THE WINNERS IN THE NI LIMOUSIN COMMERCIAL HERD COMPETITION ARE ANNOUNCED
The results of the NI Limousin Suckler Herd Competition, generously sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health, were announced at the recent Club’s general meeting.
William Sherrard, Area Veterinary Manager with Pfizer who was the guest speaker, discussed the treatment and prevention of bovine respiratory disease. He highlighted the fact that Draxxin® is an antibiotic licensed in cattle for the treatment of pneumonia with a single, low dose injection of 1ml per 40kg lasting up to 15 days allowing the lungs time to repair. Draxxin has been shown to reduce the number of animals that relapse and require re-treatment and to reduce the number of chronically affected animals compared to other antibiotics*.
Jim Quail, well known Limousin breeder and butcher from Banbridge had the massive task of judging the competition. In his opening remarks, Jim said that as he went around the 21 herds, he was not only judging the quality of the herds, the use of Limousin sires but he was also assessing the owner’s knowledge of the Limousin breed. He was very impressed with the high standard of all the competitors and it was very difficult to select an overall winner in the small, medium and large herds. In fact so difficult was his task that in the large category he said that any 1 of 5 herds would have been worthy winners!
Jim congratulated all the herd owners for their enthusiasm and the quality of their stock, especially on the female side. Everyone was focused in producing quality cattle.
David Rankin from the NI Limousin Club, who had helped organise the competition and had accompanied Jim on nearly all the herd visits, then gave a PowerPoint presentation. He agreed with Jim’s comments on the high standard of all the herds in the competition and commented that if a National Herd Competition had taken place this year, he felt the winner would probably have come from Northern Ireland – so high was the calibre of the herds.
The message which came through strongly in his presentation was that the Limousin breed was a versatile breed and was being used successfully in all the herds to produce quality cattle for every market:-
· QUALITY weanlings for sale at the suckler sales
· QUALITY beef for the butcher or supermarket trade
· QUALITY calves for export
· QUALITY calves for showing
· QUALITY breeding females for replacements
After David’s presentation, Jim announced the winners in the 3 categories. He also wanted to recognise the commitment and enthusiasm shown by 4 young competitors, so special prizes were also awarded:
Winners in small herds (less than 30 cows)
1st Victor Patterson, Ballygawley, Co Tyrone
2nd Patrick Trainor, Kilkeel, Co Down
Winners in medium herds (31 to 69 cows)
1st Michael McPolin, Hilltown Co Down
2nd Kenneth McKinstry, Magherafelt, Co Derry/Londonderry
Winners in large herds (over 70 cows)
1st Will Corrie, Newtownards, Co Down
2nd Owen Crawford, Kircubbin, Co Down
James Alexander, Randalstown, Co Antrim
James received an award in recognition for his enthusiasm and knowledge of the Limousin breed. With over 500 suckler cows he aimed to produce quality calves either for export or to show, while at the same time producing for the local beef trade. Jim was also very impressed with James’s knowledge of what butchers are wanting in a carcase and where all the different cuts came from.
Dorothy Birch, Portaferry, Co Down
Dorothy had shown great determination in establishing a suckler herd on a low budget. She had bought ‘drop’ calves from the dairy herd in Saintfield Livestock Mart and reared them to calve down at just over 2 years of age, but it was the improvement in the quality of her in-calf ¾ bred heifers that was impressive.
Owen Crawford, Kircubbin, Co Down
Owen merits this award for the improvement he has made in the quality of his suckler cows. At Greenmount he did an HND course and took a keen interest in the L.I.M.O. Project. He now puts into practice what he learnt both at Greenmount and through BQI training to improve the quality of the cows. He uses EBV figures to select the top AI bulls for calving ease, milk and growth. Presently he has a technology project with Greenmount Campus (CAFRE) looking at the benefits of using sexed semen from Fieldson Alfy.
Gareth Corrie, Newtownards, Co Down
Will Corrie, son Gareth and farm manager Philip Savage are committed to quality and improvement in their suckler herd. The overall management, quality of the stock with even batches of calves and their wintering accommodation were really impressive, but it was Gareth’s attention to detail in producing a quality product for the consumer that caught the judge’s eye.