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19 July 2002



A new competition is aimed

at Welsh producers of

Angus and Hereford cattle

THERE are still classes for most native beef cattle breeds at the show. Though the number of entries can be low there is usually no shortage of spectators, especially for the Welsh Blacks.

After the event some of the people exhibiting Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cattle will be getting home visits from the judges of a new competition with a top prize of £1000.

So, too, will commercial breeders who use the two traditional breeds as terminal sires on their suckler cows.

The competition is the brainchild of Neville and Margaret Stacey, who run 50 Angus and Angus cross sucklers at Garth Fach, Llidiartywaen in Powys. They were asked by Dovecote Park, the company that processes all their finished cattle, to come up with sponsorship ideas linked to the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.

The Staceys are among 400 producers sending Angus sired cattle to the Yorks-based meat company, which supplies traditional and organic beef to 138 Waitrose supermarkets. The partners believe that producers must work more closely with everyone else in the food chain.

They also argue that there is scope for more farmers to use native British breeds to produce the very high quality beef demanded by consumers with big disposable incomes.

"Working together in the way we do with Dovecote and Waitrose provides us with the information needed to meet abattoir specifications, and the retailer has the benefit of a fully traceable authentic product from fully assured farms," says Mr Stacey.

But the new competition, which has the full backing of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, is open to all Welsh beef producers, regardless of where they sell their cattle. The main criterion is that they use either registered Angus or Hereford bulls.

Short lifted herds

Shropshire beef producer Alan Chilton and Gethin Harvard, the chairman of the marketing co-operative Brecon and Radnor Suckled Calf Rearers, will judge the management, productivity and marketing of shortlisted herds.

The two breed societies involved are backing the competition and will verify that the bulls used are registered. David Proth-eroe, secretary of the Hereford Cattle Society, welcomed the new award. So did Aberdeen Angus chief executive Ron McHattie, who claims that demand for Angus beef is expanding rapidly and this represents a golden opportunity for producers in Wales to lock into an assured price premium-generating market.

Angus breeder Neville Stacey(inset) argues that there is scope for more farmers to use native British breeds.

Harry Fetherstonhaugh with his wife Davina and sons Ivor and Archie. His job takes him away from home 75 days a year.

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12 June 1998


lifts prices

SHORTHORN devotees were encouraged by competition for stock from commercial milk producers and pedigree men at the breed societys summer show and sale at Chelford, Cheshire.

The societys official auctioneer, Gwyn Williams, was delighted with the trade. "Milk production costs are under the microscope. Stock that can meet low-cost targets with the benefits of sound legs and feet, high quality milk and wearability, are attracting renewed interest," he said.

The roan calved heifer Broadlane Sunlight 8th, from Sproston, Cheshire breeders Messrs Norbury, realised the top price of 940gns. She is sired by Orchardholme Lord Walton 3rd, a bull recently sold to Ireland, and out of a Dunham Choirboy dam. She was one of eight calved heifers bought by D Lomax, Stoke-on-Trent.

Simon and Ellen Thomass Drisgol herd was again in favour taking the championship with a red calved heifer from their Belladonna family sired by the American bull Merriville Peerless. She made 900gns to Graham Pattinson for his Weaverdale herd at Stoke-on-Trent.

A parade of in-calf heifers produced its highest call for Amber Grand Dulcie 10th. This daughter of Winscott Topper was consigned by J Hole and Sons, Chesterfield and made 860gns to local dairy farmer George Norbury.

AVERAGES: 18 cows £450; 21 calved heifers £615; 32 served heifers £584 and 22 maiden heifers and calves £291. (Frank R Marshall and Co). &#42

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8 December 1995


is hotting up

COMPETITION between money-lenders for a share of the agricultural market is set to continue, as farming profits are maintained.

A recent survey by NatWest Bank reveals how the liquidity of UK farming has increased in the past 12 months. The number of bank balances in credit has gone up by 22% and overdraft borrowing has declined by 10%.

"For 1996 we are forecasting a further increase in liquidity. This will result in increased credit balances and a reduction in overall lending," says marketing manager David Hughston. The combination of a smaller cake and the same number of players will lead to an even more competitive market.

The survey also reveals how farmers have been using the better returns to restructure their debt. The volume of term loans is up by 38%, and the ratio of overdraft to term lending has changed from 60:40 to 50:50.

Historic lows

Similarly, the last year has seen farmers moving more of their borrowing to fixed interest policies to take advantage of the historically low rates. The ratio of variable rate lending to fixed has fallen from 60:40 to 54:46.

With the money markets anticipating an imminent 0.5% cut in the Bank of England base rate, 10-year fixed base rates are the lowest they have been all year at 7.5%, says Mr Hughston. "This compares with a historic average of 10.4% between 1984 and 1994, and many farmers are thinking now is the time to lock in."

Obviously there will be a margin above this base to pay, and that will depend on the farmers track record, his husbandry skills and his financial management.

Mr Hughston also reports a 20% fall in the number of accounts considered to be "at risk" by the bank, and a 9% increase in its overall lending, bucking the national trend. &#42

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