Bi-weekly Update: 24th August 2018

Bi-weekly Update: 24th August 2018


Aaaand normality resumes…. With the schools going back this week and the UK’s temperatures dropping we can only reflect on what has been a very busy, warm and quick summer this year! For many of our members the sight of rain will be greatly appreciated after experiencing one of the warmest summers seen in years. We have been very busy here at the Society over the last fortnight with Tullamore and Mid Somerset Agricultural Show taking place, along with YDP workshops taking place up and down the country. Take a look at what’s been going on in and around the Society over the last 14 days!

“Its okay telling us what you have done but what are you doing for the future!!”

The CEO took a call this week and the question above was asked and basically, it is a very good question that what we are working on which we aim to communicate to you. We have masses of things that we are working on for the future and many projects have been identified previously but for various reasons have not been a priority. We have been revisiting these and prioritising them in order of merit. We are establishing a list of priorities and contributing factors such as investment required, how quick they can be delivered but most of all the level of benefit that these things can bring to the whole membership in terms of benefit to you.

The industry is heading towards a difficult time and I am sure the aim for all breeders is to preserve the Breed and the brand and also look beyond the farm gate at wherever or whoever the market place is, what it demands and making sure the cattle produced are of the type and specification that is required as economically as possible.  

Questions we need to ask are things like “How much does it cost to produce a kilo of meat” “How many kilos of meat can I produce per acre per year?” “How much grass can I produce per acre and how much gets wasted?” There has been a lot of work done already on efficiencies of production and we have a five year window to get our ducks in a row to make sure that we can farm profitably without subsidies. The Aberdeen-Angus breed is built to fit that bill and we need to prove that and not just say it.

The technology is available to breeders to help them provide the information needed to secure our place in the market.  We are fortunate as a Breed that market and brand name, are already there but supply and demand rules the price return at the end of the day. The Society is re-looking at were we focus our attentions on the market and identifying a bit of a shift change in the way that we can use technology to protect our market and increase the demand for Aberdeen-Angus breeding stock and meat.  

There are marketing phrases that tick a lot of boxes, “Sustainable“, “Carbon neutral”, “Land utilisation” and so on, we need to benchmark a lot of these factors and establish if we can tick any of these boxes, we can then take this into the market and see what they think!

There is a great deal of work that can be done “beyond the farm gate” that will benefit every member of the society and that will be the focus going forward. We have to do this in a structured and methodical way to make it work and fitting the pieces together which individually don’t seem like much when conjoined with other individual pieces and organisations start to build into a bigger picture and then as we move forward again a masterpiece starts to come into view!

DNA sire verification, a very important and essential part of the masterpiece and the first big hurdle to get over

We have now received back many lists of bulls that we sent out so that we can complete our database of registered Aberdeen-Angus sires that are in use out in the field. We keep stressing how important this is to protect the future of the Aberdeen-Angus premiums that we enjoy today. This project is so important for the breed going forward as we head towards Brexit, to protect our home market from imports that we must have maximum engagement from the membership to complete the database as quickly as we can. Therefore, the society is investing in the testing of the 2015/2016 bulls to fast track this initiative, please trust us that we do not invest money in anything that we feel is not beneficial to the breed, the brand and the members of the society, this scheme is paramount to our future success. We will ultimately be able to give all our retailers, hotels and restaurants, ready meal manufacturers and so on the assurance that they are using UK Sire verified Aberdeen-Angus beef, and we can prove it! We can then revisit our Certified Aberdeen-Angus Beef scheme and bring it up to speed with technology advancements since its inception. Just as a reminder of the importance of this and how he needs to keep it at the forefront of all his efforts, the CEO bought himself a new coffee mug!

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The Godfrey Neal Young Stockman Award – Three successful applicants

The Godfrey Neal Young Stockman Bursary received a great number of applicants this year with the standard of applicants being very high; giving the panel a very hard decision to make. In the end three successful applicants were selected, Alistair Bland, John Hunt and Barry Smith – a massive thank you to everyone that applied and a huge congratulations the three selected youngsters, we are sure you will benefit greatly from the extra training and travel that the awards will help towards you achieving your goals.

To find out more about the three successful applicants then click the link below:

Future Leaders Initiative with the YDP

Continuing with our encouragement and support of the younger generation we have working on the Future Leaders Initiative with the YDP. Over the last few months Gayle Bersey and the YDP committee have been working on a great initiative for an extension to the YDP programme in the form of a leadership course. To be run over the 9th and 10th of October and the 13th and 14th of November at the quiet time of the year,  this is to enhance the development of the senior members of the YDP and take them on to the business management aspect of our industry. The places on the course are limited to enable maximum engagement with the specially selected specialist tutors who will deliver the modules which include Leadership, Business Strategy and Management, Marketing and Social Media Management etc. If you know anyone or even have a member of staff who could benefit from this, you may be happy to support them with the cost.  Have a look at the link below and if you think that you would benefit from this then don’t delay and let us know.

If you would like to find out more information about the Future Leaders Course then click here.

Review preparation has started

Following a meeting with Denvir Marketing last week several items will be brought before council this week for discussion. We have a budget and time lines for the Review for the 101st edition sorted out and the clock is already ticking. The review will be available in the usual format and be mailed out to you very early in 2019. The content and the topics covered have been built up through this year and we will be putting out the requests with the pricing of this year’s advertising rates very soon. Once you receive your advert booking forms, if you could please place your bookings as soon as you can this would be helpful and don’t forget to update anything from last year with new photos and graphics if you need to, but the deadlines for returning will be strict this year so watch this space. We will also need the club reports in as soon as possible, please so again this is an early warning of what’s to come.

Tullamore Show Results

The largest one day show took place this year down in Tullamore on Sunday the 12th of July with a total entry of over 100 Aberdeen-Angus cattle catalogued across 16 different classes. The event saw over 60,000 spectators on the 260 acre show site in the heart of the midlands of southern Ireland  The Supreme Aberdeen-Angus senior championship was awarded to Pat & Finbarr Cahill, Shankill Lower, Cavan, Co. Cavan with their three year old stock bull, Drumhill Lord Harry R635. The reserve championship in the senior section went to Conor Craig & Amanda Bogan, Millbawn, Coolarty, Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford with their junior cow, Millbawn Nancy.

The CEO took the chance of going over to the show that had been billed as a great spectacle in the Irish show calendar and was not disappointed in either the quality of the cattle or the magnitude of the show which for a one day event was an agricultural spectacular. Thanks to Katheryn Bradshaw and Mack Crowe for getting the society trailer to the show, setting it up and providing some refreshments to the visiting members and parties interested in Aberdeen-Angus. To all the people I met from both the North and the South of Ireland thank you for making me feel so welcome and for sharing some legendary “Tea” with me!  

If you would like to read the full show results from Tullamore Show then you can find them on the link below:

The CEO was out and about again!

On the trip back from Tullamore, the CEO took the chance of visiting Robin Lamb’s herd up in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Robin was one of the three judges adjudicating over the Aberdeen-Angus Classes at the show. Robin’s farm is just outside Armagh town at Richill and has been in the family for a great number of years since its purchase by Robin’s father in the late 1940s. Formerly a dairy farm the decision was taken to move into beef farming a few years ago and Robin took up with a pedigree herd of Aberdeen-Angus. The type of cow that he has gone for is the medium sized cow as it suits the land and undulating terrain that is home. Robin’s sons also have a sheep flock that runs on the farm which creates a bit of family rivalry when it comes to doing the sums! A well-bred herd and Robin take a great deal of time in working out his breeding programme and his breed knowledge of the family lines that he has and wants to keep is really sound. They had a good first cut of silage and that took the pressure off the dry summer they and many others experienced, this was not too great an issue on this farm.

Robin Lamb had the following to say:

“The focus has always been on strong female lines in the herd and any purchases have been made on proven dams. Families that now have a strong influence in the herd alongside the Rosannas are Ellen, Erica, Fleur, Frances and Missies.

When purchasing stock bulls and using AI, the main emphasis is on the background of the pedigree with good cow families and also figures. As a way of increasing genetic gain, the better cows are served with AI, with the stock sire taking care of the rest.

Figures are something we keep an eye on with easy calving and milking ability the most important for us. Having a good milking dam is most cost effective because additional feeding of concentrates, which is expensive, isn’t necessary for calves to get a good start.”

Many thanks Robin for your hospitality and the welcome you afforded me.

Castle Douglas YDP Workshop

Workshops have been taking place up and down the country with as many as 3 workshops occurring over some weekends! This week we managed to speak to Jack, aged 13 from Lockerbie as he attended his first ever workshop down in Castle Douglas on the 29th of July which was kindly hosted by Donald Biggar.

Make sure to read his account of the workshop below:

National Young Show Stars

This week saw the staging of the National Young Show stars competition that is open to all and by way of support for the important national event the CEO attended to offer some commentary support to the event. All sections were well supported with many teams of three entered. The breed was represented this year with the “Black as Night” team consisting of Kian Frain, Ellie Westaway and Robyn Westcott who came through to win the competition with the top score out of 1000 possible points for the various parts that were independently adjudicated. The team were provided two heifers from the Glympton herd to show, and they prepared them over the two days with great care and proficiency. Kian won the best young performer in the cattle section and Ellie Westaway took her place as part of the three competitors who will be going on the exchange visit over to Canada. Really good performance from three young stars, with a long and we hope successful career in the showring in front of them. Well done to you all and congratulations on your success. Team Canada were also in the prize winners with the two Melview heifers prepared for showing “Canadian style” which was markedly different to the way that the cattle are prepared in the UK. Three worthy winners of the trip at the Ontario Fair who showed excellent communication skills and made the point known that showing in Canada was way different from the UK. This was a really top class event with the young people of our industry to the fore in all sections, congratulations to all for entering sponsoring and organising this excellent competition in the show calendar.

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Ribble Aberdeen-Angus herd dispersal

The well-known Ribble Aberdeen-Angus herd from Rowntree Farms will go to auction at Skipton Auction Mart on Saturday the 22nd of September 2018. Make sure not to miss out as this remains one of the biggest sales of Aberdeen-Angus cattle from a single herd ever staged in the UK with around 400 head offered for sale! If you want to top up your herd with some excellent bloodlines and there will be the cattle here for you.

If you would like to find out more then click the link below:

Pedigree Aberdeen-Angus cows or heifers wanted

We have received a request from Greg from Buxton, Derbyshire who is looking for half a dozen of pedigree Aberdeen-Angus cows or heifers with high health status. If you feel like you would be able to help or would like to find out more information then click the link below:

We are still looking for large numbers of in calf heifers if anyone has any for export. The buyer is planning to come over and tour round the UK and inspect any lots that come forward with a view to purchasing on farm. The dates in September is still to be finalised, thank you to those who have already offered, the details of the next steps will be back to you within a few days.

Stock for sale

We continue to share some great opportunities for stock for sale on the website. Please feel free to browse this section of the site regularly as it is being updated throughout the week and be sure to get in touch with any stock you might have for sale that you’d like promoted through this platform. Get in touch by phoning the office or emailing Laura in the office at [email protected]. The stock for sale section on the website is available at:


Don’t forget that the closing date for entries for the Carlisle bull sale at the end of next week. The four-week deadline for entries enable the DNA test to be run to establish parentage and Myostatin presence if any. This is an important rule of the society sales and late entries always causes a bit of an issue in getting results back in time. If you have any bulls that you want to enter for the sale please do it sooner rather than later, it does cause administrative problems if we don’t have the entries in on time.

Thank you from the girls in the registrations office!

Some key upcoming events in the calendar are as follows:

  The ‘Spectacular’ Show and Sale of Calves and Store Cattle, Thainstone Centre, Inverurie, 24th August

  Westmorland Show 13th September – Entries are now coming in and its looking like we will have a great show and don’t forget exhibitors the evening before we will have the “Barrie and Mary” Barbeque so get your stock in early and be ready for a relaxing evening with good food, good company in a beautiful location

YDP Workshops:

  Prospect House, 18 Reservoir Road, Banbridge, Co Down, Northern Ireland. BT32 4LD By kind permission of Sydney Cromie Date: 25th August 2018  Time: 10.30am


Credit card Payments

We have a had a great response to the introduction of Credit and Debit card payment system that we introduced a couple of months ago as people get used to using it. With the discussion about taking the smaller denomination coins out of circulation interesting figures have been quoted such as only three percent of all transactions are now done in cash! We would like to think that the system is keeping us in line with this trend and also up to date with the cashless society that we live in.   

Wet weather is with us again, why not be get ahead of the game and purchase one of our Aberdeen-Angus umbrellas for only £25 or a “his and hers” with our one month only special offer of two for £40.00 You can purchase one or two or more by phoning the office directly, speak to Yvonne who can deal with and dispatch your orders for all our merchandise where you can pay over the phone by card or simply add it to your next invoice. Full range of merchandise available to view online at:



From all at the Society, have a great weekend!