The importance of 'protected names' by the Hon. Gerald Turton

The Hon. Gerald Turton

The Hon. Gerald Turton

The importance of clarity in cattle breeding is important today for various reasons. New families have come in from Canada and with the added tools of EBVs and genetic profiling breeders need to know as much as possible about their blood lines. The other reason is that for some breeders they feel they are protecting a very important part of our heritage. That is the reason for having what are known as ‘protected’ names. These are the names of Shorthorn families that cannot be used to describe animals that are not of that family. For example, you cannot call a heifer calf out of a Barrington (Bates) a Victoria (Booth); Barrington and Victoria are protected names.

The purpose of pedigrees is obviously to inform about the breeding of all calves in Coates’s herd book. It is true that many breeders pay far less attention to pedigrees but you cannot rely entirely on your eye. There are many families that have played an important part in Shorthorn history. Some are families refined by Thomas Bates for their milk, such as protected families including Duchess, Waterloo, Wild Eyes, Millicent, Greenleaf, Oxford, Furbelow, Seraphina, Barrington, Gypsy, Countess, Baroness, Foggathorpe and Rose.

On the beef side there are the families developed by the Booth family in the early part of the 19th century for their depth of flesh. These families were so successful that they were exported all over the world to improve the native cattle. These cattle included protected families such as Queen of Rothes, Nonpareil, Luxury, Lovely, Lavender, Pye, Pure Gold, Maid Ramsden, Rosewood, Augusta, Broadhooks, Wimple, Beauty, Clipper, Floss, Pauline, Averne, Marigold, Missie, Bright, Princess Royal, Lancasters, Jilt, Blythesome, Maud, Orange Blossom, Princess and Victoria. There will be some others that along with some of these have died out. Some will have died out because they lost their identity and others because they were no good or were exported.

In about 1837 Amos Cruickshank of Sittyton started to collect what was to become known as ‘The Scotch Shorthorn’ with Broadhooks, Lancaster, Crocus, Lavender, Clipper, Nonpareil, Brights, Butterfly, Victoria, Orange Blossom, Pure Gold, Duchess of Gloucester and Brampton Rose. William Marr of Uppermill in 1933 had the following families Clara Missie, Maud, Goldies, Marigold, Princess, Beauty, Flossy, Blythesome, Roan Lady and Emmas. When the herd was dispersed to an existing breeder, James Durno, he took over the Uppermill prefix with some of Mr Marr’s cattle and the Uppermill herd remained in the Durno family until 2006 when the whole herd was sold to Mr Porter in Northern Ireland. There were many other famous breeders whom time prevents me from mentioning who contributed to the breed.

The Shorthorn has an extraordinary history becoming known at the ‘Great Improver’. The first Princess heifer was born in 1739 and thanks to the foresight of a collection of breeders, Mr Coates was commissioned to ride around collecting data of calvings which enabled the first herd book to be published in 1823 tracing the pedigrees of the breed.

There are other families created when Bill Bruce formed the Balmyle herd putting Maine-Anjou bulls to Cumbrian type pedigree Shorthorns creating families like Tessas from the Twells herd, the Genoa, Graduate, Gypsy and Gretta from the Gainford herd, Kernel from Keith, Phantasy from Parton, Irene from Ireby and Majic from Mickle. Carey Coombs bred the 1998 Champion from Balmyle Graduate 2nd out of Gainford Rosebud 180th (202738) which will go back to Gainford Ringleader on his dam’s side, sold to the Argentine nearly one hundred years ago. The Tessa family has bred many Supreme Champions including Wyvis of Upsall, Perth Supreme Champion in 2005, Zeus, Zenith and Warpath under the Balmyle prefix.

There are instances of new families being formed intentionally. Major Gibb formed a number including Marguerite from out of a Pennan Princess cow, a Desiree from a Lovely, keeping a French connection.  We formed the Sapphires from line bred Gems. James Playfair bought Heather Thea of Upsall (P) by Majestic Prince of Upsall, a daughter of Bysett Wild Eyes and produced the prize-winning Tofts Holly family. All these breeders consistently kept that family name. Miss Furness from Otterington had her own families, Tanzy, Diamond and Charm which were graded up and accepted into Coates’s Herd Book.

When I came to Upsall all the families were numbered consecutively (Upsall Jilt 31st) but when we went polled we named heifers Jilt Alpha of Upsall (P) retaining the family but adding a girl’s name starting with the year letter. Carey Coombs named his horned cattle Loch Awe and used the prefix Dunsyre for his polled cattle.

It is always important to know as much as possible about your cow families. It is especially critical today when new families have been imported from Canada. We have the following Canadian families: Ariel, Cheerleader, Dynasty, Edie, Gem, Jackie, Jacqueline, Julia, June, Kyla, Patience, Pixie, Pride, Ruthie, Scarlett, Lillian, Veronica, Kestral and Patience. The Ruth family were brought into the Calrossie herd from Australia.

It is very necessary to know your families. I would urge new breeders to trace back their families using the website and then be consistent in registrations so that when cattle are sold buyers have clarity in what they are buying.

When you look back at the Perth Champions over the last ten years you will find certain families have consistently been breeding well. The Queen of Rothes, Princess Royal, Lovely and Tessa families and no doubt others have been consistent. Some families breed well in one herd and not so well for others, but we need to have this information, particularly now when we are expanding. The Chapelton herd is keeping the identity of their families with their cattle.

Finally let us not forget the great Shorthorn breeders of the past, admired throughout the world when Britain was the stud farm of the world. As modern breeders of the mother breed we should be equally proud of our good families, whether they are Princesses, Victorias, Lillians or Augustas.