The Morrisons Beef Shorthorn Suckler Herd of the Year Award
Winner of the Morrisons Beef Shorthorn Suckler Herd of the Year Award is Buccleuch Estate, Bowhill, Selkirkshire which was praised for the excellent management of the beef enterprise within a large estate and the use of Beef Shorthorn to breed suckler replacements for the unit’s 450 cow herd.
The runners up are Simon Hare, Barnard Castle, County Durham and Ian Mainwaring, Ellesmere, Shropshire.
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 the two finalists were each awarded a £250 voucher towards the purchase of a Beef Shorthorn bull at a society sale.
Judge, EBLEX beef specialist, Mary Vickers commented: “It was great to visit three suckler herds all using Beef Shorthorn breeding to produce quality suckler bred beef in different situations. Each demonstrated a targeted approach to the use of these genetics within their herd aligned to end market requirements.
“Buccleuch Estate’s farm manager, Sion Williams demonstrated a clear vision of the herd’s role within the business and that of Beef Shorthorn which was being used to produce a fertile and robust suckler cow with good temperament and performance traits. Attention to detail on all aspects of herd management was impressive, with extensive use of records to analyse herd performance and monitor health status. This is facilitated by implementing EID across the herd and benchmarking against industry figures. Suckled calf performance had shown a clear improvement over the recent years with growth rates to weaning currently in the region of 1.1kg per day.”
Beef Shorthorn Society immediate past 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.”