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Stackyard News Jul 09

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Hunting for a Herdsman

With the sole aim of highlighting the tremendous commercial cattle in North Northumberland The Glendale Agricultural Society (GAS) has announced today the launch The Glendale Agricultural Society Herd Competition.

John Guiry, Head Livestock Steward for the G.A.S.

John Guiry

Through this cattle competition, the first of its kind in the North East, the Society are searching for the best suckler cow herd and the best herds using Charolais, Limousin or Aberdeen Angus Bulls.

The competition is open to all suckler cow breeders, so whether a farmer has ten cattle or a thousand, they have an equal chance of becoming Glendale’s 2009 Suckler Herd. During the judging process, Judge, Robert Neill, will take into account number of factors including farm size and location.

North Northumberland is renowned for the quality of its suckler cows, which is not surprising in an area that boasts more heads of cattle than people. Consequently, the Society is hoping to attract a wide range of entrants which represent not only Northumberland's famous hill herds but also its cattle from lowland and coastal areas.
In addition to the overall Best Herd with a prize of £300 there will also be individual competition prizes for:-

  • Best Herd using predominantly a Charolais Bull
  • Best Herd using predominantly a Limousin Bull
  • Best Herd using predominantly an Aberdeen Angus Bull
  • Best individual animal seen in the competition, judged on its commercial merits (sponsored by EBLEX)

The Judge, Robert Neill is from Upper Nesbit near Kelso; a suckler cow breeder himself he was winner of the Farmers Weekly Beef farmer of the years in 2007 and is a regular columnist for the Farmers Weekly.

The inspiration behind this competition is John Guiry, Head Livestock Steward for the G.A.S. and he tells us why the Society has decided to launch the first competition of it kind in the region: "North Northumberland is renowned for both its farmers and its livestock, the area produces tremendous suckler bred beef cattle, and many of its farmers are amongst the most progressive in the country. As a Society we feel it is very important that we provide an opportunity for people to showcase their herds and through this competition we aim to highlight the tremendous commercial cattle in the area."

The G.A.S. Herd Competition is open to farmers of any breed of commercial suckler cows and any size of herd based in North Northumberland. Judging will take place during the weekend of the 15th August and will be completed on a purely commercial basis. All the cattle will be judged on their own farms so that they can be observed in their day to day environment and the judge can see the overall farming practices in place. The winners will be announced at the Glendale Show in Wooler on August 31st, Bank Holiday Monday.

The judging will take into account each farm's geographical location and its available resources. And the judge will be looking at how the farming enterprise is utilising both of these factors to optimise their assets. “ This is a wonderful opportunity for us to highlight the type of farms and farming for which this area is renowned and we are expecting to see a cross section of breeds from Limousin to Luing Charolais, Aberdeen Angus and the new Stabiliser," concludes John.

Interest is expected to be high and this is already evident from the substantial
amount of financial support the competition has attracted from local businesses and national cattle societies including Aln Northumbria Vets, HARBRO, Arable Farm Supplies, the Limousin Cattle Society, the British Charolais Society and The Aberdeen Angus Society.

Anyone wishing to enter the competition should contact the Glendale Agricultural Society by telephone on 01668 283868 or by emailing The deadline for entries is 1st August with judging taking place the weekend of 15th August; prize winners will be announced at the Glendale Show on August 31st.

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