2013-10-23  facebook twitter rss

Scottish Suckler Producer Secures Top Cattle Award

Winner of the Morrisons Beef Shorthorn Suckler Herd of the Year Award is Raymond Martyn, of Wester Bleaton and Soilzarie Farms, Bridge of Cally, Perthshire.

Mr Martyn was praised for the on-going improvement of his farming enterprise and the use of Beef Shorthorn to breed suckler replacements for the unit’s 200 cow herd.

The runners up are Michael Foljambe, Osberton, Worksop; Guy Prudom, Mickleby, Saltburn and Alex Smith, Wykeham, Scarborough.

Beef Shorthorn Society president Mark Holmes presents the award to Raymond Martyn

Beef Shorthorn Society president Mark Holmes presents the award to Raymond Martyn

The finalists were judged according to technical and financial management, genetics, herd health, marketing and particularly on the performance and impact of Beef Shorthorn within the suckler herd. The winner received £500 cash, while each of the four finalists was awarded a £250 voucher towards the purchase of a Beef Shorthorn bull at a society sale.

Judge, EBLEX senior regional manager, Clive Brown commented: “It was a pleasure to see so many quality cattle in such a variety of locations and farming situations. These herds certainly showed the versatility of the Beef Shorthorn and illustrated just why the breed continues to grow in popularity.

“Although all four finalists had particular strong points, Raymond Martyn had the edge through his all-round performance and determination to continually improve his farming enterprise and for the role that the Beef Shorthorn played in helping him achieve that goal. His focus on using the breed to improve such things as feet and milk within the herd as well as continuing to produce quality cattle was particularly noticeable.” He adds: “Going forward, I feel all suckler producers are going to need to follow Raymond’s approach of trying to identify where they can make small changes that will aid ease of management and improve overall herd performance, but still keep a focus on the marketplace.”

Beef Shorthorn Society president, Mark Holmes said: “Once again thanks to Morrisons for sponsoring this award which has received an enthusiast response from commercial producers who are finding Beef Shorthorn genetics have a complementary role to play within their modern suckler herds. Add together foraging ability, hardiness, fertility, milkiness, longevity and docility, and breed offers a package of traits which leave cattle that complement their environment and make for functional suckler cow replacements, the bedrock of a sustainable and profitable enterprise. In addition, Morrisons native breeds’ scheme has introduced real value to Beef Shorthorn cross steers which are now commanding a premium.”

The winner
Raymond Martyn, Wester Bleaton and Soilzarie Farms, Bridge of Cally, Perthshire

200 cows, 800 ewes, 800ha, hill and upland unit
Beef Shorthorn was introduced in 2009 to breed replacement heifers for the spring calving herd which this season recorded 98.5% calves reared from 200 cows calved. Closing the herd, introducing more milk to the cows along better feet are among the unit’s objectives as well as breeding females that will put on flesh in late summer to enable them to winter outdoors off their backs. Cows are put to a terminal sire, with progeny reared and sold after weaning. Future plans are to finish the Beef Shorthorn cross steers to target finishing weight for Morrisons native breeds’ scheme.

The finalists
Michael Foljambe, Mill Farm, Osberton, Worksop

70 cows, 100 pure Beef Shorthorn, 360ha lowland mixed unit
Beef Shorthorn is favoured at Mill Farm for its high quality meat together with ease of calving and quiet temperament. All commercial cattle are finished on the unit on home grown forage to between 500kg and 700kg target liveweight. Steers are sold to Morrisons native breeds’ scheme.

Guy Purdom, Mickleby, Cleveland
170 cows, 468ha
Beef Shorthorn is used over the replacement heifers due to its ease of calving. Mr Purdon says the calves are fast growing and easy on their dams, allowing them to grow and get back in calf. Last season the herd recorded 93% Beef Shorthorn cross calves reared. The entire crop of calves is finished and sold direct to Dovecote Park’s organic scheme at 22 to 26 months – steers at 650kg to 700kg and heifers, 580kg to 620kg.

Alex Smith, Overdale Farms, Wykeham, Scarborough
120 cows, 220ha lowland plus elevation mixed unit
High quality premium beef, ease of calving and quiet temperament are the three key reasons for using Beef Shorthorn over the split calving suckler herd. The entire crop of calves is finished on the unit at an average 480 days, steers to 359kg and heifers 350kg, and sold either to Woodheads or Mr Smith’s own shop, Ginger Pig.

Beef Shorthorn

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