North east cattle enthusiast, Steven Nesbitt, of Winston, Darlington has been elected chairman of the British Charolais Cattle Society’s Council of Management. He succeeds Alasdair Houston, of Gretna Green who stepping down after completing his two year term of office commented: “Commercial demand for modern British Charolais bulls leaving progeny with fast growth combined with ease of calving and accompanying premiums has undoubtedly continued to gain momentum.
“Determined to build on that momentum, the Society’s Council of Management has during the year brought in a range of measures that means that buyers of Charolais bulls can have even more confidence that they are buying the most robustly validated beef breed in the UK,” he said adding: “I believe we have achieved a lot in the last two years and have a clear vision and determination which will continue to take the breed forward.”
Steven Nesbitt has had an involvement breeding pedigree Charolais cattle on his family’s 200 acre mixed unit after establishing his Alwent herd 35 years ago. Since then it has consolidated to 20 breeding cows with an increasing poll influence, and it has produced a number of successful sires including Alwent Goldbar, Alwent Hercules, and the homozygous poll Alwent Hitman, all of which have been sold to global AI studs in the last 18 months. Earlier this year Alwent Hulk made 7,800gns in Stirling, the highest priced poll bull to be sold through the centre.
He said: “British Charolais has evolved over the past five decades to become the UK’s leading beef terminal sire and it’s a real honour to be elected to chair such a prominent society. Succeeding our outgoing chairman will be a hard act to follow however I am determined to keep the breed at the forefront by promoting its performance and subsequent financial benefits, far and wide throughout the cattle sector. Charolais is the best terminal sire suckler men could possibly use and my goal is to see an increase in market share in terms of crossbred calves born annually.
“Equally, I believe that breeders must continue the Charolais quest to select carefully using Breedplan data to improve calving ease and also milk, growth will then follow naturally. I would like society members to remain open minded and to look further afield for new genetics.”
He adds: “I am also keen to drive forward Charolais Youth, the society’s new club for under 26 year olds, they’re our future and our life blood. Membership has grown within its first year which was rounded off fittingly by securing the Young Show Stars Challenge at Beef Expo.”
Mervyn Parker has been elected society President after stepping down as society treasurer for 12 years. Together with his Chris, he established the Bassingbourn herd in 1977 on their 2,500 acre Cambridgeshire unit. The herd went on to achieve numerous successes both in the showring including at Perth, The Royal Show and Smithfield, as well as heading the league table for making the most genetic progress.
“We have enjoyed breeding pedigree Charolais cattle for more than 30 years and turning out cattle which have headed their lines and gone on to secure the silverware,” said Mervyn. “Charolais leaves progeny which produce target weight carcases in a shorter time than any other breed, consequently I firmly believe that these calves therefore will continue to remain in keen demand. I look forward to the breed’s continued success with careful selection of stock bulls.”
The society’s newly elected vice chairman is Andrew Hornall who runs the Falleninch herd based near Stirling; Graham Robinson of the Stockhill herd, Peterborough is the new treasurer and Chris Curry and Andrew Sellick have been elected to the Council of Management to represent Northern England.