National Herd Competition 2022

Podehole wins first National Beef Shorthorn herd competition (2022)

The Podehole herd of Charles and Sally Horrell, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, has been named as the winner of the Beef Shorthorn Society’s inaugural National Herd Competition which was launched as part of the breed’s 200th anniversary celebrations.

Charles and Sally Horrell winners of the 2022 National Herd Competition pictured here with sponsor Tommy Staunton of Pedigree sales and Judge George Somerville.
Charles and Sally Horrell winners of the 2022 National Herd Competition pictured here with sponsor Tommy Staunton of Pedigree sales and Judge George Somerville.

Judged by George Somerville, former farm manager at Glenkiln Farms, Dumfries and Galloway and sponsored by Pedigree Sales Online Livestock Auctions, the competition pitted the winners of the regional herd competitions against each other for the first time.

Regional winners from 2021 competitions were assessed by Mr Somerville over the summer with the judge commenting on the exceptional quality he saw in every herd he visited across the UK.

“The depth of breeding evident in all the herds was exceptional and the quality of cows I saw was tremendous and bodes well for the future of the breed in every corner of the country.

“However, the Podehole herd stood out as the most complete and balanced herd of all those I visited, and I congratulate the Horrell family on such a great herd of cows. In every herd I visited there were great examples of the breed and many, many cattle I’d be happy to have in a herd,” he added.

Other finalists were Major John Gibb and Catriona Gibb’s Glenisla herd, Scotland, Stuart and Gail Currie’s Beautry herd, Northern England, LEP Farms’ Meonhill herd, Southern England, Brian and Eryth Thomas’ Frenni herd, Wales and Alfie and James Shaw’s Glebefarm herd, Northern Ireland.

The presentation of the award was made at the Society’s development day hosted by Society president Charles Horton at Hannington, Wiltshire.

Attended by more than 60 Society members the event included five workshops focussed on key aspects of breeding and herd management.

From a veterinary perspective, members were able to listen to Bella Maine of Larkmead Vets discuss pelvic measurement in heifers and other essential aspects of herd fertility, while Jim Barber demonstrated ultrasound scanning in relation to performance recording and the benefits it brings.

Meanwhile, Mike Deakins gave an explanation of cow classification, enabling members to better understand the usefulness it can lend to management and breeding decisions.

Daniel Slade of Thame Market was also on hand to offer members guidance on cattle selection for slaughter and hitting the right specification, while Harbro’s Michael Richardson talked through feeding and nutrition to maximise growth and development in cattle of all ages.

Beef Shorthorn Society operations manager Clive Brown said the event, one of several organised by the Society this year, had been a huge success with members coming from far and wide to add to their knowledge base.

“These events have been a huge success and enabled members to come together and both learn and socialise with like-minded people from across the country. As ever the camaraderie and shared belief in the breed has shone through and that is sure to stand the breed in good stead going forward.”