Herd of the Year Award
How did Buccleuch get involved?
Buccleuch has bred Shorthorn cattle for over 20 years. The breed, as we know it today, has evolved over two centuries in Britain. It is enormously important to the development of other cattle, with Shorthorn genetics used worldwide in the development of over 40 different breeds.
Used for both beef and dairy, the breed has a bright future. This is exemplified in schemes, such as the supermarket chain, Morrisons, which has its own native breeds programme. Seeking to increase their Beef Shorthorn supply by 15%, their plans reflect a long standing commitment to the breed, as well as supporting customer demand. Morrisons currently sponsor the UK-wide Beef Shorthorn Suckler Herd of the Year Award, which Buccleuch won in February 2015 at the Stirling Bull Sales.
Buccleuch’s herd of 500 cows was praised for excellent management of a beef enterprise within a large estate. A targeted approach to the use of genetics within the herd, aligned to end market requirements, resulted in a high quality product for consumers. The cows have been selected to work within a hill environment, producing a calf fit to be sold on for fattening (sold store).
Furthermore, Sion Williams, Farm Manager, was commended for his clear vision of the herd’s role within the business, which is being used to produce a fertile and robust suckler cow with a good temperament and performance traits. His attention to detail on all aspects of herd management, facilitated by their implementation of electronic identification across the herd and benchmarking against industry figures, were just some of the factors that contributed to their win. With cows tagged for 19 years, the team has been able to record all cows at handling, including weight and drug treatments. Always looking for new methods, they’re also currently involved with a Scottish Government trial to test new tags which would mean the cow could carry all its medical, breeding and movement history within the one tag. This would help traceability from farm to plate and help get rid of paper passports.
Winning the award is a great achievement for Buccleuch. It shows we can produce some of the best products in the country and shines a spotlight on the dedication, time and effort the team put in to ensure their work is of the highest standard. The award will enhance the markets and bring more buyers in the annual store sale as they become well known for their innovative selling system.