Congratulations to Mr. John Ludgate on being awarded the National Hall of Fame Award 2022.
John farmed the Fortfarm Pedigree Hereford herd in Cork which was founded in the early 1960’s. The first calf registered was Fortfarm Fancy born in 1963. A heifer calf out of Springvilla Fancy bred by the Roycroft family, Dunmanway and sired by Ballintrim Major. In 1964 Fortfarm Valiant was the first bull calf registered. This bull was by Springmount Valiant and out of a female Kilgubban Countess bred by John’s brother Tom.
A recognised judge of the breed John has officiated on numerous occasions and is recognised as an astute cattleman. A dedicated member of the Munster Branch of the Society he just recently following 30 years of service as its trusted treasurer.
From the outset, the aim was to put emphasis on quality rather than on quantity. Quality females were added to the herd usually purchased at realistic prices when the opportunity arose at Society sales. One such purchase was a young heifer from the well-established Clonwhelan herd of R & L White, Clonwhelan House, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford. Prior to purchase she had been recently mated to Ballyholey Famous. The resulting calf a heifer which was named “Fortfarm Judy”. The first of several quality offspring “Judy” went on to win at RDS and was Queen of the show circuit winning whenever and wherever exhibited. Her first bull calf was Fortfarm Judo was awarded Supreme Champion at the Society’s Premier Spring Show & Sale then (1979) held at Goff’s Sale complex in Co Kildare. The judge on that occasion was Mr Roger Snell one of the foremost Hereford cattle breeders in the UK. At the sale following “Judo” was purchased at 2,200 by the Irish Department of Agriculture and joined the stud at Dovea AI station where he went on to be a most successful sire producing several champions and many successful herd sires. That Clonwhelan bred dam has had a strong influence on the development of the herd in the intervening years.
Bulls in more recent years are sold for the most part to repeat customers who return again and again. Heifers considered of lesser quality than desired are sold commercially or for slaughter in order to maintain and improve the overall quality of the herd. Herd sires purchased were carefully selected on bloodlines and type.
Advancing years has meant that in more recent years, cattle have not been exhibited at the summer shows and has now prompted the sale of the herd and watch a younger generation enjoy breeding and showing Hereford cattle.
During the Autumn of 2019, the herd was reluctantly dispersed and met with very satisfactory demand at Kanturk Mart. Females from the herd as foundation animals for new herds which is very encouraging.
We wish John & Mary all the best in their retirement and good health and happiness.