Welsh Club Herd competition 2017

It was an honour to be asked to judge the Welsh Clubs Herd competition this summer and we were privileged to be shown round such a group of good herds by their passionate and dedicated owners.

We left Cumbria’s rain without any preconceptions; we had not visited any of the herds previously and had not even met many of the owners, and it was very much a step into the unknown.

On the way down the M6 we set out our judging criteria by which we would rank the herds. Most importantly, we were looking for uniformity across the breeding females with a progression through the generations, showing that the herd was moving forward. We hoped to see cows that showed breed character, were feminine, that did their calves well and that suited the environment in which they lived.

We started out in the Welsh/English borders, worked our way down to the South coast then along to Pembrokeshire, then up the West coast and back through north Wales, before returning home. We covered a total distance of 1,180 miles over the seven days that we were away.

We visited herds that had been established from only a few years to around 50 years, but throughout we were impressed with the quality of the cattle that we saw - within every herd there were animals of interest. It was also very rewarding to see the quality of many crossbred calves that we saw in several of the herds, showing how the Shorthorn as a sire is working well, leaving good cross bred heifer replacements and dovetailing in with the Morrison’s scheme, which adds value to the steers.

Environment and landscape varied, from lush lowlands to high hill and yet the consistent thing was the cattle. The beef Shorthorn as a breed seems able to adapt and thrive in whatever type of countryside they find themselves. Everyone that we visited showed a great passion for their cattle and we enjoyed their company, they also all extended some wonderful hospitality, whether it was a cup of coffee, lunch or a bed for the night, for this we are very thankful.

Competition was tight in every class, and on another day I'm sure that the results would be different but this is how we ranked them:

Best Bull
1st Glenisla Hercules - Martin Moore
2nd Tugby Zapper - Alma James
3rd Grafton Hubert - Kitty Bodily

Best Cow and Calf
1st Holkin Daisy Jane and Holkin Daisy Lena  - Ian and Nickie Hollows
2nd Tessa E12 of Wenmar and Wenmar Latham - Martin Moore
3rd Frenni Gem Freda and Frenni Gem Linda - Brian and Eiryth Thomas

Best Heifer
1st Wenmar A Tessa K125 - Martin Moore
2nd Cefnmelyn Snowy - Mary and Johnathon Williams
3rd Sannan Heather Grug 3rd - Tudor Williams

Best Pair of Heifers
1st Frenni Princess Jessica and Meonhill Secret Surprise - Keith Jones and Helen Evans
2nd Sannan Heather Grug 3rd and Sannan Carol 3rd - Tudor Williams
3rd Lamboro Julliette and Lamboro Jaunty - Alma James

Best Bull Calf
1st Cetris Lord - Keith Jones and Helen Evans
2nd Glebedale Little Tom - Kitty Bodily
3rd Montgomery Lazer - John and Anne Humphreys

Best Heifer Calf
1st Holkin Daisy Lena - Ian and Nickie Hollows
2nd Wenmar Perfect Pride L137 - Martin Moore
3rd Vale Meadows Lily 10th - Martin Reynolds

Best Large Herd
1st Frenni herd - Brian & Eiryth Thomas
2nd Holkin herd - Ian and Nickie Hollows
3rd Stockgreen herd - Ted Everitt

Best Small Herd
1st Glebedale herd - Kitty Bodily
2nd Cetris herd - Keith Jones and Helen Evans
3rd Sannan herd - Tudor Williams

Overall Champion Herd
Frenni herd – Brian and Eiryth Thomas

Reserve Champion Herd
Holkin herd - Ian and Nickie Hollows

Once again many thanks to all that entered, for taking the time to show us their cattle and for looking after us so well, and especially to Martin Reynolds for his help and keeping us right.

Judges: Caroline and Andrew Ivinson