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Association Fees

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(with effect from 1st March 2019)

 

£25  Registration of all calves up to the age of 1 year

 

£50 Registration of all calves over the age of 1 year

 

£25  Registration of all calves got by A.I. or UK embryo up to the age of 1 year

 

£50  Registration of all calves got by A.I. or UK embryo over the age of 1 year

 

£10  Transfer of Ownership

 

£N/A  Transfer of Animals at Association Sales

Annual subscription (due 1st January)

Members please be aware that the deadline for membership renewal is the 1st April, after this date unpaid subscriptions will have the membership revoked. 

Please Note: A certificate is required for A.I

 

Membership Forms

Standing Order Mandate

Calf Registration Form

Transfer Of Ownership Form

Links

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Stackyard Agricultural Links

 

Worldwide links to pedigree cattle and sheep breed societies and associations, colleges, agricultural machinery, auction markets - anything related to farming on the web.

Grassroots Systems

 

Grassroots Systems Ltd have been developing software for pedigree livestock farmers and Breed Societies since 1997.

Gerald Babcock Rural Services

 

From conservation grazing with Whitebred Shorthorn cattle and Dartmoor ponies to brush cutting, controlled burns, bracken and knotweed control, Cornish hedging and fencing.

Rare Breed Survival Trust

 

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust has played a leading role in the conservation of rare breeds of UK farm animals for nearly 30 years.

H & H 

 

Harrison & Hetherington are the Official Auctioneers for the Whitebred Shorthorn Association.

National Beef Association

 

The National Beef Association is a UK-wide organisation open to everyone with an interest in the British Cattle Industry.

Farm Images

 

Wayne Hutchinson is now recognised as one of the UK's leading Agricultural and livestock photographers.

C & D Auction Marts

 

Longtown Mart in Cumbria is the venue for the bi-annual 'Kirkcambeck' sales of

Blue-grey bullocks.

HiHealth Herd Care

 

Biobest Herdcare and Hi Health Ltd have merged brands to bring you Hi Health Herdcare, one of the leading CHeCS accredited cattle health scheme providers.

Articles

Low Arvie Open Day

 

Open Day at Low Arvie, Corsock, Castle Douglas

By kind permission of Mike and June Taylor 

Thursday 6th September 2018

June and Mike Taylor moved their Glentyne fold of Highland cattle and Whitebred Shorthorns to Low Arvie in 2017 after 28 years on the island of Arran. Mike and June first became interested in Whitebred Shorthorns about 4 years ago following a visit to an Open Day held near New Luce, Stranraer. 

Hall Farm Open Day
 

Open Day at Hall Farm, Brendon, Lynton, North Devon

Saturday 14th July 2018

By kind invitation of Karen Wall

The open day was a great success. Attending were Association members, prospective breeders and buyers and interest from the local community keen to see the cattle.

Much thought, work and worry had gone into the preparation for the day including a brush up for the cattle. 

The farm is set in beautiful rolling countryside and valleys within The Exmoor National Park, close to the Somerset border and the coast.

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Whitebred Shorthorns in South West Cornwall

A recent trip to the Penzance area in SW Cornwall provided a very interesting insight into two very different uses for the Whitebred Shorthorn. Karen Wall, owner of the Trenow herd, and Gerald and Anne Babcock, owners of the Pendeen herd, work closely with their animals despite using their cattle in totally different ways.

Securing Whitebred Shorthorn Genetics for the Future

A report by Ruth Dalton, Rare Breeds Survival Trust Field Officer (North) 

September 2015

Earlier this year, Helen and Philip Marginson of the Northwood herd of Whitebred Shorthorns contacted me to ask whether RBST would be interested in flushing one of their cows, Lochdochart Snowfall 15th, for embryos. Although embryo transfer in cattle is a technique that has been carried out for decades, it is something that RBST has only just started to employ, as previously the costs have made semen collection from bulls a much more viable option.

Although some of the semen we collect is made available for sale, the primary purpose is to create an archive of genetic material that would be available in case of dire emergency in the future. To this end, we always maintain a stock of 90 straws that are not sold or used for any other purpose. However, this does only represent part of the genetic material of an animal, some of which is only held in female DNA, so we have been investigating the possibilities of a large fund raising effort to extend our collections to embryos as well as semen. 

Snowfall 15th is one of the first cows we have flushed in this way, and we were very grateful to the Marginsons for offering her, and fortunate to be able to use a little funding remaining from the Prince of Wales, who kindly donated money to allow us to purchase the RBST herds of Whitebreds at Dumfries House and in West Wales.

Helen and Philip prepared the cow using a series of hormone injections, which caused the cow to "super-ovulate", she was then inseminated at a precise time in the cycle, as with normal AI, but we used three different AI bulls - Corrie Riever, Longley Talisman and Spoutbank Gay Gordon. The bulls were chosen as they were considered to be the best genetic match to the cow, and we used three bulls because this has been shown to increase the success rate owing to a phenomenon known as “sperm competition”. Five days after insemination, the embryos were flushed out of the cow by gently washing the uterus with a saline solution. They were then frozen for storage. We were lucky to have the experience of the specialist ET team at veterinary practice Lambert, Leonard and May, who were able to make the journey to Lancashire to carry out this final part of the process. 

Helen and I were at the Great Yorkshire Show with one of their other cows, Northwood Elizabeth, who was star of the show on the RBST stand, so there was an anxious wait as we had left Philip “holding the baby” at home. It was a great relief and a real milestone for RBST’s new embryo “bank” when Philip rang to tell us that 5 embryos had been collected of high enough quality for freezing. RBST is hugely indebted to the Marginsons for the time and effort they put in to making this possible, and we are delighted to have some Whitebred Shorthorn embryos safely in storage in case they should ever be needed in the future.

Great Yorkshire Show: September 2015

Chairmans Comments

One of our newer breeders, Helen Marginson, supplied a young cow (first calver) and her calf on the RBST stand at the 2015 Great Yorkshire Show. The cow is bred from Lochdochart Snowfall 14th and is by Burnedge Arnold. She had a bull calf sired by Ben Ledi Joe 2nd at foot. Their good conformation, abundant maternal traits and superb temperament drew a huge amount of interest.

I am very hopeful this will lead to more enquiries for breeding stock. The RBST tent was very well located and the footfall was huge. Many thanks to Helen Marginson, ably assisted by her husband Philip, and also to Ruth Dalton for providing the opportunity to promote our breed further.

Helen Marginson - Northwood Farm, Lancashire

Flying the flag for the Whitebred Association. 

With much trepidation, having never considered showing cattle in my life and being a complete novice, this July I agreed to take a Whitebred Shorthorn cow and calf as part of the RBST display at The Great Yorkshire Show. This show is a huge shop window for both agriculture and the general population interested in country life. Every breed of commercial cattle seems to have a class, but as far as I'm aware it's never seen a Whitebred Shorthorn on its grounds. 

Having never been in a trailer, let alone to a show, Northwood Elizabeth (06388) with her bull calf by Ben Ledi Joe 2nd (12269) was installed in the RBST tent for the next 4 days. True to breed she took the whole process of this very noisy and busy event in her stride. Accompanied by the Association chairman Donald Hendry and RBST field officer Ruth Dalton, we had a very busy 3 days of being on display to vast numbers of the general public. 

The young cow and calf attracted much interest from farmers, and generated many enquiries about the feasibility of cross breeding the Whitebred Shorthorn on different breeds; many farmers seem to be looking towards low input, sustainable suckler cows, that calve easily and milk their calves well, all traits that the Whitebred Shorthorn breed display in abundance. I am so pleased to report the event has generated at least 2 new breeders for the society. Although a tiring week I felt it was well worth the effort. 

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Scottish Beef Association Event 2015

This event was held at Mains of Mause, Blairgowrie, Perthshire on the 27th May 2015 and advertised as a “Beef from the hills” event.

Janice and Adrian Wheelwright supplied the bull and put together an excellent stand which ensured a good steady flow of interest throughout the day. Many thanks to them for all their efforts both in stand preparation and time on the stand. In addition many thanks to John Whitfield who travelled up from Northumberland and spent the day on the stand.

We had a good number of visitors to the stand but many of them were “the converted” as is common at these broad brush events. However, as is usual with these events, a lot of the interest was targeted at the terminal sire breeds. The resident "hill cows" were Limousin's and I think a lot of the event visitors were there to see them and to view/participate in the dispersal sale that took place at the event. 

As with previous similar events I came away feeling that running our own events targeting the real "beef from the hills" is the way forward.

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Loch Katrine Whitebred Shorthorns 

In 2009 Forestry Commission (Scotland) formed the Katrine Fold of Highland cattle, with young heifers bought in from mostly West coast sources. There are now eighty young cows plus groups of replacements, split into four minifolds. The cattle graze on the catchment area of Lochs Katrine and Arklet, which together provide the water supply for Glasgow. The total area of the catchment is approximately nine thousand hectares of which the cattle presently graze about eighthundred hectares. The land is owned by Scottish Water, and the Forestry Commission have it on a onehundred and fifty year lease, with the aim of establishing new native woodland and improving the upland habitats on a landscape scale. The cattle at Loch Katrine graze a variety of habitat at different times of year, helping us to improve the condition of open grassland, broadleaved woodland, upland heath and areas of raised bog.

Whitebred Shorthorns and Blue Greys contribute to the environment at Hotbank Farm

The Whitebred Shorthorn and its Galloway cross daughters suit the windswept acres of Hotbank Farm, near Bardon Mill which straddles the Roman Wall.

Not only do the hardy, traditional cattle stand up to the elements even when outwintered with little supplementary feed, they are also helping to contribute to the environment on this World Heritage site.

Tenants of the National Trust, John Pattinson, his wife Pamela and their son Jonjo farm the severely disadvantaged Hotbank and Cragend in compliance with many organisations including the Northumberland National Park, English Heritage and English Nature.

Ben Ledi Whitebred Shorthorns

November 2011 saw the arrival of the first Whitebred Shorthorns for the new Ben Ledi herd at Gartchonzie Farm, Callander, Perthshire. Gartchonzie Farm lies to the west of Callander, with stunning views to the north and Ben Ledi.

Females were bought from several long established herds after considerable time and effort visiting most of the remaining herds and identifying suitable animals. Once identified, animals were subjected to health screening with the requirement that they test clear for Johne’s, BVD, IBR and Leptospirosis. Only “clean” animals were then purchased.

 

 Dumfries House Visit

Some thirty five people attended the Whitebred Shorthorn Association visit to Dumfries House in Ayrshire on a glorious day in September 2013. Andrew Loftus showed us around the farm and the set up for cattle. We saw the bulls kept including Longley Quartz. A short walk across the fields to the cows and calves. The cows and calves seemed quite happy to have us all there. Our thanks to Andrew Loftus for the farm tour, to Andrew Robinson for finding time away from calving to contribute to our conversations and Claire Robinson for the wonderful refreshments at the end of the morning. Many of the group then spent time taking a tour of Dumfries House and exploring the grounds.

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Pendeen & Trenow Open Days

 The open farm days at Pendeen on 28th & 29th July 2014 attracted 66 people on day one and over 40 on day two. Visitors were shown the conservation grazing being carried out by the Pendeen herd of Whitebred Shorthorn cattle and Dartmoor ponies in Devon. Gerald Babcock is an experienced grazier and advisor on conservation grazing for the environment.

Gerald Babcock works in partnership with neighbour Karen Wall of Trenow Cove Micro dairy. Karen takes the calves off the milkers for rearing by Gerald. Heifers return to the dairy herd in time to become accustomed to the dairy routine before calving.

Karen milks eight cows in the dairy and Gerald Babcock looks after the cows when they are not milking, when they are young, in early pregnancy or "dry " cows who have fin-ished milking for a time. When the cows are away from Trenow they spend their time up on the Penwith Moors where they are used for conservation grazing.

Five more Whitebred Shorthorns have travelled down to West Cornwall, joining the four that have already had great success conservation grazing part of the Penwith Moors near Pendeen. A registered Whitebred bull and two registered bulling heifers have been bought by Gerald and Anne Babcock, who own the four heifers already at Pendeen, in far West Cornwall. Two younger registered Whitebred Shorthorn heifers have been purchased by Karen Wall of Perranuthnoe. Karen hopes to use her heifers as 'house cows' and sell their calves to Gerald and Anne to join their Pendeen herd.

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 Whitebred Shorthorns to graze Penwith Moors

Four registered Whitebred Shorthorn heifers have been bought from the Bloch herd belonging to George and Ian Bell, at Langholm in Dumfriesshire to graze the Penwith Moors on the Cornish coast. Gerald Babcock at Pendeen in the far west of Cornwall made the purchase, the heifers are to be the foundation of the new Pendeen herd and together with a small herd of Shetland Ponies will be used for conservation grazing on the Penwith Moors. The heifers have been AI'd to Spoutbank Gay Gordon under a synchronized control breeding plan.

Due to modern farming methods and the introduction of motor vehicles the Penwith Moors have been abandoned for the last 100 years leading to a “monoculture” of wall to wall bracken. To bring back bio diversity to the moors, conservation grazing is needed alongside controlled burns, scrub management and bracken spraying with Azulox using the Micron Ulva method. 

Unlike Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Mid Cornwall Moors (Goss Moor), On Penwith Moors due to the abandonment of cattle grazing, this lack of contact with cattle has lead to a fear of them. Mr Babcock hopes to address this issue using the very placid Whitebred Shorthorn which is ideally suited to solve the problem. The cattle can be easily seen on the moors because their "whiteness" stands out against the colour of the landscape.

Mr Babcock is hoping th arrange "workshops" for local walkers, dog owners and horse riders entitled "Meet our Rare Breeds" to encourage them to overcome their fear of cattle. Mr Babcock hopes to involve the local community in the development of the herd in an effort to stop this modern irrational fear of cattle and would welcome your comments, he can be contacted at: babruralservices@btinternet.com

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Whitebred Shorthorn Cross Welsh Black Cattle

November 2012

Lochdochart Titan bred by John Christie, Lochdochart, has been used on Welsh Black cows by Gareth Davies at Wernlas Farm, Penderyn in Mid Glamorgan and produced some superb calves.

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Borderway Agri Expo 2012

The Association attended the sixth Borderway Agri-Expo held at Borderway Mart Carlisle on Friday 2nd November 2012.

On show was a Whitebred Shorthorn bull Parton Comet bred by Messrs Hewson and loaned by Adrian Wheelwright and a Whitebred Shorthorn cross Highland Cow with a Simmental calf at foot, which created much interest during the day.

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Whitebred Shorthorn Cross Welsh Black Cattle

Donald Hendry attended the Oban Native Breed Female sale on Tuesday 23rd October 2012

I attended the Native Breed Female sale in Oban on Tuesday as a follow on to the road show. While the trade in general was very disappointing the vendors of Whitebred Shorthorn cross heifers did much better than most with strong demand for light coloured heifers. This sale represents the major West Coast of Scotland outlet for particularly Highland cross heifer calves, most lots usually going for breeding. In recent years the sale has been dominated by Beef Shorthorn crosses. However a small selection of Simmental and Whitebred Shorthorn cross heifers have been much sought after and have a least matched if not bettered the Beef Shorthorn crosses for price in recent years.

This year the sale suffered a substantial drop in prices across the board. Higher numbers forward at this early sale reflected concerns over winter feed costs and a general uncertainty in the industry. The most marked drop in trade was in the darker coloured (Beef) Shorthorn cross heifers. They were typically trading at between £1.40p and £1.60p per kilo. The good news for the Whitebred Shorthorn consignments was that the more obviously Whitebred cross they were (lighter colours), the better the trade. Several notable vendors using pedigree quality Whitebred Shorthorn bulls received a brisk trade with averages at or just over £2.00p per kilo.

These consignments included Glen Turret Estate with calves sired by a Burnedge bull, Messers Corbett of Lochbuie, Mull who are using a Lochdochart bull and the Bannerman's from Old Manse, Balmaha who use a Row bull. (These consignments had tops in excess of £2.50 per kilo.) The promotion stand received considerable interest and many fliers were uplifted, including some supplied by the Blue Grey Cattle Group. Several of the interested parties from the summer shows approached to chat again - they were obviously well aware of the interest in the Whitebred Shorthorn cross calves. I am very hopeful we will have a few more new customers in the next couple of years.

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Whitebred Shorthorn Roadshow

Donald Hendry and Adrian Wheelwright kicked off a programme of attending some of Scotlands west coast Agricultural Shows during 2012 with stands at Salen, Portree, Lochaber and Dalmally. Making a further attempt to raise awareness of the breed in an area that used to provide many buyers for Whitebred Shorthorn bulls, primarily for crossing with the native Highland cattle. Historically the Highland x Whitebred was known as the "Crofter's cow" producing sufficient milk to keep the crofter and his family in milk and also rear a calf.

Bluegrey Cattle Group Promotion

This year Blue Grey Cattle producers and keepers have attended agricultural shows including Angus, the Royal Highland, the Great Yorkshire, Dumfries & Lockerbie and Peebles. Braco was cancelled due to the poor weather while other shows are coming up soon (Yarrow 8th Sept, Westmorland 13th Sept and H&H Expo 2nd Nov). 

The response at shows has been fantastic, with lots of interest in Blue Greys as well as Whitebred Shorthorns and Galloways. The greatest draw to our stands has been the tremendous Blue Grey cows with calves - many thanks to Mr W Porter of Cashlie Estate, Perthshire, Mr J Wood of Potholm, Langholm, Mr S McClymont of Tinnis, Yarrow. Thanks to Mrs McCall Smith of Conachan, Crieff, who was ready with Blue Grey heifers for the Braco Show. And thanks also to Mr A Hogg of Milnholm, Langholm for the excellent Whitebred Shorthorn bull calf and cow which was on display at Peebles. Thanks also to the many other involved in setting up the marquees and taking a turn on the stands - it has been a tremendous team effort.

At shows we have taken the opportunity to broadcast the Blue Grey costings which were independently produced by the SAC with the assistance of Dodd & Co (Carlisle). These results show that Blue Grey herd net margin (profit) outperformed the 2010 QMS National Hill average by nearly £300 per head - this was driven mainly by the excellent fertility / numbers reared and the exceptionally low Vet & Med costs, reflecting ease of calving, and lack of incidence of ailment. The costings are all the more amazing when it is considered that roughly half of all predominantly Blue Grey herds in the UK took part in the work (therefore it is very representative of the population) and the sample itself was not cherry picked, but picked blind and involved only those kind souls who were mainly pressured into taking part.

It can only be hoped that our hard work will pay off through a good trade at the H&H Newcastleton Blue Grey sales (30th & 31st October) and C&D Blue Grey bullock sale (20th Oct & 26th Mar 13).

Karen Telford

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Whitebred Shorthorns feature at Highland Cattle Open Days

Whitebred Shorthorns have featured at two Highland Cattle Open days held on Friday 9th September 2011 at Glenturret Estate and Saturday 10th September at Loch Katrine. On Friday 9th September some of our members attended the Highland Cattle Society Open Day to see the Highland Cow in her traditional surrounding at the 6000 acre Glenturret Estate just outside of Crieff in Perthshire. This mainly south facing estate is free draining and has approximately 4000 acres of heather moor and has been owned by Mr & Mrs Alex Seldon for over 14 years.

Whitebred Shorthorns move into Loch Katrine woodland

Forestry Commission Scotland is doing its bit to help save rare cattle breeds – by putting the endangered Whitebred Shorthorn cattle to good use in a conservation project. Bred mainly in the border counties of England and Scotland, there are now only 250 breeding females left, giving these cattle “Critical Status 1” on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust listings.

Stewart Hendry, who looks after the cattle, said: “This breed was already facing tough competition from European breeds and was then badly affected by the last big outbreak of Foot & Mouth disease. “We’ve purchased 10 young purebred Whitebred Shorthorn for the Loch Katrine project and one additional bull for our grazing projects in Lochaber and will look to create a small, select herd of quality animals. “Grazing them at Loch Katrine is a very effective and natural way to support woodland regeneration but having a herd away from the main nucleus of the breed in the borders areas of Scotland and North England will also be a useful insurance policy against future disease epidemics.”

The main production from Loch Katrine will be first cross Highland/Whitebred Shorthorn heifers of High Health status to help to meet the rising commercial demand for these excellent cattle. The male calves will be used for conservation grazing elsewhere on FCS land.

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Pendeen & Trenow Whitebred Shorthorns

Five more Whitebred Shorthorns have travelled down to West Cornwall, joining the four that have already had great success conservation grazing part of the Penwith Moors near Pendeen. A registered Whitebred bull and two registered bulling heifers have been bought by Gerald and Anne Babcock, who own the four heifers already at Pendeen, in far West Cornwall. Two younger registered Whitebred Shorthorn heifers have been purchased by Karen Wall of Perranuthnoe. Karen hopes to use her heifers as 'house cows' and sell their calves to Gerald and Anne to join their Pendeen herd.

The bull and two heifers came from George and Ian Bell's Bloch herd and the other two heifers have been purchased from Gordon Gilligan's High Creoch herd, (both farms are situated within the Scottish borders).

This is what Gerald had to say:

"The conservation grazing abilities of the Whitebred Shorthorn and their appeal to our community has been outstanding. The heifers can be easily seen on the hillsides attracting great interest. They have opened up areas that have been impassible for over sixty years, great news for locals and visitors who come to walk on our moors. The breed's placid temperment and cute looks makes them very endearing to the general public. We will take them off the moor at the end of November and bring them home to have their first calves in the new year. We will return them to the moors when their calves are well grown and cudding. Past experience has taught me that grazing, cudding, well grown calves will lie out in the open, making themselves easy to find and count. Their mothers are much less protective at this stage, making things much safer for the general public. For the future development of the herd we hope to have Karen's registered calves, which my wife Anne will bucket rear to later join the progeny from our own six heifers.

Our controlled breeding plan using A.I. did not work very well. One heifer took to the A.I. but the rest were sorted out by our Simmental bull! To avoid a repeat of this we have now acquired our own Whitebred Shorthorn bull from the Bloch herd. It has a different bloodlines from all of the heifers".

Anne and Gerald, together with Gerald's mother would like to take this opportunity to thank the Bell and Gilligan families for their wonderful hospitality, when they visited them last summer and since then, their help with starting a Whitebred Shorthorn herd in Cornwall.

 

Whitebred Shorthorn Semen exported to the USA

Ranchers in the US who are being forced to re-evaluate the economics of their beef production systems are looking to one of the UK’s oldest breeds, the Whitebred Shorthorn, for help.

In what could prove to be the saviour for the breed, semen has been exported to the US to cross with breeding females - and embryos are likely to follow later this year. Higher oil and grain prices in the US are forcing producers to re-consider the type of cattle they are rearing and go back to basics with cattle that can process forages cheaply and efficiently.

Pendeen & Trenow Whitebred Shorthorns

Four registered Whitebred Shorthorn heifers have been bought from the Bloch herd belonging to George and Ian Bell, at Langholm in Dumfriesshire to graze the Penwith Moors on the Cornish coast. Gerald Babcock at Pendeen in the far west of Cornwall made the purchase, the heifers are to be the foundation of the new Pendeen herd and together with a small herd of Shetland Ponies will be used for conservation grazing on the Penwith Moors. The heifers have been AI'd to Spoutbank Gay Gordon under a synchronized control breeding plan.

Due to modern farming methods and the introduction of motor vehicles the Penwith Moors have been abandoned for the last 100 years leading to a “monoculture” of wall to wall bracken. To bring back bio diversity to the moors, conservation grazing is needed alongside controlled burns, scrub management and bracken spraying with Azulox using the Micron Ulva method. 

Unlike Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Mid Cornwall Moors (Goss Moor), On Penwith Moors due to the abandonment of cattle grazing, this lack of contact with cattle has lead to a fear of them. Mr Babcock hopes to address this issue using the very placid Whitebred Shorthorn which is ideally suited to solve the problem. The cattle can be easily seen on the moors because their "whiteness" stands out against the colour of the landscape.

Mr Babcock is hoping to arrange "workshops" for local walkers, dog owners and horse riders entitled "Meet our Rare Breeds" to encourage them to overcome their fear of cattle. 2Ha maximum controlled burn on the Chypraze Cliffs in 2008 before grazing to encourage the return of the Cornish Chough

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Whitebred Shorthorn cross Simmental Cattle

Roddy Macleod, farm manager for The Firm of Moy Farm, Banavie, Fort-William borrowed a Whitebred Shorthorn bull to use on some Simmental X heifers. He tells us of his experience;


The heifers all calved unaided, The male calves were sold at Fort-William Auction Mart on May 30th 2008 at around 8 months old. They weighed 337kgs and made £550, that is £1.63/kg. They weighed around 30kg less than Charolais calves of the same age and around 10p/kg less. I intend keeping the heifer calves as replacements for the herd, but I was asked if I had heifers of a similar breeding and were they for sale. I said no, not even when offered over £600 each.

Moy extends to 680 hectares of which 45 are ploughable, 25 are permanent grass and the rest is hill rising to 2800 feet. Situated 7 miles from the foot of Ben Nevis, the farm is split by the Caledonian Canal with access by a 200 year old hand operated swing bridge. 

The farm carries 480 Blackface ewes on the hill with no supplementary feeding. Scanned twins are run on grass with silage only until end June then put to hill. 70% lambs reared all sold store. Ewe hoggs are wintered at home on grass.

60 Simmental cross cows are put to the Charolais bull, with half calving late September/October, these calves sold locally in May. Cows are then are put to the hill until calving. The spring calves are born late April/May, run on old pasture and sold in October. All cattle are housed for up to 7 months at great expense. 

After trying AI, I borrowed a Whitebred Shorthorn bull to run with heifers. 14 have now calved, all unaided. All females are to be kept for breeding. My aim is to produce a more economical suckler cow, i.e. smaller, milkier and docile, these Whitebred Shorthorn cross calves seem to fit the bill. In the future I may consider using a Whitebred Shorthorn to produce replacements for sale.

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Outwintering cows on lowland cuts costs

High wintering costs are making suckler cows uneconomic for many Scottish hill farms. So an Angus farmer has taken to outwintering cows on lowland arable ground to reduce inputs and avoid hauling feed into the hills.

Willie Porter and son James farm three arable units, East Scryne, West Scryne and Carnegie, totalling 364ha (900 acres), near Carnoustie, on the Angus coast. They grow barley and wheat for seed, plus potatoes. They also run 170 Blue Grey suckler cows (Whitebred Shorthorn bull over Galloway cow), 75 spring calvers and 95 which calve in autumn. Heifers go to a Limousin bull, while Charolais bulls are used over the cows.

Blue Greys at Potholm

J & C Wood, Potholm, Langholm, Dumfriesshire run a 1400 acre LFA unit ranging from 280’ to 1400’ with 1,000 acres of hill grazing. 170 Blue Grey cows are kept on the hill and rough grazing. 100 calving in the autumn with the remainder in March.

Brought onto the farm annually as 12—20 month old heifers, selected for length and conformation at the Newcastleton autumn sale. The cows calve to the Charolais with the heifers put to the Aberdeen Angus bull. 

The Blue Grey is the ideal cow for the poorer forage areas, kept for their long productive life span with 12-13 calves being quite normal, they calve relatively trouble free and are very reliable milkers, and the ability to out-winter reduces the unit cost considerably.

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Whitebred Shorthorn TV Debut

Genetic 'Noah's ark' strategy launched for the country's farm animals
(Defra press release 06 November 2006)

A plan to conserve the genetic material of the country's farmed animals was launched today.

The plan makes recommendations to the industry and Government on how we can improve and maintain the diversity of our livestock's genetic material in the future.

The recommendations fall under the following broad categories:

  • To maintain an advisory body to better inform the public, industry and policymakers on the country's farm animal breeds;

  • To improve the collection, quality and availability of information and data on genetic resources to provide effective ways for their future use;

  • To support the prioritisation, development and implementation of projects to conserve our genetic diversity;

  • To maintain a co-ordinating function and enhance issues surrounding genetic resources in other areas of Government and Industry.

 

Jeff Rooker, Food and Farming Minister, said:

‘This plan is important economically, socially and culturally. We have a fine tradition in this country of breeding a diverse range of farm animals which in many cases can be found across the world. However, there are growing concerns over genetic diversity as growing economic pressures have lead to a few specialised breeds spreading across the globe . The threat of exotic diseases is also a threat to diversity in some breeds.

'There are also new challenges and opportunities for livestock farmers today and our genetic resources and the expertise of breeders have the potential to meet our pressing environmental and market challenges.

This strategic approach to manage our world renowned genetic resources is to be complimented and I think all involved would agree that this will help us form policy in the years to come whilst at the same time ensuring the survival of many of our loved and cherished breeds.'

 

The BBC's Rural Affairs Correspondent Tom Heap interviewed our Chairman Adrian Wheelwright at the Autumn sale at Carlisle for a BBC television feature to accompany the release of the Defra "Noah's Ark" strategy.

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Blue Grey Cattle at Ardjachie

Ardjachie, situated near Tain on the shores of the Dornoch Firth in the North of Scotland, was purchased in 1962 and is farmed in partnership by my son Matthew and myself, now semi-retired I attend mainly to the administration side of the business with Matthew carrying out the day to day running of the farm. We both enjoy working with cattle and sheep.

Whitebred Shorthorn and Blue Grey Cattle at the Bloch

The Whitebred Shorthorn has played an integral part of the farming system on an upland Dumfriesshire unit for more than half a century.

It was demand for the Blue Grey, the hardy cross from the Whitebred Shorthorn bull and the Galloway cow, that led the Bell family to establish their own pedigree Whitebred Shorthorn herd in the 1950s. And now George Bell, his son Ian and wife Fiona remain loyal to the system which perfectly suits their 2,000-acre hill farm, The Bloch, near Langholm.

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Upland Management - The Importance Of Cattle

The Heather Trust is a charity that works throughout the UK to promote integrated moorland management. One of the most important parts of this work is to emphasise the positive link between grazing and good moorland management. To a very large extent, grazing animals have shaped our moorland areas and they remain the ultimate moorland manager. In recent times, sheep have been the main graziers in many areas and the important role played by cattle in shaping our moors has been forgotten.

There is no avoiding the fact that management of some of our moorland areas recently has been less than exemplary. The combination of bad burning and grazing practices has tended to favour the moorland grasses rather than heather and other dwarf scrubs. This has tended to produce a monoculture of coarse, unpalatable grasses in many areas and there is a move to see this trend reversed. Forget fancy words like biodiversity, where there is a variety of vegetation there is better grazing for livestock, and other mammals and there will be greater numbers of insects for birds.

Where some dwarf shrubs remain, the sensitive use of grazing can help to achieve this reversal. Cattle have a very important role to play in this work, as they are able to graze the coarse grasses in the summer to release the dwarf scrubs. In the summer months on grassy moors, the standard agri-environment scheme stocking rates should be forgotten. More often than not, it is not possible to get enough mouths turned out to control the summer grass growth. However, for grazing not to be detrimental to the emerging dwarf shrubs, it is important to reduce the grazing level, possible removing all grazing, over the winter.

The Heather Trust has a demonstration project that is funded by DEFRA to set up four moors across England & Wales. One of these moors is Marsden Moor at the northern end of the Peak District National Park. The National Trust owns this moor and The Heather Trust is working on this area to encourage the regeneration of heather on an area that is dominated currently by Purple moor-grass. Blue Grey cattle are already grazing on part of this moor and it is hoped to expand their activities, in combination with other intervention techniques.

More information about The Heather Trust is available at www.heathertrust.co.uk or by telephoning Simon Thorp 01387 723201

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Traditional Butcher Colin Moore likes Blue Grey Beef

For several years Colin Moore, a traditional butcher in Brampton Cumbria has been selling beef from Blue Grey steers sourced from Keith Laurie, Snowdon Close, Gilsland, Cumbria.

Mr Moore finds the Blue Grey to be particularly suitable for his traditional style of butchering because of their good fat-to-lean ratio, which makes them perfect for the butcher to hang to mature. He likes to hang his meat for at least ten days. 

Colin's customers ask for beef from Blue Grey cattle, as they like the consistent high quality and the flavour of the meat, he also sells Highland and Galloway beef. The meat is all bought locally, direct from known sources so that Colin can discuss with the farmers his exact requirements and be supplied with the high quality that the customer demands from a traditional butcher.

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Whitebred Shorthorns and Blue Greys contribute to the environment at Hotbank Farm

The Whitebred Shorthorn and its Galloway cross daughters suit the windswept acres of Hotbank Farm, near Bardon Mill which straddles the Roman Wall.

Not only do the hardy, traditional cattle stand up to the elements even when outwintered with little supplementary feed, they are also helping to contribute to the environment on this World Heritage site.

Tenants of the National Trust, John Pattinson, his wife Pamela and their son Jonjo farm the severely disadvantaged Hotbank and Cragend in compliance with many organisations including the Northumberland National Park, English Heritage and English Nature.

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Northumberland National Park Drovers Project

The Drovers Project is a two year project managed by Northumberland National Park Authority with partnership funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Countryside Agency, English Nature and the National Trust. Started in 2003 the project has now been running for just over a year, and is set to draw to a close in May 2005.

The Contribution to Biodiversity Made by the Blue Grey Cow

 

The Blue Grey cow is an interesting animal to study, since it is a crossbred between a bull which is classed as a minority breed (Whitebred Shorthorn) and a cow of a traditional Scottish breed (Galloway).

Northumberland National Park Drovers Project

The Drovers Project is a two year project managed by Northumberland National Park Authority with partnership funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Countryside Agency, English Nature and the National Trust. Started in 2003 the project has now been running for just over a year, and is set to draw to a close in May 2005.

Traditional Blue Grey Cattle are the mainstay at Farney Shield

Long, hard winters have led the Wallace family to continue to run their Northumberland hill farm along traditional lines as they have done since 1962.

Blue Grey heifers – the hardy cross of the Whitebred Shorthorn bull and the Galloway cow – are a bonus for Martin and Marina Wallace and their sons Trevor and Kevin.

Iomroll Highlanders and Longley Whitebred Shorthorns

After saying goodbye to my beloved Ayrshire dairy cows I made the decision which was to control my life, that was to get involved in and breed Highland cattle. In the early years probably due to beginners luck I managed to develop a good record. I marketed my surplus heifers in Oban and enjoyed a market average in excess of 500 gns. Which was a very good price in the early 1970’s. all was going very well until one particular Oban spring sale when which three of the best heifers I have ever bred I was unable to receive a bid in excess of 300 gns. I can remember the disappointment and the questioning on what was a very long journey home. An experience like that served to focus my mind on what to do next.

The Limestone Country Project 

The Limestone Country Project is a five year project based in the limestone areas of the Yorkshire Dales. The Project has a £1.27 million budget, of which £550K is from the European Union LIFE (Nature) fund; money specifically allocated by the EU to support the management of internationally important wildlife sites. It is a partnership project, jointly project managed by English Nature and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, with a number of other partners including the National Trust, the Grazing Animals Project, National Beef Association and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. The Project has now been running for just over two years.

Blue Grey Suckler Cows at Glensaugh Research Station

Glensaugh Research Station, run by the Macauley Institute, lies on the Eastern Grampian Hills of Scotland. The altitude ranges from 122 to 456 metres above sea level and the area has an average rainfall of 1040 mm. The research station comprised 865 hectares of semi-natural plant communities, 78 hectares of predominantly rotational grassland and 70 hectares of permanent pasture and is stocked with 400 Scottish Blackface ewes and 700 crossbred ewes, 65 Blue-Grey spring-calving suckler cows, together with 120 breeding red deer hinds and stags with 200 yearlings and calves.

The heather hills are grazed by the herd of 80 spring calving Bluegrey cows run with Charolais and Limousin bulls. Cheap wintering on straw and feed blocks and the extensive use of natural hill grazing are the founding principles of management. Naturally good foragers the cows utilise the rough hill vegetation up to 1500 feet on the Cairn O'Mount and produce weaned calves in November that average 0.9kg daily live weight gain. 

The Cows and heifers prove to be easy handled, fertile, naturally robust in character and well suited to outwintering on cheap roughage diets. "These cows will thrive where few other breeds would manage to produce milk," says David Nelson manager at Glensaugh. "The ideal cow for the hill situation".

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The Limestone Country Project 

Cattle breeders in the mid 19th Century found that the Shorthorn, particularly the white strain, when crossed with the Galloway produced an animal of attractive blue-grey colour which quickly became popular for both breeding and feeding.

The Bluegrey was found to be a faster maturing animal than other breeds, and the steers were valued highly by farmers for fattening. 

The true Blue-grey is bred by crossing a Galloway cow with the Whitebred Shorthorn Bull.

The Blue Grey cow is more than able to suckle their calves on moderately poor grazing, while able to produce calves which will satisfy the requirements of the market for quality meat.

The Blue Grey female excels as a hill suckler cow with her good milking potential. She is hardy and easy to maintain. Calving into their ‘teens of years is by no means uncommon and the Blue Grey cow can carry her age particularly well – a factor often associated with not only the Blue Grey but also the Whitebred Shorthorn. A herd of Blue Grey cows mated to any Continental or Traditional terminal sire provides a low cost hill suckler unit which is easily managed, and able to withstand harsh winters and utilise poor grazing efficiently. The Blue Grey is an increasingly popular choice for conservation grazing projects.

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Barlaes Whitebred Shorthorn Herd

The Barlaes Whitebred Shorthorn herd consists of 5 cows founded on Murtholm White Heather 3rd, purchased with a bull calf at foot at Ian Henderson’s Murtholm Herd dispersal sale in November 1996 for the record female price of 7,400gns.

The other cows are two daughters and two grand-daughters of Murtholm White Heather 3rd.

Stock bulls used in the herd have been Glendearg Monarch Reserve Champion in 1993 and purchases for 2,400gns, Mains Monarch purchased privately and Raeburnfoot Talisman, Champion Autumn 2002 and purchased for 4,000gns.

Attributes of the Whitebred Shorthorn

Fertility – would calve every 10 months if allowed
Milk in abundance
Sound legs and feet
Longevity – Murtholm White Heather 3rd now 14 years has bred 12 calves to date and will hopefully carry on her good breeding for many years to come.

Barlaes Galloway Herd

The Barlaes Galloway herd carries the accolade as being the oldest Galloway herd still in existence. Barlaes Galloway’s are entered in the 1st Volume of the Galloway Herd Book and can be traced back to 1832.

At the present time we run a closed herd of approximately 70 pedigrees alongside the 5 Whitebred Cows and 30 Blue Grey Cows.

Bulls are sold at the Spring and Autumn Association Sales at Carlisle.

Enquiries Welcome 

Barlaes, Dalry, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire DG7 3TZ
Tel: 01644 430251

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Blackburn Herd of Whitebred Shorthorns

The Blackburn Herd of Whitebred Shorthorns are bred for their ability to thrive and milk well on our hill ground in the Scottish Borders. 

The Whitebred Shorthorn is a very docile traditional breed and has the ability to thrive on poor grazing in harsh conditions. The cows receive only hay or silage throughout the winter. A testament to their longevity is Murtholm Holly 2nd who reared a bull calf in 2004 at 16 years.  Blackburn bulls have been sold to cross with both the Galloway to produce the noted Blue-grey and the Highland producing the Cross Highlander.

Enquiries and Inspection Welcome

Gordon Jackson
Blackburn, Newcastleton, Roxburghshire
Tel: 01387 375246

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Weatherdon Whitebred Shorthorn Herd

We are very much a family farm, Will & Ann and four children, situated on the southern slopes of Dartmoor. The farm itself is in an area classified agriculturally as Severely Disadvantaged. 

The farm has grazing rights on two commons, Harford & Ugborough, these commons are presently in an Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, which amongst other things, does limit the stocking rate on them, but between May and November the Whitebred Shorthorn herd graze both commons. The Weatherdon Whitebred Shorthorn herd have all been bred up from one foundation cow – Burnedge Goldie, purchased from Mr Hough in 1998 with her heifer calf at foot, Burnedge Lorraine 2nd. We now have 9 cows and 5 heifers coming on. The present stock bull is Bloch Dougal purchased from Messrs Bell, Bloch, Langholm, Dumfriesshire.

We also run a herd of Belted Galloways which was founded in 1955, and a large flock of sheep. The Belties, over the generations have created a Lear, which is an area of the Common where they graze and stick to the area. 

 

Enquiries Welcome 

Ann Willcocks
Meads Farm, Harford, Ivybridge, Devon PL21 0JQ
Tel: 01752 892312

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Many articles written by Jennifer MacKenzie

 

http://www.jennifermackenzie.co.uk

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