Sinead Conry of Rathnollag Herefords in Roscommon, along with; Michael Barrett, Eoin Lynch & Katie Brady, travelled to New Zealand in March 2020 to represent Ireland and compete in the Young Breeders Competition at the World Hereford Conference against teams from around the World, while being kindly sponsored by Slaney Foods International. Read Sinead’s account of the experience below.
“Being afforded the opportunity to travel to New Zealand to represent Ireland at the world Hereford conference was a once in a lifetime dream come true. New Zealand is an amazing country to travel to, but this trip was a trip with a difference. Given the opportunity to mix and get to know Hereford breeders from all over the world allowed me to see how they carry out different tasks allowing me to learn new ways of farming. Farming is a way of life although so many people carry out the everyday tasks on a farm setting – it amazed me to see the different ways farmers from different countries completed different tasks.
At the Wanaka show while undertaking the clipping competition it was so interesting to see that no two teams clipped the animal the same way. I think we were all very inquisitive to the other teams as to why they did it in that way. Likewise, we got many questions regarding how we clipped the heifers and what was the reasoning behind it.
Mixing with the different groups of young Hereford breeders from across the world allowed for a whole new communication line to open.
The competition kept us on our toes while we were on the other side of the world. We were tested in many different aspects of farming and this also allowed us to see how they carry out different farming tasks in New Zealand. Visiting many farms in New Zealand I was blown away by the size of the farms and the quality of the land. Although they were experiencing a drought and the land was burnt, while standing looking at fields all I could see was flat land for miles. The welcome and generosity of the farmers was next to nothing. I felt very at home on the whole trip to New Zealand.
The highlight of the trip for me was Wanaka show. It was a show like no other that I had ever attended. From the view, to the way the show was run, was totally different to what I am used to. The classes in the show were very interesting, one that stood out to me was the progeny class where it allowed the breeder to show the genetics carried through from generation to generation. I have never seen a class like that before.
I was nearly in awe for the whole trip of New Zealand. The views of the country are amazing – it is some place I have dreamed of exploring for a long time. Getting to travel to represent Ireland was an amazing pleasure and without the Irish Hereford breed society and Slaney Foods International it would not have been possible. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Slaney Foods International for giving me this once in a lifetime experience.”
Breeders couldn’t have imagined just how challenging the Spring of 2020 would be – their worries only being doubled by the global pandemic – Covid-19 and now facing into a potential drought it seems to be turning into a very hard year for all farmers alike.
The Irish Hereford Breed Society held their first ever online bull sale in GVM Kilmallock on Thursday 28th May. It was very different from a conventional sale with there being no show, bulls having to be delivered at designated intervals and buyers having to make appointments to view unmanned stock. This style of sale is very new to breeders of Pedigree bulls across the market and there are several teething issues such as technology gaps and broken communication between the mart and buyers/sellers. Despite this, the Society wanted to mark the Spring with a sale in a safe manner and thought to be the most advantageous for breeders after researching several different options.
There were 24 bulls presented for auction from across the country and each bull was pre-recorded walking around the show ring on a video on arrival to the mart. The video was played back later at the time of the live auction for bidders to view. An overall clearance rate of 30% was achieved at the sale.
Top of the town was ‘Ardmulchan Omagh’ bred by long time breeders Phil & Catherine Smyth of Ardmulchan Herefords, Co. Meath. This top bull was sired by Church Preen Galileo and has a quality blood line – perfect to improve any herd. Omagh not only is fertility tested but has a 5 star rating for docility & daughter calving interval across all beef breeds. The bull was sold to a breeding herd in Kerry for a top price of €2400. Although much lower than the value of this fine bull and much lower than the desired top sale price – this price is indicative of the hard times that breeders are facing across the country.
Next top bull was ‘Ryemountpoll 1 Knight’ bred by Dermot Kelly from the Ryemount Hereford herd in Co. Kerry. This Solpoll 1 Handsome son, has stars to burn coming out with 5 star replacement & 5 star terminal rate along with being easy calving. This fine bull has moved to new pasture to a breeding herd in the South.
The Society would like to thank all breeders for their patience and support at this time and and take this opportunity to wish all the buyers the very best of luck with their purchases. We hope safe and normal times are in the not too distant future when we can all meet again. Until then – stay safe!
The Society office is still temporarily closed & the phone service is not in use but staff are working remotely. Please contact the Society via e-mail; firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or queries.
The O’Rielly Traditional Butcher shop is a self-sufficient operation in Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford. The Shop is stocked with home reared cattle that are slaughtered in their own abattoir.
Hereford Cross Heifers are an obvious choice for the butcher shop – providing top quality beef for their customers from top quality Heifers.
The owner, Joe O’Rielly, said they choose Hereford cattle to sell in their shop because “Herefords when finished give a nice fat coverage which is what we want for our country based shop. The fat cover allows us to hang the beef on the bone for anything up to 28 days, something you can’t do with lean meat. Hereford have a lovely marble in the meat and a rich red colour which is appealing to the eye of customers. The carcasses aren’t as big as the continental breeds either and finish fast off grass. Smaller carcasses mean smaller cuts of meat, keeping the price down for customers. Herefords are also a calm breed, easy to handle and manage on the farm, not as “flightly” as some of the other breeds”.
All heifers are bought in as young stock and fed on farm until they are slaughtered at 250kgs – the ideal weight for butcher shop cuts. The family are fully immersed in Irish farming & rural life – they also run a Suckler herd and finish heavier cattle for slaughter in a local factory.
During these unprecedented times it is business as usual with the shop remaining open and goods being delivered to car boots for customers. Another local business serving the community in these times of need!
The Irish Hereford Breed Society are delighted to have been able to visit Silverstream Hereford stud – West of Christchurch – as part of the trip to the World Hereford Conference NZ.
Brent & Anna Fisher invited the group into their home & onto their farm to see the smashing horned bull which they have bred; Pute Nascar N13 and which the Irish Society have been lucky enough to obtain straws of this bull for use by our members.
The Hereford herd; Na Puteputi, was started in the North Island by Anna’s parents; Jill & Peter Smyth. The Smyths’ retired and Anna inherited the Hereford herd and moved the cattle to the South Island to join up with the already successful & well established Silverstream Charolais herd. Since then, the herd has grown again in it’s new location and the Fishers currently run 60 Hereford cows & sell roughly 20 Hereford bulls alongside the Charolais bulls at their annual on-farm sale.
The current aim for the Hereford herd at Silverstream is to breed from Pute Nascar N13 with polled cows in order to produce progeny that the customer desires along with producing good sized and well shaped bulls.
Pute Nascar N13 is a top son of Gay Olympus, out of one of the top cows at Silverstream; Pute Rosa H105 . The size, depth, shape & general quality of this bull is incredible. The Society are delighted to have straws now available through the Irish Hereford Breed Society Breed Improvement Scheme from Dovea Genetics. For more info on Pute Nascar N13 & his pedigree please click here!
The week continued with a morning of country reports from each country represented; delivering facts & figures about the population of Hereford cattle, technological developments, genomic testing, youth programmes & association developments in each country.
There were 2 days filled with a panel of speakers on research surrounding climate change, genomics & progeny testing by; Dr. Brad Cook & Prof. Dorian Garrick who presented really interesting & valid information whilst highlighting stark facts such as “We will need to produce almost as much food in the next 30 years as we did in the last 2000 years”.
Dr. Jason Rowntree gave a detailed analysis about developing systems to increase the resilience of food production worldwide and how grazing livestock can improve land and mitigate climate change by capturing carbon and providing other ecosystem services. Dr. Rob Banks of the University of New England discussed the use of data and the future prosperity of the Hereford breed. Agri-environmental analyst; Dr. Jacqueline Rowarth also delivered a presentation on social media and science and where the future lies for the beef industry.
The conference attendees were also treated to the winning presentation from the Young Breeders Competition where Team USA performed flawlessly.
The PGG Wrightson Gala dinner was a highlight of the conference where the 400 conference attendees boarded on the TSS Earnslaw Steamer boat which directed the crowd to the iconic Walter peak station for an evening meal.
Also included in the week were 2 stud visits. The first stud visited was; Earnscleugh Station which is a 21,000-hectare property, owned by the Campbell family since 1862 and now runs Merino sheep, Angus and composite cattle, as well as Herefords. The business also produces wool for elite clothing ranges including ‘Icebreaker’. While at Earnscleugh delegates heard from Dr. Jason Rowntree and Professor Pablo Gregorini who discussed their latest research findings on grazing management.
The second stud visited was Locharburn Station, owned by Geof and Joyce Brown. Locharburn is one of the few horned Hereford studs left in New Zealand, which Geof believes brings an X factor to their cattle. While at Locharburn delegates were given a demonstration on scanning for intramuscular fat (IMF) by Bill Austin of Austins Ultrasound, and Allflex Research reps discussed using Allflex monitoring systems to asses changes in animal behaviour and allow insights into animal health and welfare.
The conference finished up at the Wanaka A&P Show where the teams of Young Handlers from around the globe competed in the show ring, followed by the Show of Hereford cattle. Congratulations to Team New Zealand on winning the Young Breeders Competition & Team Australia on placing Reserve Champions. Well done to our own Team; Eoin, Sinead, Michael & Katie on performing remarkably in all aspects of the competition. Full report here.
A large part of the world Hereford Conference is for the World Hereford Council & country delegates to meet & discuss World Hereford matters, make further decisions & elect the incoming Secretary General which this term is none other then the Irish Society’s very own; Mr. LarryFeeney, replacing the outgoing Secretary General Mr Jose (Pepe) Bonico from Uruguay. The Irish Society are delighted with Larry’s new post & look forward to future global developments.
Another decision made at the Delegates meeting is the host country for the next World Hereford Conference which on this occasion is USA. The American Hereford Association will host the next conference in Kansas City, Missouri in July 2024.
Along with the conference agenda – extra tours and activities were organised for the partners of attendees including wine tasting/Lord of the Rings tours/ Cycling tours & boat trips etc. which meant there was something organised for everyone!
There were also 4 extra & optional tours (Get over your jetlag tour / North Island Pre-tour / South Island Pre-tour / Kaikoura Extension tour) organised as part of the Conference to give attendees a look at some of the Top Hereford studs across New Zealand as well as a taste of Kiwi culture & tourist attractions. These tours were a fantastic opportunity for oversees visitors to make the most of their trip & their time abroad while meeting fellow breeders & enjoying a social outing.
Massive Congratulations & thanks to the New Zealand Hereford Association and the sponsors; PGG Wrightson Livestock – Boeringer Ingelheim – Allflex – Neogen Australasia & all behind the scenes for organising a fantastic conference from start to finish including 4 excellent tours. A lot of hard work and grit went into the organising of this conference and it was clear to see it paid off for the hard working committee. Hats off to all. Looking forward to Kansas 2024.