Suckler producers will have the opportunity to choose from 83 catalogued Charolais bulls along with 51 females in Carlisle, on Friday 9 October, at the breed society’s official rescheduled autumn show and sale. Prior to them coming under the hammer, that entry will be judged by Welsh Charolais enthusiast, Richard Tucker.
Richard, who is a member of the society’s council of management, says he’ll be sifting out bulls that are suited to commercial farmers. “Firstly, they must demonstrate the potential to stamp their off spring with good growth rates and conformation,” he says. “They must also demonstrate good muscularity and locomotion and have plenty of breed character and style.
“Commercial suckler men are this season enjoying an unprecedented demand for their calves driven by finishers seeking cattle with good weight for age, particularly since slaughter age limits have been lifted and they now want to take cattle to heavier weights, because that weight means money. Charolais crosses provide the answer achieving that extra growth within the shortest period of time, most efficiently.”
Back home at Horton, Gower, Richard says the same selection principles have been applied to building up the 25 cow Gower pedigree Charolais herd which he manages with his wife, Alison. “Since the herd was established 30 years, we have focused on breeding cattle from top sires to establish reliable female lines that consistently deliver Charolais with weight for age and excellent conformation,” he explains. Their most recent successes include Gower Versace who bred two junior Royal Highland Show champions, Gower Armarni, sire of a junior Royal Welsh champion and Gower Blingbling who was nominated by the breed society for the EBLEX’s Young Bull Promotion Scheme having ranked within the breed’s top 10% for the majority of breeding values.
Selection within the Gower herd is also backed up by the use of Breedplan performance data which help the Tuckers to identify more easily calving cattle, as well as the Charolais breed’s two most noted traits, daily liveweight gain and conformation. The majority of the herd’s latest run of young bulls is within the breed’s top 10% on performance data. Richard explains; “While more and more commercial suckler men are becoming aware of the real cost benefits of buying a high performance recorded bull, we have official evidence from HCC which concluded that calves sired by bulls within the breed’s top 10% for performance data gain 0.15kg per day extra compared to progeny from non recorded bulls, so in a herd of 100 animals this would equate to 15kg of extra weight per day and an additional 450kg of weight per month.”
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