Ann Fitzgerald once again raised the ire of many Hereford enthusiasts with her article in the Farming Independent last week.
Farming Independent Journalist Ann Fitzgerald is it would appear suffering severe pain and anguish given the current price of beef available in the market place. Anne is wife of beef farmer Robin Talbot, Coole, Ballacolla, Co Laois. They farm some 600 acres approx. in some of the best farming land in Ireland. They use Belgian Blue and Limousin stock bulls while the cows are Limousin cross. Robin hosts farm visits; mainly by other farmers and agricultural students but also by others from the broader agri sector and will always try to facilitate anybody wishing to visit. “In order for farming to survive I believe it is critical that farmers help each other by sharing their experiences and information” so says Robert on his website.
Given such an information sharing approach Robert will I feel welcome an opportunity for him and his wife Anne to study research by Teagasc at Johnstown Castle which indicates a gross margin of up to €2000 per hectare from Hereford cross achievable. Published by Teagasc the content of this document was delivered at the National Beef Conference held at the New Park Hotel Kilkenny on 9th October 2013. Can suckler beef figures compete?
Anne’s recent article in the Farming Independent “Pointless following Market Trend For No Profit” finishing with “Indeed, with the exception of a few small niche markets, the only places that these early maturing breeds are being farmed commercially are where hormones can be used” is derogatory and appears to be a cry for help but in her desperation she cannot see the wood for the trees or perhaps refuses to see that a less blinkered approach could yield dividends.
This Society does not and will not run down or denigrate any other breed of cattle as Ann Fitzgerald has done in her obvious frustration at current beef prices. Her vitriolic finishing paragraph quoted above while blatantly untrue is unworthy of a journalist of her calibre. This is not a first offense and appears at this point to be a deeply ingrained obsession. We feel your pain Ann but suggest you divert your anger elsewhere.
It is the position of the Irish Hereford Society that all of the cattle breeds currently within the country have a role to play and differing strengths to offer the producer. There is probably more difference within than between breeds. The promotion of a product should not be dependent on denigrating the product of the competition. The Hereford breed has many major plus factors that are based on solid facts as identified by Teagasc at Johnstown and elsewhere across the great beef producing countries of the world. Ease of calving, docility, milk and fertility are very desirable traits. Carcass size, conformation and fat-score are ideal for current markets in the UK and beyond. Branded Hereford beef is in wide demand on the home market in the UK and in top restaurants and supermarkets across Europe. Long may it continue we say and well done to those Hereford beef producers who each week supply the necessary product to fill these branded beef markets worth in excess of 5 million per annum and growing. There are also opportunities for new suppliers.
Ann please note
The Hereford breed is not responsible for current beef prices.
The performance of the breed at Tully and elsewhere has equalled and bettered that of other breeds.
The Hereford breed has invested immense effort and capital in improving the genetics within the breed.
The Hereford breed has invested time, effort and capital in the development and promotion of its beef.
The Hereford breed will consort with and cross well with other beef and dairy breeds. The Hereford is not racist.
Teagasc figures show that there is no better suckler dam than the Hereford cross.
Hereford sired stock including those out of continental cross dams qualify for premium prices through the branded beef schemes.
Should we send flowers or perhaps a voucher for a delicious, succulent Hereford steak to ease the mind and caress the palate.
Full credit goes to Northern Ireland Hereford breeders who had a tremendous turnout of cattle at the annual Balmoral show. All animals were were well presented and in very good show condition given it is so early in the season. Numbers of Herefords entered were possibly the highest ever and the largest representation for any cattle breed at the event. Just two breeders from the south had Herefords exhibited. Coote Geelan a regular exhibitor and former championship winner had a team from his Baltymore herd in Co Leitrim on show while Albert De Cogan, Castlemartyr had a Hereford heifer. Albert also had his Angus bull Rosemead Karona J957 on display initially winning his class and later going all the way to take the Angus Championship.
The Reserve Grand Female Hereford Champion came from the first class of the day, and was exhibited by John and Karen Taggart, Carrowdore. Their eight year old cow “Knockmountagh Olga” bred by Eamon McKiernan, Monasterboice, Co Louth has enjoyed a super show career and was shown with her calf at foot. She is sired by Churchill Storm, and is out of Knockmountagh Aileen. There were 10 cows forward in this class making it the largest Senior Female Class in the entire beef section.
Andrew McMordie celebrated success winning the Reserve Grand Hereford Male Championship with his September 2012 born Solitude 1 Kingdom, a son of Gouldingpoll 1 Captain (GCT) bred by Matthew Goulding, Ballyduff, Co Kerry and currently standing at Dovea Genetics, Co Tipperary. This red ticket winner represented a sole entry from Andrew’s Solitude herd based at Ballygowan and sold at the show to a local pedigree breeder.
“Craigy Honey Pie 2nd” was winner of the July – December 2012 born Hereford female class for Desmond Martin, Saintfield. This home bred heifer is sired by the highly successful Parkhill Pompeii a son of Yarram Pompeii V055 the noted BIS sire and the dam is Duibhgiolla Honey Pie bred by well-known Co Leitrim breeders Kevin & Monica Diffley.
Judge for the event was Andrew Owen, Church Preen Herefords, Shropshire, UK Report with assistance of Libby Clarke Photos by Alfie Shaw
Sponsors night got Tullamore Show on the road with style
With almost 300 in attendance in the Bridge House Tullamore, on Wednesday 4th June, the Sponsors Night and Show Programme Launch went off to a roaring success!
Over 50,000 visitors are expected to attend the forthcoming AIB National Livestock show at Tullamore on Sunday August 10th next. Several new innovations have been added to the event for 2014 including a revamped livestock exhibition area and show rings. The event includes the National Hereford Show at which over 100 top class Pedigree Hereford cattle will be exhibited. Entries are currently flowing in for the event to the show office at Tullamore. Closing date for Hardcopy entries is July 11th next while those completing their entries online have until July 18th. Entries may be completed and further information on the event obtained by checking out http://www.tullamoreshow.com
Semen of the fifteen month old select Hereford sire Haven Kingpin has just arrived and is available to members through the Society’s Breed Improvement Scheme. This scheme which has now been running over forty years is one of the most innovative and successful established by the Irish Hereford Breed Society and its participating members. Through the scheme top class genetics from at home and across the world are made available to participating pedigree Hereford herd owners irrespective of herd size at cost price. The objective of the scheme is the overall improvement of the quality of the breed through the use of top genetics from at home and across the world.
The latest recruit to the BIS team is Haven Kingpin a young sire from the Haven herd at Dilwyn, Hereford, one of the oldest and best known in the UK. This bull was selected by members of the Society’s Breed Improvement Committee on his looks, and on his pedigree background. This young bull combines thickness with length. The dam line is one of the best at the Haven herd.
Breedplan May 2014: His Breedplan Terminal figure is +36 Breed Average is +22. Self-Replacing Index is +44 Breed Av is +26. His EBV’S indicate his 200, 400 & 600 day weight will be higher and his 200 day milk higher with shorter gestation putting him in the top echelons of the breed in the UK.
Kingpin’sdam Haven Splendour 25th is a very good cow with milk while the grandam Splendour 23rd is a very consistent cow that has produced a number of top progeny including Haven Governor.
Kingpin’ssire GH Adams 144S Bulge 138W is one of the better bulls to come out of Canada in recent times. The committee believe the combination of bloodlines has produced a sire of outstanding merit. Semen is available by contacting the Society’s office at 044/9348855. (Please allow at least two weeks for delivery)
The last thing Lorraine Connolly, Ballylarkin, Freshford expected on her birthday was a call from Slaney Foods, Wexford to tell her she was the winner of their April Slaney/ Hereford/ LIDL competition. Offered the choice of a 500 Euro Hereford bull purchase voucher or a 400 Euro LIDL shopping voucher she quickly choose the LIDL voucher.
With four fast growing sons plus husband Paudie to cater for Lorraine had no hesitation in her selection. “Whether shopping at LIDL or keeping Herefords your money goes further” stated the obviously delighted winner. A chef by profession in addition to her farming enterprise Lorraine is very conscious of quality food and in particular quality beef.
Quality Hereford sired calves are purchased each year usually at Thurles Co-op mart and taken to slaughter at two years or less. Quality grass and silage are an integral part of the diet. Sons Padraig (who has just had a trial for the under 14’s), Connor, Mark and Cian all aspiring Kilkenny county hurlers who are also keen John Deere fans were looking forward to silage making on May 16th which is two weeks earlier than in 2013 and looks a bumper crop.
The competition is part of a campaign to attract additional suppliers of quality assured Hereford sired steers and heifers for the very successful Slaney/Hereford beef program at Slaney Foods and continues throughout May and June.
Delighted with “a LIDL bit of magic” on her birthday Lorraine is looking forward to her shopping spree at LIDL which she says will definitely include the purchase of a supply of “Deluxe” Irish Hereford Beef which has been a top seller since its launch as part of the LIDL “Deluxe” range.