THE Northern Ireland Blonde Cattle Club is pleased to announce the results of its recent commercial herds’
competition, kindly spon-sored by Ganson and judged by club chairman Roger Johnston.
First prize this year was awarded to Dessie and Brian McGartland, who farm just outside Dungannon, County Tyrone. The McGartlands run a herd of 40 predominately Blonde sired commercial suckler cows which run with Blonde stock bulls.
Cows are mainly homebred and Brian makes use of AI during the winter months to introduce different genetics into his replacement heifers.
Brian and Dessie have been keeping Blonde cattle for some years now and also run a select pedigree herd under the Drumnafern prefix.
The herd’s main stock bull is home-bred Drumnafern Noel, and Brian also runs younger bull Pinehill Orion, which he purchased at the NI club sale in Dungannon in 2019. Calves are sold through Dungannon or Clogher marts where they often achieve some of the best prices on the day.
The McGartlands also scooped the award for the best cow with Blonde calf at foot for a Blonde sired cow with her heifer calf at foot by Drumnaafern Noel.
Teresa McKearney, from Middle-town, County Armagh, was awarded second place. Teresa runs pedigree Blonde bull Drumraymond Nimbo, purchased at the 2018 autumn club sale in Dungannon, with her herd of mixed continental bred cows.
The McKearneys select their best heifer calves as replacements and male calves are usually finished as bullocks where the Blonde’s superior feed conversion rate and excellent meat to bone ratio come to the fore.
Third place in this year’s competition was awarded to County Down farmer John Glenn. John runs approximately 35 cows with his pedigree Blonde bull, Ballygowan Ohio. John sells the majority of his calves in local marts as weanlings and finds the blonde sired calves have that extra eye appeal and style when compared to other breeds through the ring.
The award for the best pedigree Blonde stock bull was scooped by Laureen Kennedy from Ballynure, County Antrim, with five year old bull Cromkill Larry. Larry runs with 19 commercial cows and is breeding very consistent calves that display great temperament. All 19 cows calved unassisted this year, displaying the easy calving attributes a Blonde sire can bring to any herd.
Judge Roger Johnston added: “It was a privilege to judge this year’s Blonde commercial herd competition and I was pleased to see the quality of the blonde sired calves on farms across Northern Ireland. I would like to pass on my congratulations to all the participants and thank them for their hospitality, and in particular to this year’s winners who demonstrate just how well a Blonde bull can perform in their herds.”
The club wishes to extend its thanks to all who entered this year’s competition as well as to judge Roger Johnston and main sponsor Ganson.
The NI club is hosting a select sale of pedigree bulls in Dungannon Farmers’ Mart on Friday, October 22. Contact Dungannon mart for further details or search ‘NI Blonde Cattle Club’ on Facebook.