Hereford success in Co Tyrone

Kenny Linton, Hereford Scheme manager with Dunbia, Stephen Baxter president of the Hereford Breeders Association and Anna Elakey from Dunbia discuss beef grading results        Paul McAleese on his farm near Coagh in Co Tyrone.

Hereford genetics 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 runs 350 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 milkers with the aim of taking our 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 Holstein before switching to a beef bull. All cows are inseminated while indoors using both beef and dairy semen with a 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.

Graceland 1 Horace, now 8 years of age, has produced high quality beef carcasses from Holstein cows for Paul and Bertie McAleese.

We rear all the Hereford sired calves on 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 to rear the calves well for the first 4 months to give them a good start and they receive 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 frame on grass before 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 have been very pleased with what the Hereford has produced for us and have collected semen from the bull on two occasions to give us a bank of semen in store that ensures we can continue to use 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 us with 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 for Tuesday 23rd Aprilin 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 at 028 8772 2727. Catalogues can be viewed on the online sales section on the  Hereford Society website.


Herefords ‘Power’ to 5,100 Guineas

Solpoll 1 Powerhouse from John and William Mc Mordie sold for 5,100 guineas at the Hereford Association’s Premier Show and Sale in Dungannon.

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.

Annaghbeg Eli sold for 3,500 guineas for Mark Moore from Aughnacloy.

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.

The Supreme Champion at the Premier Show and Sale of Hereford bulls was exhibited by Henry Richmond and went on to sell for 3,000 guineas.

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.

Jack Wilson with his the overall reserve champion Lisrace Lumberjack 21st, selling for 2,900 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”.

Hereford judge Michael Molloy ponders on another difficult decisions at the Native Breeds Sale in Dungannon.

Hereford Premier Sale

Some of the quality females which earned second place in the UK herds competition for John Conlon.

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.

Cill Cormack Nevada, judged best stock bull in the Northern Ireland Herds competition. Herd Sire at John Conlon’s Drumatee Herd

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.

A young bull calf with its mother in the Drumatee herd near Markethill.

Hereford – The Brand in Demand

Food is big business and the current fascination with cookery programs and celebrity chefs has created a much greater awareness of the provenance of what we eat. Quality is recognised and products and brands which can deliver that 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 using registered Hereford sires are already sharing premiums of well over £1.5 million each yearin terms of the bonuses paid by the various retail schemes. 

This represents a great opportunity for local beef producers to cash in on a supply 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 slaughter condition earlier and with less expensive feed than continental bred cattle.

This means a shorter finishing period and lower feed rates, resulting in a 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 bulls has been scheduled for Tuesday 12th February. This event, organised by the local Hereford Breeders Association in 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 vaccinated and 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  –


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.

Ivan Elliott’s Champion Ballymully 1 Barclay

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.

Reserve Champion Solpoll 1 Picasso

The associations next Premier show and sale will be on Tuesday 12th February 2019 at Dungannon Farmers Mart.

NIHBA UNITED Feeds Calf Show 2018

The cream of the Northern Ireland Hereford Association Calves turned out in force to attend this years NIHBA UNITED Feeds Calf show at Dungannon. Richard Edwards from the UK had the task of judging. Richard who has spent his life around Herefords, is a well known Cattle fitter and hoof trimmer also follows in the footsteps of his father Steve in judging such events.

Senior and supreme Male Champion Solpoll 1 Rival owned and bred by J&W McMordie

Leading the way in the Male section was 2 Moeskaer Upgrade sons with judge Richard Edwards awarding Male Champion to Solpoll 1 Rival, a September born calf whose dam is by Henry and out of a Dynamite cow. This is the fourth successive year the herd has claimed this award. Reserve Male went to Solpoll 1 Rudolph who was born on Christmas day out of a Dynamite dam and won the second bull calf class.

Solpoll 1 Rudolph reserve Supreme an senior Male Champion from J&W McMordie

Standing Reserve in the Junior Male Championship was the winner of the January & February class Solpoll 1 Real Good, an ET son of NBG 697 The Wonderer and a daughter of Solpoll 1 Dainty N11 whose full brother Pounder sold to AI Services at 11 months old. To top the day off Rudolph and Real Good teamed up to win the pairs in a very big class.

Drumgold 1 Finn Junior Male Champion owned by Peter Collins

Peter Collins took the Junior Male Champion with Drumgold Finn with other class wins going to Mark Moore’s Annaghbeg Fernando on the day.


Supreme female and junior female Champion Drumshambo 1 Journey owned and bred by Gerry and Ethan Small

Females on the day where led by the junior Champion Drumshambo 1 Journey, the eye catching junior female shone on the day for Ethan and Gerry Small of Randalstown. This is the second success for the family as they claimed Junior Bull last year. The home bred Heifer didn’t stop their and went on to take overall female Champion showing that age doesn’t come before beauty and certainly one with future potential.

Reserve Supreme and reserve Junior champion female Lisnaree 1 Ruby owned and bred by Marcus Murdock

Reserve Supreme female and reserve Junior female went to on of the youngest heifers Lisnaree 1 Ruby owned and bred by Marcus Murdock, another young Heifer who was at home when it come to the show ring.

Senior Female Champion Richmount 1 Ruby Royale owned by James Graham and handled by Son Bradley

Senior female went to Richmount 1 Ruby Royale who is owned and bred by James Graham, a female who is not unfamiliar to winning was crowned junior female Champion at the National show in Omagh this year. Ciaran Kerr’s Heifer Kinnego 1 Rainbow showed her colours to take the reserve Senior female back to Lurgan for the family.

Kinnego 1 Rainbow owned and bred by Ciaran Kerr took reserve Senior heifer

Richard’s partner Emma Smith who runs the National Hereford Youth team judged the young handlers on the day, again Emma who has been with Cattle all her life scrutinised the young handlers to award the overall to Ethan Carey-Small.


Ethan Carey-Small who took overall Junior Handler with judge Emma Smith


Supreme Male Champion
Solpoll 1 Rival J&W McMordie

Reserve Supreme Male
Solpoll 1 Rudolph J&W McMordie

Supreme Female Champion
Drumshambo 1 Journey J&G Small

Reserve Supreme Female
Lisnaree 1 Ruby Marcus Murdock

Senior Male Champion
Solpoll 1 Rival J&W McMordie

Reserve Senior Male
Solpoll 1 Rudolph J&W McMordie

Senior Female Champion
Richmount 1 Ruby Royale James Graham

Reserve Senior Female
Kinnego 1 Rainbow Ciaran Kerr

Junior Male Champion
Drumgold Finn Peter Collins

Reserve Junior Male
Solpoll 1 Real Good J&W McMordie

Junior Female Champion
Drumshambo 1 Journey J&G Small

Reserve Junior Female
Lisnaree 1 Ruby Marcus Murdock

Young Handle Champion
Ethan Small

Class 1 Bull Calf born 1/9/17-31/10/17
1) Solpoll 1 Rival J&W Mcmordie
2) Richmount 1 Red Rock James Graham
3) Kinnego 1 Rocket Man Ciaran Kerr
4) Nancy Beckham T Morton
5) Mountview 1 Genesis T&S Andrews
6) Richmount 1 Rockafella James Graham

Class 2 Bull born 1/11/17-31/12/17
1) Solpoll 1 Rudolph J&W Mcmordie
2) Holestone 1 Parapet Brian Mawhinney

Class 3 Bull born 1/1/28-28/2/18
1) Solpoll 1 Real Good J&W McMordie
2) Annaghbeg 1 Felix Mark Moore
3) Tamnabrady 1 General Derek McCrea
4) Castlepoll 1 Henry C&M Beatty

Class 4 Bull born 1/3/18-30/4/18
1) Drumgold 1 Finn Peter Collins
2) Kinnego 1 Rolex Ciaran Kerr
3) Annaghbeg 1 Ferdinand Mark Moore

Class 5 Bull born after 1/5/18
1) Annaghbeg Fernando Mark Moore
2) Carneyhill 1 Ribeye J&K Taggart
3) Lisnaree 1 Romeo Marcus Murdock
4) Umgola 1 Challenger Stephen Baxter
5) Nancy 1 Carson G&T Morton
6) Nancy Cooper G&T Morton

Class 6 Female born 1/9/17-31/10/17
1) Kinnego 1 Rainbow Ciaran Kerr
2) Drumshambo 1 Sparkles J&G Small
3) Holestone 1 Sadie Brian Mawhinney
4) Drumshambo 1 Tessa J&G Small
5) Mountview 1 Gelato T&S Andrews
6) Dorepoll 1 Classic Kim JE,RI&W Haire

Class 7 Female born 1/11/17-31/12/17
1) Richmount 1 Ruby Royale James Graham

Class 8 Female born 1/1/17-29/2/17
1) Drumshambo 1 Journey J&G Small
2) Dorepoll 1 Duchess JE,RI&W Haire
3) Richmount 1 Rosemunde James Graham
4) Richmount 1 Radio Gaga James Graham
5) Castlepoll 1 Molly 4th C&M Beatty

Class 9 Female born 1/3/18-30/4/18
1) Lisnaree 1 Ruby Marcus Murdock
2) Dorepoll 1 Sparkler 665 Stephen Cherry
3) Annaghbeg Flora X Mark Moore
4) Umgola Sabrina 2nd Stephen Baxter
5) Carneyhill 1 Emma 22nd J&K Taggart

Class 10 Female born after 1/5/18
1) Nancy Candie G&T Morton

Class 11 Pairs
1) J&W Mcmordie
2) J&G Small
3) Brian Mawhinney
4) Ciaran Kerr
5) James Graham
6) James Graham
7) Mark Moore

Class 12a Young Handler 12-14
1) Bradley Graham
2) Nathaniel Shaw
3) Jamie Bunting

Class 12b Young Handler 15-18
1) Ethan Small
2) John Andrews
3) Marcus Murdock
4) Corchannia Dorman
5) Emma McCrea

Championship lineup with Trevor Andrews (president) Richard Edwards (judge) and John Gill (Chair)

NIHBA Dinner additional gallery

Niall Kerr and Ciaran Kerr, from Lurgan. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Tracey and Glenn Morton. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Tracey and Glenn Morton, from Armagh, with Gemma and Eamon McCorry, from Ballinderry. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Karen and John Taggart, from Carrowdore. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Agnes and John Gill, from Killinchy. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Gerry and Ethan Small, from Randalstown. Picture: Cliff Donaldson