Hereford steaks are consistently top of the league in the taste test competitions.
Following on the success of the Hereford entry in the Good Housekeeping magazine’s best steak for Valentine’sDay survey the latest Which food guide again put theHerefordproductsahead ofall the premium brands offered through the major retailers.
Both overall winner and runner up awards were the product of dedicated Hereford supply chains traceable to registered pedigree sires and meeting the highest production standards.
Recommended as the best buy by the judging panel was the Waitrose 30 day dry aged Hereford sirloin.“While this was one of the more expensive offerings it was worth every penny – it was the best looking steak on the shelf andthe eating experience lived up to the promise. It was thick and easy to cook with a good covering of fat which gives the steak a rich well-balanced flavour.”
Coming a very close second was the Co op’s 28 day aged Irresistible Hereford steak supplied through Dunbia. The judges found the“irresistible”claim to be well earned with an excellentappearancein the pack, a wonderful aroma when cooking with great colour and deliciously caramelised fat.“The taste was robust and juicy,fully living up to its fantastic appearance and representing great value for money”.
The Hereford is currently the “brand in demand” as consumers recognise the quality and consistency which has become thebreeds trademarkaccording toa local Hereford breeders spokesman.
“The reputation of the brand is reflected in demand for the product and in the price consumers are prepared to pay. This is a profit opportunity for local farmersandNorthern Irelands beef producers are currently earning around £1 million per annum inthe additionalpremiums paid for Hereford sired cattle”.
It was ladies to the fore at the Royal Ulster Agricultural Show under judge George Thorne from Pembrokeshire in Wales. Taking their first breed championship at the event Mervyn & Henry Richmond from Co Fermanagh with their homebred heifer Corraback Cherry 10th. Born in October 2017 she was sired by the 2012 Royal Ulster winner Kye Rodge with her dam Corraback Cherry 7th who was sired by Mara Flook who also sired the 2018 National Hereford Show Champion.
In Reserve Supreme stood therunner up to Cherry in the Female Championship, January 2017 Richmount 1 Poppy from James Graham Co Armagh.She is sired by Grousehall 1 Premier and out ofaBarbern 1 Gargantuan daughter Richmount 1 Laura.
Not finished there for the Graham Family, the Reserve Male ChampionwasRichmount 1 Rockafella a September 2017 born Premier son out of Richmont 1 Lady Gaga, the Female Champion at 2011 Balmoral Show.
The Male Championship was won by the 13 month old Solpoll 1 Real Thing, out of the Panmure 1 Henry daughter Solpoll 1 Dainty N11 his sire is NBG The Wonderer from John & William McMordie Co Down. Healsowent on to be part of the first place Group of 3 from the one exhibitor.
John & Karen Taggart Co Down won the cow class with their 6 year old homebred Carney Hill 1 Olga sired by Carney Hill 1 Giggs, she was shown with her 2 month old bull calf at foot.
Winner of the Junior Championship and youngest heifer class was Kye Holly from Tommy Staunton, Co Galway. A January 2018 born Free Town Hotspur daughter she had previously stood Female Champion at the Irish Calf Show.
Later in the week during the Interbreed classes James Graham’s Richmount 1 Ruby Royale won the Native Interbreed Performance Class.
The Champion Corraback Cherry 10thalso teamed up with Richmount 1 Rockafella to take reserve in the Native interbreed Pairs Class. Which topped of a strong showing for the Hereford breed at this years show.
Supreme & Female Champion: Corraback Cherry 10th, M Richmond
Hereford bulls sold to 2,900 guineas and an average of £2,450 at last week’s Native Breeds Sale in Dungannon Farmers Mart.
Taking the Championship and the top price was Thornbank 1 Real Deal consigned by Hunter Stewart from Castlederg. This well balanced son of Solpoll 1 Dynamitehad the scale and power to match up to his strong EBV’s for growth and muscle –andfollowson the footsteps of his full brother who also took the Championship and top price at this event in 2017.
The reserve champion from James Graham also featured among the top prices. This muscular son of Grousehall 1 Premier attracted considerable interest from the packed gallery – going on to sell for 2,600 guineas.
Buyers were showing a preference for big strong bulls to go straight to work and the entries from Robin Irvine’s Graceland herdalso seemed to fit the bill. Graceland 1 Prince and Graceland 1 Prophet, rising two year old sons of Fisher 1 Jubilee both sold for 2,700 guineas to local dairy farmers.
Lisrace Loyalist18thfrom the Wilson family from Magheraveelywas another to find favour with the bidders – selling for 2,500 guineas.
The only female on offer – Corraback Guinevere, an attractive young heifer by Kye Rodge was sold at 2,200 guineas for Mervyn and Henry Richmond from Derrylin.
Northern Ireland Hereford Breeders Association chairman, Adrian Irvine was very satisfied with the event. “Ourofferingwas considerably reduced as many of the entries had found new homes prior to the sale but we are pleased to see 11 bullsselling to a respectable average of £2,450 and we very much appreciate the support of Dunbia in running this event” said Adrian.
Herefordgenetics have been the basis of a successful beef enterprise on a leading Holstein dairy herd in Co Tyrone. The father and son partnership owned by Bertie and Paul McAleese near Coagh runs350 cows producing an average of 9,500 litres per annum on a twice a day milking regime.
“We are looking to further develop the output from the herd and are working on the installation of robot milkerswith the aim oftakingour average over the 10,000 litre mark” says Paul.
The breeding policy revolves around the use of sexed semen on selected cows – with each cow inseminated twice to the Holsteinbefore switching to a beef bull. All cows are inseminated while indoors using both beef and dairy semenwitha sweeper bull introduced when they go to grass.
“For the last 5 years a Hereford bull has been used in the sweeper role and the quality of his progeny has made a significant difference to the performance of our beef enterprise.
We rear all theHereford siredcalveson a grass based system and market them through the Dunbia Hereford Scheme which supplies the Co-op. We bought our current bull back in 2013 and were impressed with his conformation and easy fleshing when we first saw him. He is transmitting these qualities to his progeny – the calves are born easily without supervision and they grow quickly into good quality carcasses without a lot of feed required” says Paul.
“We aim torearthe calveswell for the first 4 months to give them a good start andtheyreceive 2.5 kgs of meal per day from 4 months to turn-out. They are then allowed to grow out naturally and develop a good frameon grassbefore a finishing period of around 3 months on more intensive feeding. We find the cattle respond very quickly when we start to feed them – you need to be careful at this stage not to put on too much condition” says Paul.
The 58 cattle (both steers and heifer) killed from the Mc Aleese farm over the past year averaged 383 kgs deadweight at 22 months of age, producing O+ and R grades at fat class 3+ and 4.
“We havebeen very pleased with what the Hereford has produced for us and havecollected semen from the bull on two occasionsto give usa bank of semen in store thatensureswe can continue touse him for a few more years.”
Kenny Linton, Hereford Scheme manager with Dunbia is delighted with the quality of the cattle offered. “Good quality crosses from the dairy herd provide us with the type of carcass we need in terms of delivering the right cuts and portion size for the retail pack. The McAleese’s are foundation members of our Co-op supply group and are consistently suppling uswith what we need to develop strong trading relationships with our retail customers”.
Hereford beef scheme supplier, Paul McAleese (second right) with Kenny Linton, Dunbia, Stephen Baxter, NI Hereford Breeders Association, and Anna Elakey, Dunbia.
Hereford Spring Sale.
A strong offering of Hereford bulls has been catalogued for the Spring Show and Sale of Hereford bulls scheduled forTuesday 23rdAprilin Dungannon Farmers Mart.
The entry of 30 bulls includes a number of well grown two year olds, ready to go straight to work in either beef or dairy herds.
All will have undergone a pre-sale veterinary inspection and many are supported by estimated breeding values which will help guide buyers as to the performance of their progeny.
Several Superior Carcass Sires are included in the line-up and these will be eligible for a cash-back incentive of up to £500 from the Hereford Cattle Society.
A new incentive to be introduced at this sale for the first time comes in the form of a commission free bonus to purchasers of bulls selling for more than 3,000 guineas.
The purchasers of these animals will pay for the animal in pounds rather than guineas while the Northern Ireland Hereford Breeders Association will fund the difference.
Further details and catalogues are available from Dungannon Farmers Mart at028 8772 2727. Catalogues can be viewed on the online sales section on the Hereford Society website.
Hereford bulls topped the trade at last weeks Native Breeds sale in Dungannon. The top call of 5,100 guineas was paid for Solpoll 1 Powerhouse from father and son partnership, William and John Mc Mordie from Ballygowan. Sired by the Danish born Moeskar Mentos, Powerhouse boasted outstanding performance figures for both growth and muscle and is eligible for the Superior Carcass Sire incentive funded by the Hereford Cattle Society. He joins a newly established suckler beef enterprise in Co Londonderry.
It was a good day at the office for Mark and Lawrence Moore from Aughnacloy – selling at 3,500 guineas for Annaghbeg Eli – a well-muscled son of Guteragh Gladiator.
Pick of the bunch for judge Michael Molloy was Mervyn and Henry Richmond’s Corraback Lenny who took the red rosette in the intermediate class before going on to win the Supreme Championship. This is another good son of the very successful Mara Flook and he was much admired when displayed on the Hereford Breeders stand at the recent RUAS Winter Fair. He sold for 3,000 guineas.
Stars of televisions Rare Breed, David Wilson and sons Jack and Robbie were among the successful sellers making 2,900 for their reserve champion Lisrace Lumberjack 21st – a stylish bull with strong EBV’s for growth rate and calving ease while Lisrace Loyalist 19th for the same herd sold for 2,600 guineas.
The average price for 11 bulls sold was a healthy £2,825. Hereford Association chairman Adrian Irvine was delighted with the demand – “I think we had a lot of good bulls on offer with power and quality and this is reflected in the prices with both top price and the average significantly better than last year”. “ We’ll be back with another strong line-up on 23rd April for the Association’s Spring Show and Sale said Adrian”.
At this time of year local Hereford Breeders are focussed on preparations for one of the big events on the Hereford calendar – the Premier Show and Sale in Dungannon mart . This is the major sale for the Hereford Breeders Association and offers the biggest and best selection of young Hereford sires each year. With just over a week to go to the big event, – bulls have been washed, haltered and are being trained to present themselves to good advantage in the show ring. With 31 bulls catalogued, Association Chairman, Adrian Irvine is pleased with the entry – “ Our breeders are responding to the increased demand for Hereford bulls. We have seen a 300% increase in the numbers of Hereford sired calves born in the province since 2010 and the throughput of the Hereford beef schemes has increased by 400% over the same period. This is driving the growth in popularity of the breed as a terminal sire in commercial beef and dairy herds and our breeders are stepping up to the challenge – producing more good, growthy bulls to meet the demand.” This year’s offering includes some stars of the 2018 show season – plus many which have impressive performance figures as well as distinguished pedigrees behind them. Four of the bulls catalogued are eligible for the Hereford Society’s Superior Carcass incentive. These are bulls which demonstrate exceptional performance in terms of growth and carcass traits, measured through the breeds recording scheme and purchasers can claim £5 per calf ( up to 100 calves ) from the Society on their progeny. The pre-sale weighing and a thorough veterinary inspection ensures that all bulls are up to breed standard for growth and are sound, functional breeding animals. “Many of the long established herds are represented in the line-up but the resurgence of interest in the Hereford has brought an influx of new breeders and some of them are staking their claim to be major influencers of the breed in the future” says Adrian.
One such breeder is John Conlon from Markethill who is consigning two bulls to the sale. John purchased his first Hereford just eight years ago and his Drumatee herd has been developed with the addition of some of the best bloodlines from across the British Isles. The herd has enjoyed considerable success – winning the Northern Ireland herd competition in 2018 and going on to take second place in the competition for best Hereford herd in the UK.
Food is big business and the current fascination with cookery programs and celebrity chefshas created a much greater awareness of the provenance of what we eat. Quality is recognised and products and brands which can deliverthat special taste factor can command substantial premiums.
Hereford beef is such a product and the success of the breed in recent years has been built on delivery of a consistently superior eating experience and the growing recognition of the Hereford brand by quality conscious consumers.
Northern Ireland farmers usingregisteredHereford sires arealreadysharing premiums of well over £1.5millioneach yearin terms of the bonuses paid by the various retailschemes.
This representsagreatopportunity for local beef producers to cash in on asupply chain which can deliver significantly better returns from their beef enterprise.
Farmers using Hereford sires have discovered that the better beef price is only part of the story however. The natural feed efficiency and ease of fleshing of the Hereford cross means that cattle will reach slaughtercondition earlier and with less expensive feed than continental bred cattle.
This means a shorter finishing period and lower feed rates, resulting ina much more efficient system and major cost reductions.
For producers this combination of low input costs and higher prices for the end product represents a “win – win” and makes the Hereford the natural choice for crossing in either beef or dairy herds.
Bulls on offer
This years’ Premier Show and Sale of Hereford bullshas been scheduled for Tuesday 12thFebruary.This event, organised bythe local Hereford Breeders Associationin conjunction with the Native Breeds sale in Dungannon Farmers Mart, again offers the largest selection of young Hereford sires in the province. Quality is guaranteed by the pre-sale veterinary inspection and weighing to ensure performance is up to breed standard. The event is recognised as an official sale by the Hereford Cattle Society and the entries are DNA tested to prove parentage and freedom from genetic defects. All entries are BVD vaccinatedand the health status of the herd will be displayed in the catalogue and at the sale.
Catalogues are available from Dungannon Farmers Mart and can be viewed on the Hereford Society website –www.herefordcattle.org
The December Show and Sale of Herefords at the Native Breeds sale in Dungannon took place on the 4th.
Winter trade resulted in 7 bulls selling for an average of £2385 with females averaging £1450.
Judge John Blackburn’s Champion on the day went to a bull bred by Ivan Elliot which sold on the day for 2200 Guineas to G Forsythe, Ballymully 1 Barcley who was out of Solpoll 1 Dynamite and Solpoll Starlet L9.
The two top prices went to J&W McMordie with Solpoll 1 Partner going under the hammer at 3100 Guineas to Roy Ferguson and Picasso an ET son of Panmure 1 Henry and Dorepoll R51 Duchess 525 who took reserve champion in the show ring at 2500 Guineas to WJ Martin.
The associations next Premier show and sale will be on Tuesday 12th February 2019 at Dungannon Farmers Mart.