr T Phair, Bellanaleck, Co Fermanagh was purchased by Andrew Dunne, Kinawley, Co Fermanagh, for his 2014-established Charolais herd. Mygirl is another sired by Blelack Digger and out of the Lyonsdemesne Tzar daughter Brogher Fancygirl.
Averages 38 bulls £3,285, 2 heifers £2,250
Auctioneers: Dungannon Farmers Mart
Sponsor: Danske Bank
Judge: Terry Coghill, Birsay, Orkney
March 10, 2018 Modern Charolais meets market demands
With hard work, and a commitment to producing quality home grown meat, the Blyth family from Hartlepool has seen demand for their beef and lamb though their butcher’s shops grow year on year. We talk to them to find out the secret behind their success.
Neil Blyth, is part of a family enterprise that currently runs two successful butcher’s shops in Hartlepool as well as a 500-acre beef, sheep and arable enterprise at Middleton House Farm.
“There’s no secret to our success,” says Neil. “Dad started with his first shop in the 1980’s, and it’s been a lot of hard work to get where we are today. To succeed, we’ve needed to be aware of what our customers want, and we’ve changed our farming methods to meet these. Obviously, we’re in a position where we have an integrated business, and this gives us valuable insight into our end consumer as well as an opportunity to adapt to ensure market demand.
“It’s been an important selling point, and a principle of our business, to produce the beef and lamb that we sell. That way we have the control over the product. We’ve built our business on supplying locally produced, home grown, quality meat.
“We’ve tried different breeds over the years in order to get the most out of a carcase – and supply quality meat to our shops. We need to ensure we have good cover on the carcase to enable us to hang it for up to 28 days. Our aim, as a butchery business, is to use as much of the carcase as possible, from the inexpensive cuts to the high-end sirloin steaks, so quality throughout is vital if we want to meet the needs of all our customers.”
The farm currently produces three to four beef animals a week for their shops and, with changing tastes, Neil has found the modern Charolais to be the best suited for his marketplace.
“The carcase we’re currently producing for our trade is smaller than many years ago, but it makes up for this with its efficiency. These animals are very cost effective from both a farm business perspective, and from shop sales.”
Neil’s cattle are reared on a suckler system, which he believes produces the best meat for the market. “It’s such a natural system, and we strive to produce all the feed on our farm so we’re self-sufficient. This year, we’ve grown about 150 acres of crops – oats, barley, wheat and beans to get some home-grown protein. We’ve also rotated with rye and brassicas to ensure a range of alternative forages extending our grazing season. We feed a TMR throughout the winter months to ensure good growth, and work with a nutritionist to ensure a balanced and nutritious ration.
“We calve 80% of our herd in the spring to utilise grazed grass, and give the cows and calves an environment in which they thrive. The 350-head herd is made up of Charolais, Saler and Simmental crosses, which are put to our homebred Charolais bulls.” Neil AI’s all the heifers, and calves them down at two years old.
“We keep all the resultant calves, and regularly weigh the animals to assess gains and conformation. What’s important, for our business specifically, is ensuring consistency, and we get this with the Charolais.
“We aim to finish the heifers at 320-380kg deadweight, and the steers at 350-400kg deadweight. The impressive thing about these Charolais crosses is their ability to convert feed to growth and the ability to produce a high yielding -quality carcase for the market. Having sufficient cover has become even more crucial for our business, as we’ve recently invested in a dry aging cabinet, where the fat cover is vital to encase the meat for a minimum of 28 days. Without it, the meat would lose its succulence and our sales would suffer.
“From experience I believe the Charolais is suited to many systems, and the modern breed offers farmers an opportunity to produce cost-effective beef for the current marketplace. As a farmer, you want to rear high quality, healthy animals that grow well and sell well – the Charolais does this.
“Looking ahead I’d like to see suckler beef branded in the UK as I feel this offers greater marketing opportunities, and potentially a price premium. The retail trade should recognise different rearing systems, and price accordingly. Suckler beef is reared predominately on a non-intensive grass-based system, and I believe this is what the consumer wants. I think we could see a change in payments – with bonuses for marbling scores, as well as for grades.
“I’m very confident about the future demand for quality UK-produced red meat – we can produce it so efficiently in the UK and to a world class quality,” he concludes. “I believe consumers are becoming more and more aware of the food they eat, and how it’s produced, and that this offers great opportunities for the future.”
The Harman awards were Presented by Society Vice-chairman and award founder Ben Harman at the Stirling sale on Tuesday 20th February, who commented “The Self Replacing Index (SRI) is one of the key measures of genetic progress in British Charolais Cattle, and the Harman awards recognise those herds with the greatest % age improvement in SRI over the previous 12-month period. I am delighted that such well-established herds have won the awards in each region this year, between them, the four herds boast 131 years of experience breeding British Charolais. This demonstrates that the inclusion of performance data can enhance even the most experienced breeders’ businesses.”
“The requirement for accurately recorded performance data is driven by our customers, the commercial beef producers, who recognise the extra value of Charolais sired cattle in the store markets and abattoirs the length and breadth of the UK. Breedplan performance data helps our customers identify the type of Charolais which best suit their needs, this data combined with visual assessment of potential bulls ensures that the crossing men can choose bulls which will give them the maximum return for their enterprises. This in turn ensures that those customers will return time and again to buy Charolais which have been proven in study after study to outperform all other breeds as a terminal sire.”
The overall and Scottish regional winner was the 20-cow-strong, Stirling based Falleninch herd of Andrew Hornall, which showed an improvement of +9.8 on SRI in the past 12 months, ending the year on an average of +41.
The Falleninch herd, which was established in 1973, joined the Breedplan scheme when it was adopted by the society in 2007, recognising the importance recording would have to the improvement of the herd.
Andrew, a 3rd generation Charolais breeder who farms 300 acres of permanent grass across two holdings, grazes 250 commercial cattle per year on a New Zealand-style grass grazing system and the high-quality beef produced supplies his Falleninch Farm butchery business. His main focus is on strong maternal traits which ensures that his Falleninch Herd is a regular and successful exhibitor at shows and sales.
Andrew said “I am really pleased to be awarded the top spot in this great competition, which through its selection process helps to enhance the integrity of the Charolais breed. Our purchase of Fairway Jefferson has helped us achieve our improvement this year and our customers seem to think so to, as his first son sold for 12,000gns at Stirling last week.”
Runners-up were the English regional winners Jeremy, Ala Price, Mia and Ryan Price with a yearly SRI Improvement of +9.3 and a total average of +59 for their Herefordshire herd. The Price’s Oakchurch herd is comprised of 20 cows with females kept as replacements and bulls sold for breeding.
In order to monitor performance, Jeremy started recording as soon as he set up the herd. He says “I find if you enter accurate data, you get useful information back. People always want an idea of what they are buying, and performance recording really helps with that.”
Mr Price focuses on growth rates and says that calving ease is essential with the commercial producer in mind. He says “We aim for cows that give birth unassisted, have a short gestation period, do not suffer losses and produce calves with good growth rates and conformation. At the same time, we are also aiming for a bit more fat depth.”
Heading up the Northern Ireland pack was the Coolnaslee herd of Jonathan Crawford, whose father the late Gilbert Crawford established the Charolais herd in 1993. Managed by Stuart Wilson the Maghera-based unit has shown a twelve-month improvement of +8.2 and their total average is +39.7.
Also joining Breedplan in 2007 Gilbert, who was always keeping an eye out for new opportunities to develop his herd, knew how to push the boundaries, with others benefiting from his experience and also working to keep pace and move with the times.
Jonathan is keen to keep moving with the herds progress and commented “I am very proud to accept this award on behalf of our herd. Breedplan is a great system and it shows our buyers just what their getting when the purchase a Coolnaslee bull. The purchase of the Stirling reserve champion Balthayock Justice has really made a difference to our calving ease figures. He now has 50 progeny on the ground and a calving ease score of +23.4 which puts him in the top 1% for the breed.”
A SRI Improvement of +7.1 and a total average of +39.9 saw Esmor Evans’ Flintshire-based Maerdy herd awarded winners of the Welsh region. The 1973 established herd who recently announced the £25,000 sale of the 18-month-old Maerdy Morwr, also joined Breedplan early on and has moved from strength to strength with their 140-cow pedigree herd based on a 1000ft hill farm.
Esmor said “We have been striving for an improvement in the calving figures which are important to us as breeders and also to our customers, both pedigree and commercial. The influence of Blelack Fabulous, whose four son’s averaged just over £11,000 at Stirling, has help us achieve this improvement in calving ease and his progeny are also scanning well with good muscle area. Our other stock bull, the French-bred Maerdy Gouverneur has also proved to be a very good calver and six of the eight bulls we sold last week were by these two influential sires”.
March 1, 2018 £2,000 increase on Charolais average at Aberdeen
A combination of pedigree and commercial interest saw a solid trade of Charolais bulls at the Royal Northern Agricultural Society Spring Show on Wednesday 28 February. Bidding peaked at 8,200gns and 11 lots sold to an average of £6,252, a massive £2,082 up on last year’s trade.
Topping the Charolais lots at 8,200gns, was C and E McCombie’s Auchincrieve Montreal from Huntly, Aberdeenshire, whose herd also saw the best average of the day at £7,070 with two more high priced lots finding new homes. Montreal, an April 2016-born son of Olrig Highwayman and the Sang-D’or-sired Auchincrieve Fiona, was purchased by E Innes and Son, Ballindalloch, Banffshire.
Commanding a 6,200gns bid from Haddo House, Ellon, Aberdeenshire, was the red-ticket-winner Auchincrieve Mclovin. This 21-month-old entry from the same home as Montreal is also sired by Olrig Highwayman, his dam is the 38,000gns Perth reserve junior champion Goldies Champion daughter Harviestoun Golddust.
The reserve champion Kinclune Marco from JA Wilson and Sons, Glenkindie, Aberdeenshire, was next in the trade stakes and the first of two to sell for 8,000gns. Sired by the 20,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Beechtree George and out of Kinclune Gemma, a Maerdy Boom daughter, the 22-month-old Marco stayed local when purchased by G Wilson and Son, Glenkindle, Aberdeenshire.
The Wilson’s, who sold a total of three to average £6,125 had another Beechtree George son in the money, this time out of the home-bred 20,000gns Perth supreme champion Thrunton Crownprince daughter Kinclune Gloriana. The July 2016-born Kinclune Montgomery attracted a 5,000gns bid from C Addison, Ellon, Aberdeenshire.
The second to be knocked down at 8,000gns, was the June 2016-born Tonley Mahez who had been awarded a yellow ticket earlier in the day at the pre-sale show, for breeders and exhibitors NA Wattie, Alford, Aberdeenshire. C Smith, Dunecht, Westhill, was the man with his hand in the air when the hammer came down on the Blelack Forbes-sired Mahez, bred out of the 15,000gns Goldies Dynamite daughter Blelack Glamourpuss.
Two bulls came under the hammer for 5,800gns with the first being the yellow ticket winner and March 2016-born Auchincrieve Maximus, consigned by the aforementioned C and E McCombie. He is no stranger to the show ring having been awarded second prize calf at Stars of the Future in November. Another by Olrig Highwayman and from Blelack Thelma who in turn is sired by the 15,000gns Maerdy Oxo, he was purchased by Firm of AAY, Thurso, Caithness.
The second call of 5,800gns was paid by M and I Steel, Banchory, Kincardineshire, for the 20-month-old Bonnykelly Mark, who was tapped out second in his class earlier in the day. Mark who is sired by the 10,000gns Carlisle reserve intermediate champion Gretnahouse Ivory and out of Bonnykelly Freda who goes back to the New Deer Show champion Newhouse Challanger, was bred and exhibited by R Leggat, New Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire.
The Steel’s were in a buying mood and snapped up another lot from Mr Leggat for 5,000gns, this time the class winning Bonnykelly Magnum. Magnum who was crowned champion at the New Deer show at just 13 months old, is a 20-month-old son of Kersknowe Clansman and Bonnykelly Fern, a daughter of New Deer Show champion Newhouse Challanger.
The third lot to cash in a 5000gns was the day’s champion from AN Reid, Hill of Logie, Aberdeenshire. Purchased by F and J Whyte, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, Foundland Magistrate who boasts some top-class pedigree breeding behind him is sired by the 16,000gns Perth Junior Champion Clyth Diplomat, who has previously bred sons to 16,000gns. His dam line is no less impressive, out of Foundland Helen who has bred bulls to 7,500gns, her sire being the 26,000gns Maerdy Amontillado who has bred a Highland Show Champion and her grandsire is the 25,000gns Highland Show champion Maerdy Impeccable.
Averages: 11 bulls £6,252
Auctioneers: Aberdeen and Northern Marts
February 21, 2018 Charolais lead the Spring trade
Charolais took the top price, made the highest average and sold the most bulls of all the breeds at this year’s spring sales, when commercial buyers drove the flying trade at Stirling on Tuesday 20 February. Bidding peaked at 46,000gns, 22 lots traded at five figure sums and 115 bulls sold to an average of £7,635 a whopping £1,514 increase on last year. Clearance rates were also up on the year by 6% to 88% for four more sold.
Commenting on the sale the BCCS chairman Chris Curry said, “Over the past twelve months the demand for Charolais bulls at society sales has increased dramatically, showcasing the resurgence of faith in the breed. There was no shortage of commercial traders in the market for a Charolais bull today and willing to pay top prices for them. For the first time we have seen a significant number of the five figure selling bulls finding commercial homes, driven no doubt by the fact that Charolais sired suckler calves are topping the markets on weight for age. The commercial marketplace is looking for a breed that will tick all of the boxes, finishing quicker with lower costs and greater profits.”
United Auctions cattle Auctioneer Murray Raine backed up the Chairman’s comments by saying “It was a pleasure to sell the Charolais today, the vibrant trade is a reflection of the demand for Charolais sired store cattle in the market presently and that’s why we have seen commercial buyers here today willing to pay up to 16,000gns for their choice of bull”.
Star attraction at the sale was David and Nick Walter’s supreme and senior champion Balthayock Minstrel. Sired by the Kirrimuir Show champion Balthayock Ferdinand and out of Barbican Lancer daughter Balthayock Gem, the May 2016-born Minstrel attracted a 46,000gns bid from Bill Bruce, Meigle, Perthshire, who shared the purchase with Neil Barclay, Insch, Aberdeenshire.
Breeder Major Walter is a stalwart of the breed who purchased his first Charolais bull 5,700gns at the very first public auction of Charolais cattle at the Royal showground in 1969. The pedigree herd now has over 110 breeding females with an additional 150 sucklers mainly served by homebred Charolais bulls whose progeny are sold as yearlings at Stirling. “I am delighted with the trade we have experienced today, not only for myself but for the breed as a whole. Since the introduction of the ABRI recording system we have been able to achieve a considerable improvement to the herd and place particular emphasis on calving ease and live weight gains while improving eye muscle area and scrotal circumference in our bulls and milk yield in our females.” Major Walter said. “As a pedigree breeder you have highs and lows and the sale was certainly one of those highs made possible by the wonderful team we have here at Balthayock”.
Judge Arwel Owen commented that, “Minstrel oozed presence and Charolais character from the moment I set eyes on him and that is why I chose him for my Champion. His functional correctness was amazing for such a powerful bull, he is a true out and out breeders bull. Subsequently following the judging and looking at the catalogue, it gave me great pleasure to see a bull with such fantastic data followed by a fantastic cow family that’s already delivered in 2017 show season with the highland show reserve female champion”.
A total of nine Balthayock bulls changed hands to average £15,633 and Arwel went on to say “There were three outstanding stock bulls forward from the Balthayock herd. The other two being Balthayock Manifesto who I placed second in his class to the champion and Balthayock Mandate, the reserve senior champion.
Balthayock Manifesto was also in the money for Major Walter at 19,000gns, purchased by Peter and Sheelagh Donger, Towcester, Northamptonshire. Bred from Swalesmoor Cracker daughter Balthayock Finesse, the May 2016-born Manfesto is sired by the Highland Show supreme M and S interbreed champion Balthayock Imp.
Next in the trade stakes for the Major at 16,000gns, was the reserve senior champion Balthayock Mandate, a 21-month-old son of the 20,000gns Royal Welsh Show supreme champion Maerdy Grenadier and out of Balthayock Gold who goes back to Swalesmoor Cracker. He goes home to work with HR and C Dalrymplre, Ballantrae, Ayrshire.
Adding to the Walter’s celebrations, they also received 14,000gns for another Balthayock Imp son. Class winner Balthayock Mikado who was purchased by James Jeffrey, Kelso, Roxburghshire is an April 2016-born out of Balthayock Heaven, a Swalesmoor Cracker daughter.
D Taylor of South Ronaldsay, Orkney purchased the Major’s final five figured bull at 10,000gns. The 20-month-old Balthayock Morgan, is a son of the Braco Show champion Ugie Echo and home-bred Barbican Lancer-sired Balthayock Ira.
The aforementioned Neil Barclay’s Harestone herd was another to enjoy a great trade and sold eight bulls to level at £9,975. The first, a 22-month-old class winner, selling at 18,000gns was purchased by French breeder Gaec Godet Retailleau, of Sevremont. Harestone Monarch is the by the Royal Show junior champion Thrunton Socrates, while the dam is Shropshire-bred Trefonnen Ffion, a cow by the 14,000gns Allanfauld Superscot.
Another class winner from Mr Barclay went on to sell 13,000gns. The June 2016-born Harestone Master Is sired by the 18,000gns Thrunton Fairfax and out of Blelack Gemma, a 15,000gns Goldies Dynamite daughter. P Cooper and Son, Kincaldrum, Angus were the purchasers.
Mr Barclay went on to sell another high-priced bull, this time making 12,000gns for his yellow-ticket-winner Harestone MacGregor. L Forester and Son, Hexham, Northumberland, were the buyers of this 17-month-old son of the 25,000gns Stirling intermediate champion Inverlochy Ferdie and Harestone Tyrol-sired Harestone Francine.
The 19-month-old Thrunton Montego from JHC Campbell and Son, Alnwick, Northumberland, was the next five-figure bull to sell. He boasts an impressive pedigree being sired by the 26,000gns Maerdy Hearthrob and out of Thrunton Goldcrest who goes back to the 26,000gns Stirling senior champion Balmyle Dickler. The man behind his 16,000gns final bid was CA Smith, Tarland, Aberdeenshire.
Just behind at 15,000gns was another Maerdy Hearthrob son, this time offered for sale by RM Adam and Son, Glamis, Angus. Newhouse Maxamus who had been tapped out as reserve intermediate champion twenty-four hours earlier, is a July 2016-born son of Newhouse Geisha, a daughter of the 28,000gns Perth supreme champion Brampton Nacodar and goes home to work in Co Down for the Ballynahinch-based Connolly family.
The reserve supreme champion and August 2016-born Maerdy Montypython, was the first of four top priced lots to sell for Flintshire Vet Esmor Evans, who sold a total of eight for an average of £8,990. Jeremy Price liked the look of this one and paid 14,000gns to take him home to Staunton-on-Wye, Herefordshire. His sire, the 10,000gns Blelack Fabulous was also a reserve senior champion at Stirling, while his dam is the Begonia-sired Maerdy Goddess.
Esmor’s next highest priced and selling in a two-way split to a couple of breeders from across the water at 12,000gns, was the 16-month-old Maerdy Maesmor. Maesmor is sired by the French-bred Maerdy Gouverneur and out of Maerdy Dynamite daughter Maerdy Iod. Jonathan Crawford, Maghera, Co Derry and Will Short, Omagh, Co Tyrone were the partners who purchased him.
Also in the money for Mr Evans was the red-ticket winner Maerdy Maosglas, who sold in an 11,000gns deal to B Keir and Son, Alford, Aberdeenshire. The August 2016-born Maoglas is out of the 16,000gns Stirling junior champion and Caithness Show supreme champion Clyth Diplomat daughter Maerdy Grug and sired by the above-mentioned herd sire Blelack Fabulous, who has bred sons to 28,000gns.
Adding to Esmor’s celebrations, he also received 10,000gns for the October 2016-born Maerdy Maldwyn, who stood second in his class at the pre-sale show. Another Blelack Fabulous son, this time out of the Maerdy Blackout-sired Maerdy Daphne, he was purchased by H Stewart, Lybster, Caithness.
Two bulls were knocked down at 12,000gns a piece with the first coming from RS McAskie, Keith, Banffshire. Staying local when purchased by WR Simmers and Sons, also from Keith, Strathisla Major is an 18-month-old son of the 11,000gns Carlisle senior champion Southwillow Hal and 19,000gns Doune and Dunblane champion Corrie Alan daughter Strathisla Hope.
The second 12,000gns bid came from A Strachan, Brechin, Angus for the August 2016-born Falleninch Mars. The 18-month-old Mars, who was crowned senior breed champion and reserve interbreed champion at Stars of the Future in November for breeder and exhibited Andrew Hornall, Stirling, Stirlingshire, is out of a previous Stars of the Future show interbreed champion Falleninch Isabella and sired by Fairway Jefferson.
Following on at 11,500gns was the June 2016-born Ballinlare Midas from J Wilson and Sons, Newry, Co Down, who stood third in his class on Monday. T Howden and Son, Balerno, Mid Lothian, were the winning bidders of this 11,000gns Burradon Goodfellow and 55,000gns Balmoral Show interbreed champion Sportsmans Columbo-sired Ballinlare Harmony son.
Matching the 11,000gns price tag and also receiving a blue ticket in the pre-sale show, was an offering from WK and P Drysdale, Blairgowrie, Perthshire. Glenericht Mecca, a 17-month-old son of the Highland Show and Royal Show interbreed champion Fleets Vibrant and 12,000gns Caylers Gladiator daughter Glenericht Jen was purchased by D Muirhead, Arbroath, Aberdeenshire.
Four further bulls were knocked down at 10,000gns a piece, with the first coming from Hamish Goldie, Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire. Goldies Marshall, who is sired by the 12,000gns Carlisle reserve senior champion Wesley Equinox, was tapped out first in his class and the 20-month-old is out of Goldies Hippy, a daughter of the proven high performing, short gestation and easy calving Blelack Digger. He goes on the Brechin to work for W Mather and Sons in their Angus holding.
Another to bring 10,000gns when chapped down to A and J Wilson, Insch, Aberdeenshire, was Hamish Goldie’s blue ticket winner Goldies Mercedes. The August 2016-born is by Blelack Blackberet who sired the 2017 Royal Highland Show and Yorkshire Show junior champions. His dam is Goldies Hifi ET who is out of a full sister to the 34,000gns Goldies Uppermost and goes back to the 14,000gns Perth reserve senior champion Goldies Banker.
Also Commanding a 10,000gns bid was the Loganbar Interpol-sired Loganbar Magnum. J and W Wilson, Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, were the winning bidders of this July 2016-born son of the 12,000gns Balmyle Addition daughter Loganbar Ellenour on offer from Murray Lyle, Dunblane, Perthshire.
The final lot to make five figures was the 16-month-old, reserve junior champion from consigner Mark McGahan of Glossop, Derbyshire. Chunal Maverick who is sired by Harestone Hercules and out of home-bred Chunal Heather who goes back to the 28,000gns Perth supreme champion Brampton Nacodar, was snapped up for 10,000gns by RM Adam and Son, Glamis, Angus.
Leading the bids for the small consignment of females at 7,000gns was the June 2016-born Goldies Madame, who had been awarded the female championship at the pre-sale show for breeder and exhibitor Hamish Goldie. Madame who is a daughter of the top performing 15,000gns Gretnahouse Heman and bred out of Goldies Goldengirl, a Goldies Ambassador daughter, caught the eye of K Earle, Penybont, Carmarthenshire.
Averages: 115 bulls £7635; 14 heifers £3,684.
Auctioneers: United Auctions
February 12, 2018 Maerdy Morwr finds a new home in Aberdeenshire
Flintshire Vet and renowned Charolais breeder Esmor Evans is delighted to announce that he has recently sold the 18-month-old, Charolais bull Maerdy Morwr from the farm gate for the impressive sum of £25,000. This is the thirteenth bull to have been sold for £25,000 or more from the Maerdy herd.
Maerdy Morwr is a son of the home-bred Maerdy Dynamite who has sired more than 170 offspring in Esmor’s Flintshire based herd since 2011. His dam Maerdy Fee is sired by the French-bred Victorieux who was imported by Mr Evans in 2006, who has eight bulls forward for the Stirling on the 20 February.
David Stubbs of AJR Farms purchased Morwr for his Ellon-based, 39 strong Newlogie Charolais herd. Mr Stubbs who is new to pedigree Charolais breeding, only joined the society in August of last year after purchasing the Logiestate herd of M Bruce and Partners. Maerdy Morwr, picked out by renowned stockmen Andrew & James Reid, is a very correct bull with tremendous presence and breed character who brings new bloodlines to the herd.
The farm is keen to expand their Charolais enterprise and more new additions have come in the way of the recent purchase of three animals from France, most notably Nobel, a young bull by 2016 Paris champion Hatenon. Picked from an impressive pen of calves, including a brother who won at Moulins 2017, Nobel is showing great potential and with his different breeding will undoubtedly have a big influence on the herd in the future.
February 9, 2018 Challenges ahead; time to think about your forward Beef strategy.
By David Mackenzie, Harbro
The press is full of debate about the challenges facing not only the UK as a whole post-Brexit, but specifically the challenges which may arise for UK agriculture once current trade agreements are changed. Without doubt this has the potential to cause great change – some say for the better, whist others fear agriculture could suffer without the EU support mechanisms and tariff protections.
The truth is that nobody knows what the outcome will be, and in the context of climate change and world population growth, perhaps Brexit will not even be the dominant force for change in the years ahead.
With this background how can beef producers possibly know the right way forward for their genetics?
The reality is that the choice of bull made today is a statement of the direction of that beef business for the next number of years. The type of genetics chosen today will in many cases be a key driver towards the sort of beef herd you have in 10 years’ time.
The three pillars of farm performance: Genetics, Nutrition, Management
Looking forward, the recurrent theme which seems to come through in all scenarios seems to be a drive towards greater technical efficiency. Whether it is from a reduction in post–Brexit support, reductions in tariffs which help restrict beef imports to the UK or long-term global demand for nutrients, all roads appear to lead to the conclusion that we need to ‘maximise outputs from given inputs’.
Genetics: Starting at the beginning of the supply chain the single most important factor that determines the profitability of the whole herd, is using the best available genetics. With less labour and time available Breeders are striving towards shorter calving periods and aiming towards more consistency in batch sizes at weaning. Responding to the requirements of the finisher, the aim is to achieve less days to market and more weight off farm at a younger age. With supply chains in many cases becoming more integrated, and with performance data being more readily available, the focus on genetics is going to be stronger than ever. And with farms becoming larger, understanding the role of genetics in whole-chain efficiency will become paramount.
Nutrition: It is absolutely clear that nutrition is key to achieving the potential of genetics. Exciting new science is demonstrating the opportunity to change the way genes are expressed through nutrition, and that this might even be possible before conception! There is clear opportunity for further useful research to be carried out in this area but we should be aware of the scope to improve current efficiency through improved feeding. One of the most striking recent examples has been the improved output of heifers by applying the correct balance of protein and starch at a young age. This has led to significant extra output and value from increased carcass weight.
In the past few years Harbro have worked with producers to improve health through nutrition and as a result we have developed a clear message of getting the rumen right is fundamental to overall health.
Management: The finishing landscape is changing. The pressures being placed on processors for a more efficient supply of uniform, quality product is resulting in much closer collaborations between the large finishers and abattoirs. With a greater focus on a more consistent supply of the appropriate animals, finishers themselves are looking to source more of the ideal animals for their system. These changes will inevitably drive a new focus on management which is likely to lead to more streamlined systems relying on detailed production data.
The beef industry may have much to learn in this regard from the unsubsidised pig and poultry industries which have driven output and efficiency in a large part through tackling variation in production. Eliminating the loss from ‘bottom-third’ performers is possibly the quickest way towards improving efficiency and profitability, and this is where many in the beef industry are focusing their attention.
The reality is that much of this variation can be tackled even before bulling by planning for a tight calving pattern. A more consistent group of calves makes management so much easier, and translates to an easier managed breeding herd as replacements come through. Proper pre-bulling nutrition, bull management and health surveillance set the best foundations for bulling success. Only bulling heifers over a six week period has ensured that only the most fertile animals are joining the herd and this has been a successful improvement to many breeders.
Harbro are investing heavily in supporting a profitable beef industry. We have developed a strategic partnership with Glasgow Vet School to take a lead on understanding the interaction between nutrition, rumen health and performance data. As profit drives our decisions the Charolais breed has always been recognised for delivering a fast growing efficient animal and this is why the breed was brought into the UK industry over 50 years ago and will have an even bigger role to play in the future.
Whilst challenges are undoubtedly ahead it is quite clear that the UK has the farmers, the genetics, the science and the management skills to compete. To do that, however, we need to plan and make the right decisions now.
Picture attached: Alan Meston, Stonehaven Aberdeenshire, a great example of a data driven Beef finisher which has put Charolais at the centre of his business strategy.
February 9, 2018 Charolais sell to 5,800gns at Welshpool
A small but high-quality offering of Charolais bulls saw a top bid of 5,800gns in Welshpool on Thursday 8 February, at the breed’s official spring sale, where 16 bulls sold to an average of £3622.50 and an improvement of 8% on last year’s clearance rate.
Leading the way at 5,800gns was Gareth Jones’ reserve champion from Cwmtirmynach, Bala. The May-2016 born Esgob Morgan who was snapped up by Edward Bros, Oswestry, Shropshire, is a son of Alwent Goldbar and the 26,000gns Carlisle junior champion Anside Excalibur daughter, Esgob Glain.
Next in the trade stakes and purchased at 4,800gns by RW Owen, Garn Solbenmaen, Gwynedd for was Trefaldwyn Magnus, who had been tapped out second in his class at the pre-sale show for breeder and exhibitor Arwel Owen, Welshpool, Powys. The 17-month-old Magnus boosts an impressive pedigree, being sired by the 28,000gns Perth supreme champion Brampton Nacodar and out of the 11,000gns Royal Welsh Show female champion Trefaldwyn Fancygirl, a daughter of the 30,000gns Dingle Hofmeister.
Just behind at 4,600gns was a yellow-ticket-winner from Mrs Ann Orr-Ewing, Purton, Wiltshire, the
Wesley Forceful son Foxacre Miletus. The May-2016 born Miletus is out of the Three Counties reserve junior heifer champion Foxacre Galante and goes home to work in Knighton, Powys for RP Morgan and Son.
Two bulls sold for 4,500gns apiece and both were offered for sale by the aforementioned Arwel Owen. The first, Caenest Morgan who was bred by J and E Evans, Dryffryn Ardudwy, Gwynedd had also been awarded a yellow ticket at the pre-sale show. This 14-month-old who caught the eye of TT Jones and Co, Llanbrynmair, Powys, is by the proven high performing, short gestation and easy calving Blelack Digger and out of Trefaldwyn Eternity who in-turn is sired by the 30,000gns Balmyle Bollinger.
Minutes later Mr Owen’s secured another bid of 4,500gns, this time for the home-bred November-2016 born Trefaldwyn Max who is also sired by Blelack Digger. His dam is the Goldies Eddy daughter Trefaldwyn Ice and the NPTC Group, Newtown, Powys were his winning bidders.
Next, the 22-month-old Montgomery Meic commanded a 3,500gns bid from Gipsy Hall Farms, Wilmcote, Warwickshire. Meic who stood third in his class in the morning’s show is sired by the 9,000gns Balmyle Harlequin, out of the 30,000gns Dingle Hofmeister daughter Montgomery Iarll and was bred and exhibited by Gareth Roberts and Jones, Welshpool, Powys.
The next highest priced at 3,200gns was Gwenog Musketeer, consigned by J S & P L Howells, Llanwenog, Dyfed. This August-2016 born son of the 12,000gns Royal Welsh supreme champion Thrunton Classic and the 18,000gns Derryharney Outstanding daughter Gwenog Trali went home with TA and ME Jones, Llanbrynmair, Powys.
A trio of bulls were knocked down at 3,000gns a piece, with the first coming from Highfields Park Farm, Withyham, Sussex. The 20-month-old, blue-ticket winning Chameran Marek who was purchased by WF Palmer and Sons, Truro, Cornwall, is sired by the 12,000gns Cumberland Show champion of champions Sandelford Harrison and out of Edenhurst Fleur – another Dingle Hofmeister daughter.
Matching the 3,000gns price tag was the September-2016 born Wissington Mickey. Mickey, an entry from Jenny and John Rix, Nayland, Essex who was exhibited by Darren Knox was purchased by DWR Reynolds and Son, Knighton, Powys, is by the aforementioned Blelack Digger and out of the home-bred Gretnahouse Ferdinand-sired Wissington Jolly.
Also hitting the 3,000gns price tag was Esmor Evans’ 14-month-old Maerdy Mario from Mold, Flintshire. Maerdy Gwlan is out of French-bred Begonia daughter Maerdy Poem and sired by the 10,000gns Stirling reserve senior champion Blelack Fabulous. The Williams’ of Holt, were the successful bidder and take him home to their Wrexham-based unit.
The only female of the sale was a 2-year-old entry from Mr R J Butler, Rudford, Gloucestershire. Commanding a bid of 2,100gns from C Wardle, Sandbach, Cheshire was the 15,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Burradon Talisman daughter Carrigbeg Ladyjane who sells served to Davally Illusion.
Averages: 16 bulls: £3,622.50; one heifer: £2,100
Auctioneers: Welshpool Livestock Sales
Show Judge: Peter Heath, Hartfield, east Sussex
Class One – Bulls born on or between 03/03/2016 – 14/04/2016
1st – Ann Orr-Ewing – Foxacre Maecenas – s. Wesley Forceful
2nd – Ann Orr-Ewing – Foxacre Marcellus – s. Wesley Forceful
3rd – Roberts & Jones – Montgomery Meic – s. Balmyle Harlequin
Class Two – Bulls born on or between 03/05/2016 – 30/06/2016
1st – Gareth Jones – Esgob Morgan – s. Alwent Goldbar
2nd – Highfields Park Farm – Chameran Marek – s. Sandelford Harrison
3rd – Ann Orr-Ewing – Foxacre Miletus – s. Wesley Forceful
Class Three – Bulls born on or between 09/07/2016 – 15/09/2016
1st – Peter Howells – Pedr Mysterio – s. Newroddige Imp
2nd – Arwel Owen – Trefaldwyn Magnus – s. Brampton Nacodar
3rd – James & Belinda Kimber – Beanhill Major – s. Inverlochy Ferdie
Class Four – Bulls born on or after 02/10/2016
1st – Esmor Evans – Maerdy Murray – s. Blelack Fabulous
2nd – Esmor Evans – Maerdy Myrddin – s. Vald’or-ra
3rd – Arwel Owen – Caenest Morgan – s. Blelack Digger
Class Five – Females
1st – Robert Butler – Carrigbeg Minty – s. Doonally Nicefor
2nd – Robert Butler – Carrigbeg Ladyjane – s. Burradon Talisman
Esmor Evans – Maerdy Murray – s. Blelack Fabulous
Gareth Jones – Esgob Morgan – s. Alwent Goldbar
January 30, 2018 Polled for profit
It was a fine day last summer when we visited the JordanCastle herd of polled Charolais in Wellow, managed by Sydney Carr and his daughter Laura. Alongside their pure Charolais herd which they run on a commercial basis, they host school visits in their purpose-built education facility and entertain guests in their three holiday cottages set in the idyllic Nottinghamshire countryside.
The education enterprise is the brain child of Laura, who feels strongly about the benefits of teaching children how their food is produced. It was set up in partnership with the Higher Level and now Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship Scheme which enables them to offer free visits to schools. They also offer visits to other organisations whether it be farming or local interest groups.
Sydney is the third generation to farm at Jordan Castle Farm after his grandfather and uncle purchased the farm in 1939 and both he and his daughter Laura were born in the farmhouse. The 270-acre holding consists of 50% grazing and 50% arable which supports the winter feeding needs of the cattle with the remainder sold as milling wheat. The 200 cattle are fed hay and 1kg of barley per day in the winter and when brought in, are kept in their management groups sorted by age with the spring and autumn calvers kept apart.
Charolais cattle are renowned for their good temperament and this herd is a shining example. The Carrs have culled any cattle that show any signs of bad disposition and the result is a herd that are quiet, friendly and easy to manage. This is of paramount importance in this low maintenance system as the main day-to-day work is undertaken by Sydney while Laura is away working during the week. Sydney’s motto is “decent cattle, decent feed, it all comes down to management”.
Easier management was the reason why Sydney was initially drawn to polled Charolais with their reputation for being easier calving. He said, “It has paid off from the start. I have only had to assist one calving in the past year”.
Sydney joined the polled society, as it was then, in 1987 after purchasing his first polled Charolais bull in 1982 from Ralph Needham’s Cockerington herd. These days, the farm’s 75 breeding females produce stores to sell at nearby Newark in the Spring and Autumn, whilst heifers are kept for replacements and pedigree sales. The herd averaged £1100 for their 17-18 month old steers and heifers sold through Newark in 2016. Laura said “When we finish cattle they usually attain a U-grade and average £1250. Currently I am exploring the benefits of selling some of our animals as meat direct to the consumer”.
Stock bulls are selected for style and temperament and their latest addition Cockerington Justice has turned out to be the quietest they have had. There are three bulls running with the herd at present; the homebred JordanCastle Heathcliff and Alwent Impact are also earning their keep. Sydney comments, “We hope to keep one of Heathcliff’s sons for breeding in the future. Unusually we purchased Impact from Steve Nesbitt at just 13-months-old, but he has been a great success. We tend to work our bulls for six years, and bring in fresh bloodlines for our replacements”.
Calving is in the Spring and Autumn and is spread over a few weeks for ease of management. All the herds females were born on farm with the exception of one purchased from the Needhams at the same time as Cockerington Justice. Laura remarked, “Cockerington Jodie was a very nice Christmas present!”
Heifers are calved down at approximately two years nine months and are routinely still calving at 12 years old with the oldest mother this season being 16.
The Carr’s breeding bulls are usually sold at about 20-22 months and Sydney commented “People want to purchase bulls that are ready to work and by that age they can see what they’re getting. We advertise through our website, Sell My Livestock and the Newark Market newsletter. We also have lots of repeat customers who like our easy-calving, good-tempered bulls”.
On the day of our visit, James and his mum Serena Underwood of Gillingham, Dorset were visiting to look at the 22-month-old JordanCastle Lionheart. The Underwoods established their Pennymore herd in March last year, with the purchase of five cows and calves from the Cockerington herd. They obviously liked the look of Lionheart as he subsequently travelled to his new home in Dorset at the end of July. James recently commented “I chose him for his nice nature and good EBV’s. I am just starting out with Charolais and he has proved to be a lovely quiet bull who I move everyday and he has never given me any problems. He’s running with my eleven breeding females at the moment, and the five cows who I put him to first are due to calve in June and July. Working full time, I have chosen to calve in the long days of the summer months. I am looking to put him with some sucklers once he has his first calves on the ground.”
To find out more about the JordanCastle herd, visit their website www.pollcharolais.com or find them on Facebook and Instagram: Jordan Castle Polled Charolais