FOR ANGUS AND HEREFORD
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.