THE Northern Ireland Simmental Cattle Breeders’ Club embraced technology recently, holding its first-ever ‘virtual’ annual general meeting.
Outgoing chairman Conrad Fegan thanked everyone for their attendance, and gave a resume of the club’s activities. “Despite the pandemic and the cancellation of shows and sales, our members have remained upbeat and adjusted accordingly.”
The chairman’s report outlined the following:
The Stirling bull sales in February 2020 took place prior to the introduction of the Covid-19 regulations. Local breeders made their presence felt at the Scottish saleyard with David and Jonny Hazelton, Dungannon, selling Ranfurly Jackpot for 9000gns.
Next best at 6200gns was the Robson family’s Kilbride Farm Jules, with six bulls from the Doagh-based herd averaging £4,550 each.
Congratulations to Nigel Glasgow, Cookstown, on winning the junior championship with Bridgewater Farm Jazzman sold for 6000gns. Fermanagh breeders Harold Stubbs and Alan Burleigh claimed the reserve junior championship with Derrycallaghan Jasper sold for 3000gns.
The society’s virtual show attracted considerable attention in mid-summer, with 10 classes spaced out over a number of weeks, attracting an unprecedented 745 entries from 161 breeders throughout the UK. Northern Ireland club members excelled in the online competition, which is testimony to the quality of cattle and the high standard of stockmanship.
In July two local herds, Omorga and Hiltonstown, made history with the sale of 11 cattle exported to breeders in Switzerland and Germany.
The third production sale from the Ranfurly and Ballinlare Farm herds saw prices peak at 7000gns, with 18 Ranfurly heifers averaging £4,243, while 25 Ballinlare Farm lots levelled at £2,615 each.
The club’s October sale in Dungannon, sponsored by Bimeda, returned a steady trade for a small entry of bulls, with the average increasing by £516 on the previous year. Topping the sale at 3500gns was Wellbray Kingbee from David McElmurry, followed by 3000gns for Drumacritten Kyle bred by William and George Nelson.
Rounding off the year on a high note, the Robson family announced another ‘export first’ with the sale of 32 embryos from the noted Kilbride Farm Herd going to the Knox Farms Herd in Australia.
The election of office bearers was conducted by British Simmental Cattle Society Council member John Moore of the Omorga Herd, based in Beragh.
The following office bearers and committee members were elected:
Chairman: Keith Nelson, Scribby Farms, Rosslea; Vice-Chairman: Andrew Clarke, Breaghey, Tynan.
Treasurer: Leslie Weatherup, Lisglass, Ballyclare.
Secretary: Julie Stinson, Roscultan, Enniskillen.
Committee members: David Hazelton, Ranfurly, Dungannon; Nigel Glasgow, Bridgewater Farm, Cookstown; Matthew Cunning, Point Farms, Glarryford; Kenneth Stubbs, Drumbulcan, Irvinestown; Julie Wallace, Ashfurly, Antrim; Chris Traynor, Kilmore, Armagh; Conrad Fegan, Knockreagh, Rostrevor; Shane McDonald, Coolcran, Tempo; Richard Rodgers, Hilstownstown, Portglenone.
Society Council members: John Moore, Omorga, Beragh; Robin Boyd, Slievenagh, Portglenone; and Norman Robson, Kilbride Farm, Doagh.
Guest speaker for the ‘virtual’ meeting was suckler herd owner Alastair McNeilly from Muckamore near Antrim. He is participating in the EU-funded NI Suckler Beef Programme in conjunction with CAFRE and ABP.
Alastair operates an 85-cow spring calving herd and a broiler chicken enterprise. He focuses on grassland management and rotational grazing to enhance performance and increase the farm’s gross margin per hectare.
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