The noted Haltcliffe herd of Messrs Ridley, Haltcliffe, Hesket New Market, Cumbria, has been crowned as the winners of the 2011 National Limousin Pedigree Herd Competition. Placing Reserve Overall was the Tomschoice Herd of JM & SP Cooper, Hill Top Farm, Dacre, Harrogate, North Yorkshire as the Reserve Overall.
Announcing the results at the British Limousin Cattle Society’s awards dinner held at the Shepherd’s Inn, Rosehill, Carlisle on 14th October was the judge of the National Finals, and current Hon BLCS President, Mr Sam Coleman of Glarryford, Ballymena, N. Ireland.
Part of the British Limousin Cattle Society’s 40th Anniversary promotional programme, this inaugural National Limousin Pedigree Herd Competition was an extension of the coveted annual herd competitions held annually within the nine respective Limousin regions around the United Kingdom. The regional competitions, open to all pedigree Limousin herds in the respective areas, saw the appointed judge in each region put forward an overall winning herd. Thereafter, the nine winning herds went head-to-head in a National Final judge-off to determine the Overall 2011 Champion Limousin Herd.
For the Ridleys, winning the 2011 National Limousin Pedigree Herd Competition added to what had already been a high profile year for their Haltcliffe herd. In July this year, the family hosted the British Limousin Cattle Society’s National Open Day which attracted a crowd of close on 3,000 visitors to view their enterprise and herd comprising of 100 pedigree females. Commenting on his Champion herd, the National Finals judge Sam Coleman said: “Haltcliffe is an outstanding herd of ‘easy keep’ cattle with a real strength in depth of genetics throughout. The females were of a good size, very feminine, with plenty of flesh and shape, and full of breed type and characteristic. Equally, the herd’s stock bulls had that important balance of muscling, length and growth.”
The Ridleys established the Haltcliffe Limousin Herd in 1979 with an original purchase of eight cows and four heifers. The farm comprises 350 acres with land rising from 800 to 1000ft above sea level where they maintain 100 pedigree Limousin cows and in total run 270 head at any one time. Nationally recognised, the herd is focused on producing bulls for the commercial suckled calf producer. It also holds the distinction of having sold the two highest priced pedigree bulls, of any breed at auction in the UK, in the shape of the world record 100,000gns Haltcliffe Vermount, and the 72,000gns Haltcliffe DJ.
The North Yorkshire-based Tomschoice Herd is run by James & Sarah Cooper. Hill Top Farm is 32 acres in size and the herd has 25 Limousin cows and followers. Established in 1996, the herd has also achieved notable success both at auction, with bulls selling up to 13,000gns, and in the show ring. Amongst several noteworthy homebred show winners are Tomschoice Elgar, the Great Yorkshire Supreme Champion in 2010.
Of his Reserve Overall herd Mr Coleman went on to say: “The Tomschoice herd is smaller in numbers, very selective, and full of Limousin breed qualities. The cattle had plenty of natural fleshing and I was again impressed by how easily kept the cattle were. The herd had a very strong level of youngstock with excellent health and biosecurity measures also in place.”
Judging the National Finals, Sam Coleman’s criteria had been a combination of overall presentation of the herd, breeding females, breeding policy, the up-and-coming youngstock, stock sires used, herd health, and herd successes. Speaking on the task at hand, Mr Coleman said: “It is a great honour to have judged this prestigious event in the Society’s 40th anniversary year. The level of the herds in front of me was of the very highest order and promoted a hard-fought competition. A real strength throughout was the wide variety of genetics available in the breed. There is a diversity of types, whilst retaining breed characteristics, that allows the selection of bulls for easy calving, growth, length, size and muscling as required. Many of the farms visited were hill or semi-hill farms and the easy keep nature and good food conversion of those cattle in the geographies and conditions was very apparent. With the variety of genetics and traits available I have no doubt the breed is going to continue to go from strength to strength.”
The President’s Award for the Best Stock Bull seen in the winning herds went to the six-year-old French-bred bull Attirant from the Garnedd herd of Messrs KI & E & HI Jones, Bryn Ddraenen, Padog, Betws-Y-Coed, Conwy. The following day, the first four sons sold at sale from this bull topped at 10,000gns and grossed 27,700gns.
The Awards Dinner had as its guest of honour William Sherrard of sponsors Pfizer Animal Health who presented the crystal prizes to the winning herds. Also in attendance as guests were the past-Chairmen and Presidents of the Society including Peter Pitcher, Boston, Lincolnshire, who was one of the first importers of Limousin cattle from France into the United Kingdom in 1971.
2011 NATIONAL LIMOUSIN PEDIGREE HERD COMPETITION RESULTS:
Overall Champion Herd Messrs Ridley, Haltcliffe Herd
Reserve Champion Herd JM & SP Cooper, Tomschoice Herd
Best Stock Bull (Attirant) Messrs KI & E & HI Jones, Garnedd Herd
North West Messrs Ridley, Haltcliffe Herd
North East Messrs JM & SP Cooper, Tomschoice Herd
East Midlands RM Hazard & Sons, Mereside Herd
Scotland Mr J Nimmo, Maraiscote Herd
NW Midlands & N Wales Messrs KI & E & HI Jones, Garnedd Herd
S Wales & Mid West ED Griffiths & Co, Mynach Herd
South East Buriton Estates Ltd, Miscombe Herd
South West Messrs EW Quick & Sons, Loosebeare Herd
Northern Ireland WJ & J McKay, Ampertaine Herd