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March 15, 2017 Mains of Gallery

The Charolais is the breed of choice of the Gammie family and forms the backbone of its respected suckler and finishing business in Laurencekirk, south of Aberdeen.

The Gammie family made the move from Kingswells on the outskirts of Aberdeen down to Fordoun, Laurencekirk in 1971 where father Ronald and his three sons Norman, Douglas and Alastair now farm four units at Hatton Mains, Mains of Gallery, Davo Mains and Easter Tulloch.

Norman, father Ronald, Alastair and Douglas

Norman, father Ronald, Alastair and Douglas

An acreage of 2450 is farmed, with 1100 owned and 1350 farmed under contract. In addition to the 705 acres of grass, a mix of crops is grown including winter barley for feed and this year, field beans will be grown. Wheat and oil seed rape are both sold along with spring barley destined for the malting market.

 

Mains of Gallery and Davo Mains were best known as dairy farms until the herds were sold in 2002 and 2006 respectively but the suckler herd had been established and cattle finished for a number of years before that.

 

“We had always finished cattle and set up the finishing unit at Mains of Gallery when we stopped dairying.” says Norman. In the intervening years, the suckler herd has been built up to 400 cows with 150 at Davo Mains and 250 at Easter Tulloch and approximately 1800 head of cattle are finished annually.

 

Cows are predominantly Simmental or crosses, using Aberdeen Angus or Simmental bulls on heifers. However, the one constant has been the Charolais breed and the business now runs 14 bulls and 90% of calves produced are to the Charolais.

 

Bulls have their feet checked and trimmed at the end of the year and then receive Harbro Bull Fertility supplement for four weeks before being put to work. Bulls go in with the cows and calves in the last week of March and are kept inside for three weeks.

 

“We get a much better conception rate because they are not having to chase them round a field. They’ll cover a lot more cows with an 85-100% conception rate first time round” says Douglas.

 

Bulls come from a number of different bloodlines but one bull in particular, Carscreugh Hernando is readily praised by Alastair as his attributes have shown through well in his calves.

 

“He is breeding well and has produced good, lengthy calves. He moves well on his feet and is a real stock getter” says Alastair who runs the suckler herd with Douglas.

 

“His second crop of calves are coming through now. He’s very active and keeps his condition really well” added Alastair. Advocates of the Charolais breed, they all share the view that you cannot beat the breed for carcase weight and speed of growth.

 

Prior to calving the cows are fed on a ration of silage, draff and Super Suckler SEC minerals with access to ad lib straw. They get extra protein once they have calved, adding some blend and barley to their ration. Access to the same mineral continues over the summer at grass.

 

The herd is all spring calving beginning in mid-January and this year, two thirds of the cows were calved by mid-February.

 

“Cows and calves get turned out at the first flush of grass” says Douglas who is based at Davo Mains. “The cows get a flush of milk and by this stage the calves are big enough to take advantage of the increase in milk and are also big enough to nibble at the grass.”

 

With them being born early in the year, calves are wormed in mid-August and the brothers have seen a big difference in the health of the calves. “Some are bothered with hoast and lungworm which can lead to pneumonia and this practice has helped to reduce stress in our calves” says Douglas.

 

Calves are creep fed from an early age and right through the summer. “They don’t eat much but it encourages them and they get used to it.”

 

They move to a rearer ration of 16% protein Beefstock in June at around 4-5 months of age until weaning around 10th October. Stots are weaned first and moved to another farm where they are vaccinated and wormed according to the animal health plan. Heifers are clipped, receive their animal health treatments and are left with their mothers for a further five to six days. Cows are then turned out weather permitting.

 

Up until 2015, all males were kept entire but last year all male calves were castrated. “Our bulls were finishing at heavier weights so castrating them has been beneficial because of the weight restrictions. The market doesn’t want bull beef and you’d struggle to keep them under 400kg at 12 months.” he added.

 

“We’ve just sorted out the feeding rations for these stots and it will include Maxammon barley, beans, Harbro blend, draff, silage and Harbro Beefmax minerals with Rumitech and Yea-Sacc” says Douglas.

 

The heifer ration from weaning to 14 months comprises straw, silage, beans, Harbro blend, Beefmax minerals and barley which has a protein level of 17%. From 14-18 months they go onto a 14% protein feeding ration of straw, barley, potatoes, molasses, Beefmax minerals and Harbro blend.

 

Once the heifer’s frame has been grown, the diet is adjusted, lowering the protein level and increasing the starch to increase the muscle area and the carcase weight.

 

A great deal of work is put into the diets, tailoring them to suit the genetics and management of the cattle and the family work very closely with David Mackenzie of   Harbro.

 

Heifers are reaching 680kg at approximately 19 months (580 days), less their birth weight of 40kg, 640kg over 580 days, achieving 1.1kg/day average.

 

Bulls weigh in at 700kg at approximately 14 months (427 days), less birth weight 40kg, 660kg over 427 days, achieving 1.55kg/day average.

 

Eldest son Norman runs the finishing unit at Mains of Gallery and he purchases 1300-1400 head of cattle from Thainstone, Inverurie, Quoybrae in Caithness and across the Pentland Firth in Orkney.

 

Cattle are bought all year round so that there is a constant product with ABP, Perth being their main buyer. “You need to keep going over the summer to be able to get that rise in price” says Norman.

 

“I’m looking for cattle that have good length and shape with the potential to gain 170kg live weight. I’m buying in at around 500kg, going to 660-720kg in 110 days (looking to put on 1.5kg/day).”

 

“Of the cattle bought 80-90% are Charolais crosses and 90% are heifers but whether a stot, a bull or a heifer, the Charolais give you the heaviest weight at the youngest ages” says Norman. “It definitely shows in the kill sheets when you put them away.”

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March 14, 2017 Peter Phythian joins the Charolais Society

Peter March 2017

We welcomed Peter Phythian on his first day at the Society today and he is “very much looking forward to meeting members and working with all members up and down the beef chain – breeders, commercial farmers, auction marts, processors and retailers, and to subsequently making a positive difference.”

Peter is pictured here at the recent Stirling Bulls sales with Jemma Forrest and her Champion bull Edenhurst Leader and retiring CEO David Benson.

Peter brings 35 years of experience of working throughout the food chain – from grass roots to retail. He moves to the post from Eurofins where, as business manager he worked with the global company’s feed analysis, genomics, food legal advice and BRC audit divisions.

He began his career on the family’s Lancashire farm managing both pedigree Charolais and commercial cattle. After graduating with a diploma in agriculture, Peter worked with the Meat and Livestock Commission and the European Food Safety Inspection Services before being appointed MLC Commercial Services’ chief executive. He is a member of the Meat Innovation Group and in his spare time likes to watch Wigan Warriors Rugby League.


March 7, 2017 Future beef farmers = Charolais

6 March 2017

Future beef farmers = Charolais

Future beef farmers are using EBVs and focusing on easy calving Charolais bulls, according to one leading university’s students.

Charolais was the first choice of sire for almost 50% of Harper Adams University final year Foundation Degree students completing an assignment which required a detailed plan for a new suckler herd.

The Charolais bulls they selected had one thing in common, they were all within the breed’s top 20% for calving ease, according to Simon Marsh, Principal Lecturer and Beef Cattle Specialist.

The breed’s popularity has also surged in the last 12 months, he says. In 2016, 39.3% of students responding to a similar exercise chose Charolais.

“This year’s assignment confirmed that the beef farmers of the future are using EBVs and focusing on Charolais bulls with good calving ease,” says Mr Marsh.

HAU student choice of terminal sire 2017

Breed %
Charolais 48.8
Limousin 24.4
Angus 7.3
Simmental 4.9
British Blue 4.9
Hereford 4.9
Blonde 2.4
Others 2.4

Source: HAU

 

The Harper Adams (4,000 word) assignment briefed students they had just accepted a job as farm manager on a lowland farm and the owner has instructed him/her to establish a suckler herd. They had to write a detailed plan for the herd including choice of breed of cow and bull, calving season, replacement policy, management of reproduction, feeding, grazing management, rearing system of the weaned calves and health plan.

Issued by Liz Snaith Agricultural Communications on 07974 678833

 

 


March 3, 2017 Lumberjack axes the competition at Dungannon

There was a steady trade for Charolais at the Northern Ireland Charolais Club sale held in Dungannon on Friday 3 March where the 33 bulls sold topped at 4,900gns with a clearance rate of 77% and a bull average of £2,918.

Prices peaked at 4,900gns for the star of the show who earlier in the day had been awarded the supreme, male and junior championship titles for breeders and exhibitors Harold Stubbs and grandson Alan Burleigh of Crummy, Co Fermanagh. David McIlwaine, Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone was the man with his hand in the air when the hammer went down on the 16-month-old Derryharney Lumberjack, who is sired by the 22,000gns Newhouse Bigal and is out of the home-bred Derryharney Daffodil who goes back to the 15,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Burradon Talisman.

Supreme Champion & Top Price Derryharney Lumberjack - 4,900gns

Supreme Champion & Top Price Derryharney Lumberjack – 4,900gns

Moments earlier the same vendors had secured 4,100gns for Derryharney Lanzac, who had also been picked out by the judge being awarded a yellow-ticket. This September 2015-born lad also boasts an impressive pedigree being a son of the popular AI sire Goldies Eddy and dam Derryharney Ipad, a daughter of the 10,000gns Perth supreme champion Thrunton Bonjovi. He goes on to work for Ian Smyth in Castlewellan, Co Down.

Derryharney Lanzac - 4,100gns

Derryharney Lanzac – 4,100gns

The reserve supreme, reserve male and senior champion Drumlone Landmark was next in the bidding stakes at 4,300gns. The breeding here includes the 25,000gns Stirling intermediate champion Inverlochy Ferdie and the Oldstone Egbert-sired dam Drumlone Edwina. The April-2015 born Landmark was snapped up by David McFarland, Beragh, Co Tyrone from consigner Kenneth Veitch, Lisbellaw, Co Fermanagh.

Reserve Supreme Champion Drumlone Landmark 4,300gns

Reserve Supreme Champion Drumlone Landmark 4,300gns

Adding to Mr Veitch’s celebrations, he also received 3,600gns for the class winning, 14-month-old Drumlone Luckylad, this time sired by the renowned short gestation and easy calving sire Blelack Digger who caught the eye of Sandra Hunter, Bushmills, Co Antrim.

Two bulls were knocked down at 4,000gns the first being the reserve supreme champion from Brian Quinn, Dungannon, Co Tyrone. Hillview Limitededition who had already been successful in the show ring being placed first in his class at last year’s Pedigree Calf Fair, was purchased by ED Sherrard, Belfast. The August-2015-born Limitedediton is out of the Dungannon female champion Ballyreagh Eilsa who goes back to the 18,000gns Perth intermediate champion Fury Action and is sired by the aforementioned Inverlochy Ferdie.

Reserve Senior Champion Hillview Limitededition - 4,000gns

Reserve Senior Champion Hillview Limitededition – 4,000gns

Marcus Smyth, Coleraine, Co Derry was another buyer to bid to 4,000gns this time for Woodpark Leroy ET, a 16-month-old son of the 30,000gns Dingle Hofmeister from Will Short, Omagh, Co Tyrone.

Making 3,200gns for breeders Liam Johnston, Tempo, Co Fermanagh was Mountain Landmark. This 20-month old is the first son to sell by herd sire Aghinure General and was purchased by Andrew McCammond, Cloughanduff, Co Antrim.

Just behind and commanding a 3,000gns bid from Adrian Wilson, Ballymena, Co Antrim was Burnside Lordalmighty who is sired the by 16,000gns Stirling junior champion Clyth Diplomat, while the dam is Sandelford Deva, a heifer by the 14,000gns Goldies Usher. The December 2015-born Lordalmighty was awarded a blue-ticket in the pre-sale show and offered by Brian McAllister and Son, Kells, Co Antrim.

Female Section

Leading the bids for the females at 3,500gns was the blue-ticket winning Battleford Lady from Bartley Finnegan, Dungannon, Co Tyrone. The June 2015-born Lady sired by the 70,000gns Royal Welsh supreme champion Barnsford Ferny and out of the Scottish-bred Balbithan Vespasian daughter Blelack Cerise was knocked down to Kenny Preston, Omagh, Co Tyrone.

Battleford Lady - 3,500gns

Battleford Lady – 3,500gns

Just behind at 3,400gns was the female champion Dartonhall Julie a November-2014-born entry from John Erskine, Killylea, Co Armagh. The man behind the money on this 19,000gns Perth reserve junior champion Corrie Alan daughter was Martin Donaghy, Dungannon, Co Tyrone.

Female Champion Dartonhall Julie - 3,400gns

Female Champion Dartonhall Julie – 3,400gns

Averages: 33 bulls £2,918, nine heifers £2,433
Auctioneers: Dungannon Farmers Mart

 

Show Results
Judge: John MacGregor

Class One – Bulls born on or between 10/04/2015 – 11/06/2015
1st – Kenneth Veitch – Drumlone Landmark – s. Inverlochy Ferdie
2nd – George Henderson – Sandleford Lawson – s. Conval Frank
3rd – Caldwell McAskie – Rushfield Levi – s. Rushfield Fernando
4th – James McBride – Moorlough Lennon – s. Thrunton Voldemort

Class Two – Bulls born on or between 21/06/2015 – 14/08/2015
1st – Brian Quinn – Hillview Limitededition – s. Inverlochy Ferdie
2nd – Clive Hoey – Rawbrooke Lambo – s. Maerdy Dublin
3rd – Liam Johnston – Mountain Landmark – s. Aghinure General
4th – Gilbert Crawford – Edenhurst Laureate – s. Ratoary Ferguson

Class Three – Bulls born on or between 01/09/2015 – 28/10/2015
1st – Harold Stubbs and Alan Burleigh – Derryharney Lumberjack – s. Newhouse Bigal
2nd – Harold Stubbs and Alan Burleigh – Derryharney Landrover – s. Goldies Eddy
3rd – Harold Stubbs and Alan Burleigh – Derryharney Lanzac – s. Goldies Eddy
4th – Trevor Phair – Brogher Leader – s. Goldies Eddy

Class Four – Bulls born on or between 02/11/2015 – 29/12/2015
1st – Kenneth Veitch, Lisbellaw – Drumlone Luckylad – s. Blelack Digger
2nd – Brian McAllister and Son – Burnside Lordalmighty – s. Clyth Diplomat
3rd – Caldwell McAskie – Mountjoy Limerick – s. Montgomery Ianto
4th – Thomas O’Neill – Glenramble Lucky – s. Blelack Digger

Class Five – Bulls born on or after 03/01/2016
1st – James Watson and Son – Cornascriebe Max – s. Thrunton Flyingscotsman
2nd – Cameron and Katherine Marshall – Crosskeys Monarch – s. Hideal
3rd – James McBride – Moorlough Max – s. Liscally ETI ET
4th – Graham Davison – Ballygargan Major – s. Thrunton Fairfax

Class Six – Females born on or between 07/08/2014 – 01/06/2015
1st – John Erskine – Dartonhall Julie – s. Corrie Alan ET
2nd – Bartley Finnegan – Battleford Lady – s. Barnsford Ferny
3rd – Brian and William McAllister – Burnside Lappy – s. Conval Frank
4th – William Whyte – Innisrush Jemma ET – s. Doonally New

Class Seven – Females born on or between 10/07/2015 – 26/12/2015
1st – Kenneth Veitch – Drumlone Loopyloo – s. Lochend Apache
2nd – Stuart and David Bothwell – Killadeas Lois – s. Conval Frank
3rd – Stuart and David Bothwell – Killadeas Lola – s. Blackford Dynamite
4th – Stuart and David Bothwell – Killadeas Lorna – s. Goldies Usher

Junior Male Champion
Harold Stubbs and Alan Burleigh – Derryharney Lumberjack – s. Newhouse Bigal
Reserve Junior Male Champion
James Watson and Son – Cornascriebe Max – s. Thrunton Flyingscotsman

Senior Male Champion
Kenneth Veitch – Drumlone Landmark – s. Inverlochy Ferdie
Reserve Senior Male Champion
Brian Quinn – Hillview Limitededition – s. Inverlochy Ferdie

Supreme & Male Champion
Harold Stubbs and Alan Burleigh – Derryharney Lumberjack – s. Newhouse Bigal
Reserve Supreme & Reserve Male Champion
Kenneth Veitch – Drumlone Landmark – s. Inverlochy Ferdie

Female Champion
John Erskine – Dartonhall Julie – s. Corrie Alan ET
Reserve Female Champion
Kenneth Veitch – Drumlone Loopyloo – s. Lochend Apache

P1070923 P1070897 P1070889 P1070854 P1070848 P1070846 P1070844 P1070838 16. Surpreme And Reserve Overal Champion 15. Female Champion and Reserve 14. Junior Male and Reserve Champion 13. Senior Male and Reserve Chmapion


March 1, 2017 Charolais set the pace at Aberdeen

Overall champion Strathys Lionheart and Reserve champion Kinclune Laurent, Andrew Hornall,Stuart Allan, Kevin Mallarkey and Judge Tracey Nicol

Overall champion Strathys Lionheart and Reserve champion Kinclune Laurent, Andrew Hornall,Stuart Allan, Kevin Mallarkey and Judge Tracey Nicol

Charolais topped the bull sales at the Royal Northern Agricultural Society Spring Show on Wednesday 1 March 2017. Where 21 Charolais bulls sold to a top price of 8,000gns and averaged £4,170 with a clearance rate of 84% – a massive increase on last year’s 60%.

Topping the Charolais lots at 8,000gns and securing the top price of the day across all breeds, was the reserve breed champion and March 2015-born Kinclune Laurent. D Blair and Son, Balmerino, Fife, liked the look of this son of the 20,000gns Carlisle supreme champion Beechtree George who has sold sons here before to 8,500gns for breeders John Wilson and Sons, Kinclune, Alford, and who in turn is sired by the Royal Show male champion Gretnahouse Archangel.

The Wilson’s, who sold a total of six to average £4217.50 had another Beechtree George son in the money, this time out of a home-bred 20,000gns Perth supreme champion Thrunton Crownprince daughter. Kinclune Legend, a 21-month-old who had been tapped out first in his class earlier in the day, attracted a 4,200gns bid from Messrs Steel, Banchory, Aberdeenshire.

Two bulls were knocked down at 6,000gns a piece with the first being the red-ticket winner and June 2015-born Doon Lancelot consigned by Neil Barclay, Insch, Aberdeenshire. The 16,000gns Royal Welsh Show reserve male champion Anside Foreman is the sire of this Irish-born lad who caught the eye of E Innes and Son, Glenlivet, Ballindalloch. With another two bulls going on to new owners the Harestone herd averaged £4,655 for the trio.

The second call of 6,000gns was paid by DM McCallum, Dingwall, Ross-shire, for the 18-month-old Lettoch Logan. Logan is the first son to sell by herd-sire Killadeas Dwane and is out of Ugie Giselda who goes back to the 14,000gns Goldies Banker for breeders and exhibitors Colin Stuart, Braes of Glenlivet, Banffshire.

The Interbreed and Charolais champion was the next to sell for Kevin Mallarkey, Ellon, Aberdeenshire, who earlier in the day had been honoured to receive their award in a presentation by HRH The Princess Royal. Champion Strathys Lionheart is a 22-month-old first of son of herd-sire Maerdy Harrypotter while the dam is the 30,000gns Maerdy Andes-sired Airdlin Fuzz. E and J Mackie were the last bidders standing and paid 5,500gns to take him home to Fyvie, Turriff.

Two bulls then achieved 4,500gns apiece with the first finding a new home with C Addison and C Chapelpark, Ellon, Aberdeenshire. The June-2015-born Bonnykelly Landlord who stood second in his class at the pre-sale show and whose full brother sold at the same time last year for 5,000gns for Graeme Leggat, New Pitsligo, Fraserburgh, is sired by the 9,000gns New Deer Show Champion Newhouse Challanger and is out of the 10,000gns Maerdy Rumbull daughter Bonnykelly Erin.

Local breeder and first time Charolais seller Neil Wattie, Alford, Aberdeenshire, matched the 4,500gns price tag with Tonley Lavezzie, who has been shown successfully previously attaining reserve breed champion at the Banchory Show and first prizes at the Turriff and Keith shows. The outfit behind the money on this 12,000gns Caylers Hustler son, who at 16-months-old was the youngest Charolais of the sale were TE and M Walker, Banff, Aberdeenshire.

Show Results
Judge: Tracey Nicol, Balthayock, Perth

Supreme Champion Strathys Lionheart

Supreme Champion Strathys Lionheart

Class One – Bulls born on or between 23/03/2015 – 02/05/2015
1st – K & J Mallarkey – Strathys Lionheart – s. Maerdy Harrypotter
2nd – John Wilson and Sons – Kinclune Laurent – s. Beechtree George
3rd – Michael Massie – Elrick Leonardo – s. Thrunton Fearless

Class Two – Bulls born on or between 03/05/2015 – 07/06/2015
1st – John Wilson and Sons – Kinclune Legend – s. Beechtree George
2nd – M Bruce and Partners – Logiestate Lairdoellon – s. Goldies Golddust ET
3rd – Michael Massie – Elrick Lincoln – s. Thrunton Fearless

Class Three – Bulls born on or after 08/06/2015
1st – Neil Barclay – Doon Lancelot – s. Anside Foreman
2nd – Robert Leggat – Bonnykelly Landlord – s. Newhouse Challanger
3rd – John Wilson and Sons – Kinclune Luckylad – s. Kinclune Herbert

Champion
K & J Mallarkey – Strathys Lionheart – s. Maerdy Harrypotter

Reserve Champion
John Wilson and Sons – Kinclune Laurent – s. Beechtree George

Society Chairman Andrew Hornall, John Wilson's Reserve Champion Kinclune Laurent, Kevin Mallarkey's Champion Strathys Lionheart and Judge Tracey Nicol -®AnneMacPherson- ANM Spring Show 17-052 -®AnneMacPherson- ANM Spring Show 17-049 -®AnneMacPherson- ANM Spring Show 17-039


February 28, 2017 Charolais Supreme Champion at first Commercial Show of the Year

Star of Future Surpreme Champion

Star of Future Surpreme Champion

A Charolais heifer from the Veitch Family Lisbellaw County Fermanagh, took top honours at the Northern Ireland Star of the Future Commercial Show in Dungannon and went on to secure the top price of the day.

The heifer born in April 2016 weighing 440kg, first won the Charolais championship and is sired by Ashleigh Admiral out of a Lim x BB cow. The heifer is a full sister to the commercial Charolais show champion in Fintona 2014.

Blair Dufton from Aberdeen was the master judge and when picking his supreme champion, commented “I wanted an animal which was well fleshed, well balanced, and walking properly with lots of potential for summer shows and Christmas. This was a real top of a heifer”.

Mr Dufton went on to purchase the mighty stylish calf to take home to Aberdeen for a top price of £3,400. Brigadoon Charolais sponsored the Charolais section and were delighted to see the Charolais sired heifer winning the supreme champion and selling for the top price.

Sponsor Brigadoon Charolias with Surpreme Champion exhibited by Alan Veitch

Sponsor Brigadoon Charolias with Surpreme Champion exhibited by Alan Veitch

 


February 24, 2017 The life cycle never stops at the McKelvey’s ever busy cattle farm

Thomas McKelvey

Thomas McKelvey

Behind the busy farm supplies operation in Ballynahinch,  McKelvey Bros runs one of the top finishing units in County Down.  Finishing 1000 bullocks and 300 heifers including 1000 head of Charolais last year. The cycle never stops says Thomas McKelvey.

“We graze 400-500, mainly Charolais because they do best at grass.  You can get Charolais finishing at 16-20 months, this is where the breed has the big advantage and passes other continental breeds.  We want weight for age, nothing will beat them”.

The new beef unit was built in 2012, the farm itself has 500 acres.  A total of 260 acres of grass is grazed and McKelvey Bros knows the significant feeding value of grass. The remainder is for cereals and grass silage.

“Buying growing cattle lets us spread the risk.  It lets us utilise the grass better and gives the best use of our intensive finishing”.

McKelvey Bros purchases cattle all year round predominately from  Clogher, Markethill, Saintfield and Hilltown They particularly purchase Charolais in larger batches around the 8-12 months to grow them on grass and have them finished between December and March.

Cattle for grass are purchased in February/ March time, looking for leaner cattle and those which will give the highest feed conversion rate to maximise profit.

“We buy the top cattle at the ringside, within a price range for good commercial cattle. Similar continental cattle can be bought but they do not deliver the same growth and profit as a Charolais”.

“The Charolais has growth, some breeders take them too far, maybe to get a bit more money for them but this leaves the finisher little to gain.  It’s better to sell them in a leaner condition”.

“You have to look at what it costs the breeder to get them heavier, if they are too well fed they don’t do so well.  They lose condition when they go out to grass and they just melt”.

McKelvey Bros tries to keep on top of the market and have a good idea of what happens.  We see gradual changes in the suckler market, cattle being sold at lighter weight – the finisher needs to get their chance to do their bit”.

All cattle at McKelvey’s farm are weighed on arrival and treated for IBR, Blackleg, worms and fluke.  Marker tags are put in all cattle for easier identification and herd management.

The ration remains the same wheat, barley, sugar beet pellets and maize meal mixed in the diet feeder with silage,straw and vegetables.  This mix would be fed at 4.5kg per head up to 7.5kg at finishing time.  Cattle are fed twice a day, morning and a fresh run at lunch time bringing the cattle forward.

With the new reduced weight limits,  McKelveys don’t want the cattle  going over 700kg and incurring a penalty. So at 500kg they are put  on the finishing ration.

Thomas says good minerals help with weight gain.  “It helps  to keep them leaner and in the better grades”.

Two loads of washed vegetables are used every week. The cattle always have fresh feed in front of them and it maximises their intake and weight gain.

“The cattle have to grow  to a certain level and they need the frame on them to finish.  They cost a bit more to buy but you get them to a better end price more quickly”. McKelveys aim to have in-spec cattle to achieve mainly top grades.

McKelvey Bros cattle are kept mainly on slatted floors fitted with rubber slat mats, with some kept on straw bedding. There are pens of 40 in the new building and pens of 25 in the original sheds.  Finished cattle are drawn from the December to March period with 50 going for slaughter each week.

The new purpose built shed would be wanted by any beef farmer, holding over 400 head with open ends and side ventilation. Cattle are very comfortable here, hence maximising growth rates.

McKelvey Cattle“The weight limit is capped at 420 kg for bullocks, with severe penalties for cattle over this limit that is why we try to keep them within the specification”.

“Charolais bullocks averaged about 385 kg for the year with heifers coming in at 345 kg average, we have very few which are overweight”.

The business operation concentrates on bullocks as they leave a better return and finish heavier.  Heifers finish quicker but the better weight gain is in the bullocks.

Most of McKelvey Bros cattle go to ABP Lurgan a mere 25 miles away again ensuring cattle remain calm and stress free as possible.

There is an air of calm at McKelveys, cattle are quiet and contented. It is a very efficient operation where the cattle can be fed in two hours, leaving plenty of time for other jobs to be done.

Thomas points out that “you can get a premium with native breeds (Aberdeen Angus) but, you can get the same premium with good continental grades. In essence the Charolais gives the weight we want with the conformation that we want in the shortest time.”


February 24, 2017 British Genetics are a Winner at the Swedish Mila Show

The Swedish Mila exhibition was held on 16-18 February. This exhibition is a small local farm exhibition including national shows for both dairy and beef cattle. Around 60 heifers and bulls participated in the beef cattle show with entries from the Angus, Blonde d’Aquitaine, Charolais, Hereford, Limousin and Simmental breeds.

The male champion, supreme champion and Interbreed best male was the two-year-old 2944 Lee of Simontorp. Lee is a son of the Norweigan bull Grieg of Dillerud with grandsire the British bred Cockerington Urchin. Lee got the impressive show weight of 1304 kg at only 25.5 months of age! The judges pointed out the excellent performance, muscularity but also that he had managed to keep a functional body after this impressive growth.

Swedish Charolais commented, “Their market leadership showed that functional traits and performance can be combined to a produce the complete beef cattle package. You can see this for yourself at the Charolais world congress in July 2018 in Sweden.”


February 20, 2017 Lord Leads the Charolais Trade at Stirling

Charolais bulls met a solid commercial trade in Stirling on Tuesday 21 February at the breed’s official spring sale. Bidding peaked at 25,000gns, nine lots traded at five figure sums and 111 lots sold to an average of £6121 – £161 up on the year with a 13% increase in the clearance rate to 82%.

Society Chairman Andrew Hornall commented, There was no shortage of commercial traders in the market for a Charolais bull today and no wonder with Charolais sired suckler calves topping the markets on weight for age. Everyone has tightened their budgets this year and want a breed that will deliver the weights that the supermarkets demand in the shortest time”.

The 111 lots were topped at 25,000gns by the reserve supreme and reserve senior champion Gretnahouse Lord, bred and exhibited by Alasdair Houston, Gretna Green, Dumfries-shire. Lord, a 21-month-old son of the 17,000gns Balthayock Gladiator, heads over the water to Eire to work in Co Sligo for Brendan and Greg Feeney, Bostonia Herd.

Reserve Supreme & Reserve Senior Champion Gretnahouse Lord - 25,000gns

Reserve Supreme & Reserve Senior Champion Gretnahouse Lord – 25,000gns

Following on at 22,000gns was the 18-month-old Newhouse Lonestar. This son of the 30,000gns Dingle Hofmeister and the home-bred dam Newhouse Flora going back to the 18,000gns Sackville Claudius, was bred and exhibited by R M Adam and Son, Forfar, Angus and took the fancy of David, Marjorie and Paul Stobart, Scotby, Cumbria.

Newhouse Lonestar - 22,000gns

Newhouse Lonestar – 22,000gns

Two bulls were knocked down at 16,000gns a piece, the first coming from David and Nick Walter, Balthayock, Perthshire with their July-2015 born yellow ticket winner Balthayock Lineup. Purchased by the Blyth family, Hartlepool, Cleveland, the breeding here includes sire Ugie Echo and dam Highland Show class winner Balthayock Fortune, sired by the 26,000gns Balbithan Vespasian.

Balthayock Lineup - 16,000gns

Balthayock Lineup – 16,000gns

Matching the 16,000gns price tag and snapped up by Jan Boomaars, Woldingham, Surrey, was Woodpark Longbow, one of the youngest lots of the sale at just 15-months. Longbow is sired by Deeside Gulliver and out of a home-bred dam going back to the 19,000gns Corrie Alan and was bred and exhibited by Will Short, Omagh, Co Tyrone.

Woodpark Longbow - 16,000gns

Woodpark Longbow – 16,000gns

Next and the first of two red-ticket winners to sell at 12,000gns was Inverlochy Landmark from John Irvine and Son, Ballindalloch, Banffshire. W and CS Robb, Mauchline, Ayrshire were the last bidders standing on this 20-month-old son of Inverlochy Hercules and Inverlochy Heiress, a daughter of the Black Isle Show champion Lochend Apache.

Inverlochy Landmark - 12,000gns

Inverlochy Landmark – 12,000gns

Another class winner to bring 12,000gns when chapped down to J and W Kellas, Keith, Aberdeenshire, was the Stars of the Future senior male champion Carwood Leo. The 14,000gns Ugie Goldcup son and August-2015-born Leo was consigned by Colin and Fiona Wight, Biggar, Lanarkshire.

Carwood Leo - 12,000gns

Carwood Leo – 12,000gns

The supreme and senior champion was the next to sell for a five-figure sum. 11,000gns was the price that secured the 21-month-old Edenhurst Leader from exhibitor’s A and JJ Forrest, Biggar, Lanarkshire, who had purchased him at Peter and Vanessa Vasey’s Charolais dispersal sale in October 2015. Leader is a son of the 17,000gns Cumberland Show champion of champions Sandelford Harrison ET and is no stranger to the show ring himself, previously being awarded reserve championships at the Peebles, Moffat and Biggar Shows. Jenny and John Rix, Colchester Essex were the purchasers and Judge Chris Curry commented that his choice for champion, “Is the sort of bull that ticks all the boxes for the modern beef market. A good all-rounder with smooth shoulders for easy calving, good length and very correct in his locomotion. He is easy fleshing and will breed progeny that can be finished at any stage”.

Edenhurst Leader

Edenhurst Leader

Another to secure a price tag of 11,000gns was Bartley Finnegan’s intermediate champion Battleford Laser ET who caught the eye of fellow Northern Ireland breeder’s Stuart and David Bothwell of Ballinamallard, Co Fermanagh. This July-2015-born bull is a son of Lochend Apache and the 25,000gns Perth supreme champion Thrunton Socrates daughter, Blelack Usp.

Intermediate Champion Battleford Laser - 11,000gns

Intermediate Champion Battleford Laser – 11,000gns

Selling at 10,000gns was an entry from Harold Stubbs and his grandson Alan Burleigh, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh. Derryharney Lionheart who was crowned Minsups intermediate bull champion last year is sired by the proven high performing short gestation and easy calving Blelack Digger and out of Derryharney Ace who goes back to the 12,000gns Hillviewfarm Perfect. The 18-month-old Lionheart goes on to work in Abergavenny, Gwent for OTW Chandler and Co.

Derryharney Lionheart - 10,000gns

Derryharney Lionheart – 10,000gns

Three bulls then achieved 9,000gns apiece; the first was an entry from the MacGregor family of Allanfauld, Kilsyth, Glasgow. Allanfauld Lord a 20-month-old 11,000gns Woodpark Elgin son was purchased by A Paton and Co, Maybole, Ayrshire.

Allanfauld Lord - 9,000gns

Allanfauld Lord – 9,000gns

Next, W Dunlop and Sons, Dunbar, East Lothian bid the same price for the September-2015 born Teiglum Legend. Legend who was awarded reserve senior male champion at last year’s Stars of the Future show, is sired by the 12,000gns Ugie Goldnuget and was consigned by Clark Farms, Carluke, Lanarkshire.

Teiglum Legend 9000gns

Teiglum Legend 9000gns

The final lot to bring 9,000gns was the first of two bulls to sell for Hamish Goldie, Ruthwell, Dumfries-shire. Goldies Leslie, a 15-month-old son of home-bred pair Goldies Formidable and the 14,000gns Goldies Banker sired Goldies Dew was knocked down to TA Jones and Son, Dryslwyn, Carmarthenshire.

Earlier in the day Mr Goldie exhibited the August-2015-born Goldies Lancelot sired by the 15,000gns Gretnahouse Heman who was purchased by R Donnan, Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, for 7,000gns.

David and Nick Walter were in the money again with an entry selling for 8,500gns also sired by Ugie Echo. This time selling to Bruce MacKie and Son, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, was the 21-month-old blue-ticket winner Balthayock Lookout.

Balthayock Lookout - 8,500gns

Balthayock Lookout – 8,500gns

The reserve intermediate champion from RA Milne and sons, Elgin, Morayshire, matched the 8,500gns selling price. Elgin Lampard who is a full brother to the 2015 reserve senior Stirling champion and is sired by the 12,000gns Caylers Gladiator found a new home with Ian Bell, Brampton, Cumbria.

Reserve Intermediate Champion Elgin Lampard - 8,500gns

Reserve Intermediate Champion Elgin Lampard – 8,500gns

Later in the sale the Milne family offered the 16-month-old Elgin Lightning. AJ Maclean, Heylipol, Isle of Tiree, liked the look of this one sired by the 14,000gns Westcarse Houdini and out of Elgin Floella who goes back to the 30,000gns Balmyle Bollinger and snapped him up for 8,000gns.

Elgin Lightning - 8000gns

Elgin Lightning – 8000gns

J and R Mitchell, Auchterarder, Perthshire were the next to purchase an entry from WK and P Drysdale, Blairgowrie, Perthshire. 7,500gns was the price paid for the July-2015-born Glenericht Luckygirls, a son of Dingle Hofmeister and the 55,000gns Thrunton Voldemort daughter, Maerdy Eula.

Glenericht Luckygirls - 7,500gns

Glenericht Luckygirls – 7,500gns

Four more entries secured 7,000gns and Alasdair Houston was the first to benefit when his 19-month-old 12,000gns Wesley Equinox son, Gretnahouse Lucas was snapped up by GR and DM Thorp, Bakewell, Derbyshire.

Newhouse Legend was the next to sell for the same price, this time to W Young and Sons, Ochiltree, Ayrshire. R M Adam and Son were the exhibitors of this July-2015-born blue-ticket winner, sired by Oakchurch Icarus.

Newhouse Legend - 7,000gns

Newhouse Legend – 7,000gns

Shortly after JM Anderson, Banff, Aberdeenshire purchased the first of two to secure 7,000gns for Neil R Barclay, Insch, Aberdeenshire – Harestone Lagan an 18-month-old by Harestone Hercules.

Also in the money for Mr Barclay was the September-2015-born Harestone Legend, who twenty-four hours earlier had been tapped out first in his class. This son of the 25,000gns Stirling intermediate champion Inverlochy Ferdie caught the eye of Greystoke Castle Farms, Penrith, Cumbria.

Harestone Legend - 7000gns

Harestone Legend – 7000gns

FEMALE SECTION

Leading the bids for the females at 6,800gns was the first of four top priced heifers offered by Hamish Goldie. The 20-month-old Goldies Leona sired by the 12,000gns Goldies Elation and out of the 16,000gns Maerdy Naser daughter Goldies Veil, was purchased by H and H Heron, Newtownards, Co Down, who liked Mr Goldies heifers so much they went on to purchase two more.

Top Price Female Goldies Leona - 6,800gns

Top Price Female Goldies Leona – 6,800gns

Added to their tally were the female and reserve female champions Goldies Lena and Goldies Lassie, who are both June-2015-born Blelack Digger daughters and were secured for 4,000gns and 3,000gns respectively.

Female Champion Goldies Lena

Female Champion Goldies Lena

Reserve Female Champion Goldies Lassie

Reserve Female Champion Goldies Lassie

Also in the money for Mr Goldie was the 19-month-old Goldies Leah. Bred from the 15,000gns Gretnahouse Heman and Ugie Goldengirl, a daughter of the 14,000gns Goldies Banker She found a new home with N and S Caul, Kirkton of Auchterhouse, Angus.

Averages: 111 bulls £6,121; 12 heifers £3,220.

Auctioneers: United Auctions
Sponsored by HSBC

Supreme Champions Senior Champions Junior Champions Intermediate Champions Female Champions 0768

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Show Results
Monday 20 February 2017
Judge: Mr Chris Curry, Thropton, Morpeth

Class One – Bulls born on or between 06/03/2015 – 09/04/2015
1st – D Muirhead – Firhills Leroy – s. Maerdy Grenadier
2nd – RA & J Blyth – Marwood Limerick – s. Marwood Grandslam
3rd – Mervyn McKeown – Royaldowns Lightning – s. Barnsford Ferny
4th – James Jeffrey – Kersknowe Lord – s. Harestone Glenlivet
5th – David and Nick Walter – Balthayock Leander – s. Dingle Hofmeister

Class Two – Bulls born on or between 10/04/2015 – 30/04/2015
1st – NF Massie & Sons – Blelack Lincoln – s. Caylers Hustler
2nd – M & L Massie – Elrick Lucas – s. Thrunton Fearless
3rd – NF Massie & Sons – Blelack Landlord – s. Caylers Hustler
4th – JHC Campbell & Sons – Thrunton Lancaster – s. Thrunton Doubletop
5th – W P Bruce Ltd – Balmyle Leopold – s. Maerdy Hearthrob

Class Three – Bulls born on or between 01/05/2015 – 06/05/2015
1st – Alasdair Houston – Gretnahouse Lord – s. Balthayock Gladiator
2nd – I & D Goldie – Solwayfirth Landlord – s. Solwayfirth Hannibal
3rd – Adrian Richardson – Aghinure Les – s. Hillviewfarm Handsome
4th – JHC Campbell & Sons – Thrunton Lambert – s. Thrunton Gladiator
5th – Mrs J M Gilchrist – Dundas Lyle – s. Elgin Emperor

Class Four – Bulls born on or between 07/05/2015 – 20/05/2015
1st – A & JJ Forrest – Edenhurst Leader – s. Sandelford Harrison ET
2nd – David and Nick Walter – Balthayock Lookout – s. Ugie Echo
3rd – Neil R Barclay – Harestone Leeds – s. Allanfauld Gambler
4th – A MacGregor (Allanfauld) Ltd – Allanfauld Lochness – s. Woodpark Elgin
5th – David and Nick Walter – Balthayock Langsyne – s. Blelack Forester

Class Five – Bulls born on or between 21/05/2015 – 31/05/2015
1st – Hamish Goldie – Goldies Larry – s. Alwent Goldbar ET
2nd – Mr and Mrs Colin and Fiona Wight – Carwood Lucky – s. Ugie Goldcup
3rd – A MacGregor (Allanfauld) Ltd – Allanfauld Lord – s. Woodpark Elgin
4th – David and Nick Walter – Balthayock Lance – s. Maerdy Grenadier
5th – A MacGregor (Allanfauld) Ltd – Allanfauld Lochnagar – s. Woodpark Elgin

Class Six – Bulls born on or between 01/06/2015 – 06/06/2015
1st – John Irvine and Son – Inverlochy Landmark – s. Inverlochy Hercules
2nd – A MacGregor (Allanfauld) Ltd – Allanfauld Lightning – s. Woodpark Elgin
3rd – W P Bruce Ltd – Balmyle Lancelot ET – s. Balthayock Diplomat
4th – Brian Redhead and Jonathan Watson – Tweeddale Lawless – s. Blelack Blackberet
5th – Hamish Goldie – Goldies Lenny – s. Blelack Digger

Class Seven – Bulls born on or between 07/06/2015 – 14/06/2015
1st – R and H McNee – Benhar Levi – s. Goldies Escort
2nd – S & D Bothwell – Kiiladeas Lion – s. Gwenog Braveheart
3rd – Alan Lawson and Son – Alsnow Lezard – s. Puntabrava Federico
4th – Brian Redhead and Jonathan Watson – Tweeddale Lester – s. Blelack Blackberet
5th – WR Baillie & Co – Baillieston Lincoln – s. Burradon Galaxy

Class Eight – Bulls born on or between 15/06/2015 – 25/06/2015
1st – RA Milne and Sons – Elgin Lampard – s. Caylers Gladiator
2nd – Alan Lawson and Son – Alsnow Loto – s. Puntabrava Federico
3rd – Jack Nicoll Farms Limited – Mornity Lewis – s. Maerdy Hwre
4th – Hamish Goldie – Goldies Laser – s. Goldies Formidable
5th – JHC Campbell & Sons – Thrunton Lancelot – s. Maerdy Hearthrob

Class Nine – Bulls born on or between 26/06/2015 – 05/07/2015
1st – David and Tracey Nicoll – Dounreay Legend – s. Goldies Escort
2nd – Mr and Mrs Colin and Fiona Wight – Carwood Lochness – s. Elgin Emperor
3rd – WK & P Drysdale – Glenericht Luckygirls – s. Dingle Hofmeister
4th – JHC Campbell & Sons – Thrunton Lex – s. Burradon Garibaldi
5th – Neil R Barclay – Harestone Leon – s. Inverlochy Ferdie

Class Ten – Bulls born on or between 06/07/2015 – 23/07/2015
1st – Bartley Finnegan – Battleford Laser ET – s. Lochend Apache
2nd – Will Short – Woodpark Legend – s. Corrie Alan ET
3rd – David and Nick Walter – Balthayock Lineup – s. Ugie Echo
4th – David and Nick Walter – Balthayock Lightning – s. Balthayock Dante
5th – JHC Campbell & Sons – Thrunton Liberator – s. Maerdy Hearthrob

Class Eleven – Bulls born on or between 24/07/2015 – 09/08/2015
1st – Mr and Mrs Colin and Fiona Wight – Carwood Leo – s. Ugie Goldcup
2nd – R M Adam and Son – Newhouse Legend – s. Oakchurch Icarus
3rd – John Irvine and Son – Inverlochy Landward – s. Blelack Giggsey
4th – Alan Lawson and Son – Alsnow Location – s. Puntabrava Federico
5th – David and Nick Walter – Balthayock Lanyard – s. Ugie Echo

Class Twelve – Bulls born on or between 10/08/2015 – 01/09/2015
1st – Gilbert Crawford – Coolnaslee Lofty – s. Maerdy Fiend
2nd – Harold Stubbs & Alan Burleigh – Derryharney Lionheart – s. Blelack Digger
3rd – Neil R Barclay – Harestone Lagan – s. Harestone Hercules
4th – Neil R Barclay – Harestone Lava – s. Inverlochy Ferdie
5th – Hamish Goldie – Goldies Lancelot – s. Gretnahouse Heman

Class Thirteen – Bulls born on or between 02/09/2015 – 19/09/2015
1st – A and M Williams – Castellmawr Llew – s. Goldstar Gentleman
2nd – Darren & Donna Knox – Drumshane Leroy – s. Balthayock Hamish
3rd – John and Jenny Rix – Wissington Lawrence – s. Wissington Highflyer
4th – Valerie & Paddy McDonald – Glencoe Lennon – s. Clyth Diplomat
5th – Alasdair Houston – Gretnahouse Leapfrog – s. Blelack Digger

Class Fourteen – Bulls born on or between 20/09/2015 – 18/10/2015
1st – Neil R Barclay – Harestone Legend – s. Inverlochy Ferdie
2nd – Clark Farms – Teiglum Legend – s. Ugie Goldnuget
3rd – Alasdair Houston – Gretnahouse Longbow – s. Wesley Equinox
4th – RA Milne and Sons – Elgin Lightning – s. Westcarse Houdini
5th – RA Milne and Sons – Elgin Lochness – s. Westcarse Houdini

Class Fifteen – Bulls born on or after 19/10/2015
1st – Esmor Evans – Maerdy Llanwern – s. Hambourg R
2nd – Esmor Evans – Maerdy Loretto – s. Maerdy Ulm
3rd – Hamish Goldie – Goldies Leslie – s. Goldies Formidable
4th – Will Short – Woodpark Longbow – s. Deeside Gulliver ET
5th – W and A Oag – Shebster Lord – s. Goldies Eddy

Class Sixteen – Heifers born on between 01/01/2015 – 01/06/2015
1st – D Sawrij – Swalesmoor Leigh – s. Balmyle Headline
2nd – D Sawrij – Swalesmoor Layla – s. Balmyle Headline
3rd – D Smith and Sons – Lawersbridge Liz – s. Lawersbridge Ferocious

Class Seventeen – Heifers born on after 02/06/2015
1st – Hamish Goldie – Goldies Lena – s. Blelack Digger
2nd – Hamish Goldie – Goldies Lassie – s. Blelack Digger
3rd – Hamish Goldie – Goldies Leah – s. Gretnahouse Heman

Senior Male Champion
A & JJ Forrest – Edenhurst Leader – s. Sandelford Harrison ET
Reserve Senior Male Champion
Alasdair Houston – Gretnahouse Lord – s. Balthayock Gladiator

Intermediate Male Champion
Bartley Finnegan – Battleford Laser ET – s. Lochend Apache
Reserve Intermediate Male Champion
RA Milne and Sons – Elgin Lampard – s. Caylers Gladiator

Junior Male Champion
Esmor Evans – Maerdy Llanwern – s. Hambourg R
Reserve Junior Male Champion
Gilbert Crawford – Coolnaslee Lofty – s. Maerdy Fiend

Female Champion
Hamish Goldie – Goldies Lena – s. Blelack Digger
Reserve Female Champion
Hamish Goldie – Goldies Lassie – s. Blelack Digger

Supreme Champion
A & JJ Forrest – Edenhurst Leader – s. Sandelford Harrison ET
Reserve Supreme Champion
Alasdair Houston – Gretnahouse Lord – s. Balthayock Gladiator


February 10, 2017 British Charolais Cattle Society appoints Peter Phythian chief executive

Peter PhythianPeter Phythian has been appointed chief executive of the British Charolais Cattle Society from 14 March. He succeeds David Benson who is retiring at the end of March after 29 years.

Peter brings 35 years of experience of working throughout the food chain – from grass roots to retail. He moves to the post from Eurofins where, as business manager he worked with the global company’s feed analysis, genomics, food legal advice and BRC audit divisions.

He began his career on the family’s Lancashire farm managing both pedigree Charolais and commercial cattle. After graduating with a diploma in agriculture, Peter worked with the Meat and Livestock Commission and the European Food Safety Inspection Services before being appointed MLC Commercial Services’ chief executive. He is a member of the Meat Innovation Group and in his spare time likes to watch Wigan Warriors Rugby League.

Peter commented, “I am delighted and honoured to be joining the British Charolais Cattle Society and I’m very much looking forward to meeting members and working with all members up and down the beef chain – breeders, commercial farmers, auction marts, processors and retailers, and to subsequently making a positive difference.”

BCCS chairman, Andrew Hornall commented: “David Benson has constantly demonstrated his unwavering commitment to professional excellence and to development of the Society over a period spanning almost three decades. It’s that solid foundation which David’s vision has forged combined with Peter’s leadership skills which I am confident will take the Society on to the next chapter. Peter has experience and expertise that will enable us to meet the industry’s ever evolving challenges and embark upon a very exciting new phase of our journey of growth and increasing brand awareness.”


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