Membership Monthly Update August 2021
From the CEO’s Chair!
Where did August go? Is the first point that I would like to make, and the answer is that it just did! Harvest by all accounts has certainly got going along with all the other seasonal tasks that are required at this time of year.
Covid situations have changed as we work our way through new sets of guidelines following the lifting of restrictions school holidays and the return to work for many means a lift in cases which we in Perth are monitoring closely as a circuit breaker lockdown is a strong possibility.
I have along with Tayside Health board’s Jane Duffy and with the help of Laura Stewart completed our Covid Risk assessment for Pedigree House formalising actions and completing the inevitable paper trail that shows due diligence.
Staff continue to work flexibly with the working conditions in the office being close to but not quite normal. This gives us a better level of staff presence in the office at the moment with remote working in Scotland still being the default where possible.
Our new starters continue to develop, and develop the required skill set to manage all the tasks and more that we handle through Pedigree House
We are still working closely with the Registrations department to streamline systems and processes and untangle a lot of the roadblocks that currently are causing us to sadly fall short of expectations on what is a fundamental function of what we do which I call “Member Services”
We are just being a bit hampered by one line of our attack on this through a bit of a delay on some legal advice that we are taking on a particular matter but hopefully all will be cleared to go very soon.
We are hoping that when we can get worked through all the minor adjustments that are required to take some of those issues away, we will be back on track although I am still not ruling out a further member of the team in there to bring it up to speed.
We have also held most of the one-to-one staff meetings over the last month and like everything else it is just a little behind time and you will be pleased to hear that it is all positive and constructive with our new direction that is unfolding this year.
The staff have all been taking a bit of time out over the past month as the holiday season has arrived and working with us to make sure that we are not without cover by not being off at the same time thanks to them all for working their way through holiday season and maintaining a level of service.
We have finally managed to present Barbara Webster’s retirement gifts to her and celebrated with a bit of lunch in the back Garden of Pedigree House. Barbara was over the moon with her gifts from PCS and the staff here which as she says are practical gifts on not just something to collect dust on a shelf for years! Typical Barbara!!
Angela and Emily were missing as they were on Holiday and Caroline was there but took the photo for us but as, yet we can’t go out in Scotland as a group of this size to eat inside so this was just an interim farewell bite to eat.
Zoom calls have been a great development and again they are taking up a huge amount of time and resource as it just so easy to say let’s have a Zoom call on that one. In August I spent 52 hours on Zoom calls or the equivalent of 1.5 weeks out of the 4!
It is rarely only me that is on these calls so if we said the average was 5 people on a call that is 260-man hours on Zoom or the equivalent of 6.9 weeks work by one person, frightening, and we need to watch how we use this medium going forward.
We are in the process of working through with our trademark lawyers an update on validity within the EU and protecting what we have registered in the UK and the rest of the world and also some further marks which may be useful to us in the future.
As reported last month we had a visit to Pedigree House with Mairi Gougeon the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Islands and this month we followed up with her wider team. The opportunity to engage with them is very welcome on both sides and is being worked upon the best ways to do that and be beneficial to both parties.
I was invited to call in to Andrew Elliot’s Blackhaugh Farm on the way back north to chat a few things through and was given an excellent tour of the farm and facilities, thanks to the family for taking the time to do that with me.
We are along with various lobbying bodies continuing to represent the issues with the Northern Ireland transitional agreement and I have attended two meetings this moth to put our case forward on tagging, show and sale licences to take away the discrimination that is being forced on the NI breeders
12th August saw the European Angus Secretariat Meeting on Zoom, the morning was an open meeting, afternoon was for the secretariat business to be discussed, we have agreed that for it to be effective it needed to be formalised and that was approved, and we will report on the situation in the Review this year.
It was also agreed that Germany would have the opportunity to be our base for the next face to face Secretariat but not until 2024 to bring us back in line with World Secretariat meetings plenty of time to save up to attend.
We continue to work with Foyle Food Group and Tesco to give the opportunity for Breeders to up their anti with High Genetic Merit sires based on Performance recording. Process of identifying all the sires that qualify will be completed soon with the qualifying mark being placed on every bull that complies on the database.
We had a Zoom meeting on Type Classification (Linear Scoring) of Beef animals with a view to bringing the service in as part of performance recording and grateful to Meurig James for his advice and experience on the call to keep us right for when we put some cows through the process as a pilot to see where we end up.
I visited Grant Moir at Stoddart’s the meat processor for a face to face for the first time in 18 months and caught up with their view of the marketplace, eating quality, consistency of both the Aberdeen Angus sired beef they buy and the price which in their marketplace is a struggle.
Food inflation cannot be far away with the well-publicised situations on Labour and HGV driver shortages driving wages up. Minimum wage jobs it would seem are a thing of the past with demand for hands driving hourly rates up.
We have also engaged through the President and Senior Vice President, ABP and Dovecote Park for their take on eating quality parameters, an avenue that the Breed Development Committee are very keen to explore.
We have had a very busy month following our Marketing Committee meeting, working our way through the list, and delivering the decisions in partnership with our Marketing consultants at Pinstone Communications,
A structured plan of our activities that forms a framework for the next three to four years of marketplace activity has been developed and keep looking out for the “Beef Fit for the Future” campaign to roll out it is quite ground-breaking we believe and an exciting new dimension to our Marketing.
We have had some great coverage throughout August in the press with some great articles on our members and commercial enterprises featuring Aberdeen Angus Genetics as a preferred choice and showing profit which ultimately is what it’s all about.
We have also held two review meetings with Pinstone to start our campaign on reviewing 2021 which we plan to have on your doormat in the first week in January, but I cannot stress enough this means content needs to be on time and that includes Club and Member adverts.
It is Review advert booking time of year again we are managing to maintain the same competitive member rates as last year so please book your preferred size of advert in the first instance by E mail to, email@example.com
All adverts must be booked, and final designs submitted by the 24th October 2021, this is to ensure that you get your review on your doorstep during the first few days in January. We do reserve the right to refuse entry should anyone not observe this deadline.
This is to keep costs down as well as ensuring a timely publication so that all who get one have it in plenty of time for February Bull sales so, please be aware if we do not have your copy by the set date the content will not go in. there will be no exceptions to this so, please start designing early.
Breed Development committee met and moved several initiatives forward we had an update from Tina Russell the YDP National Coordinator, Robert Gilchrist updated us on progress with the Dairy Index and the Elite Cow index which are moving forward and now being fine-tuned.
We also discussed measuring Docility and ways of expanding the parameters that we currently submit to Breedplan and increase our recording of data to help us gather more information to base our selection of our future herd on more traits. This will also assist us when we continue down the path of using Genomics to aid selection.
On that very subject, our investment in education on this continues with a not insignificant investment in a book to help us understand Genomics a bit more, a bit of bedtime reading for myself and Robert while harvest is on and make available to the wider DNA Committee when we have grasped it!
We also discussed further our intention to upgrade with ABRI to their latest registration and performance recording software ILR online, an enhancement to what we are currently using. YouTube videos are available here if anyone wants to look at what it can deliver.
The Johnes debate rumbles on and being the Chair of the Pedigree Breed Society Committee with the NBA I have been very much involved at the sharp end and we are working through ways to make sure that we maintain a scheme to monitor risk level on beef herds.
Youth development had a catch up and have approved a further CALM scheme format for the three age groups this year and no workshops have been possible again although Chair Will Chrystal is organising a Senior Conference at his farm this year.
Workshops will hopefully be back on the agenda next year and the coordinators are working hard to make sure all dates and venues are confirmed in the Review and thanks to all for their efforts and offering up this cattle and premises next year again.
Felicity McGrath is still beavering away over in Ireland with certificates now being issued and getting to grips with how the EU members can get their cattle into the EU herd book which is no mean feat and is doing a great job of it.
We have had four new members that have purchased pedigree Aberdeen Angus Cattle from the Nightingale dispersal which is great news and two further new members from the successful production sale that was handled down in Sedgemoor Market under the stewardship of Robert Venner in conjunction with David Andrews of the Warson Herd.
Opportunities to buy stock just seem to keep coming this year preparation is well underway for Worcester who are holding two sales one Collective and one Dispersal and reduction with details of the sales and animals consigned to be available soon.
11th September Stirling female sale sees a consignment from our President David Ismail being made available 10 cows and calves will go through the ring at UA and the catalogue for these is available here. http://abri.une.edu.au/online/cgi-bin/i4.dll?1=3E37202F&2=2928&3=56&5=2B3C2B3C3A&11=5F5A5B
Summer Nationals preparation is just about over well done to Emily for collating all the required information and just double and triple checking everything on her first year with help from the rest of the team
Hard on the heels of this and under construction now will be the Winter National at AgriExpo at Borderway Mart Carlisle always a great exhibition of the best that is Aberdeen Angus stock, and a great showcase for the breed.
A face-to-face meeting with the Directors at UA to go through the upcoming sales schedules and establish that we will be as near to normal as we can get within the regulations at UA but more or less a normal format is expected unless anything changes in the meantime.
Preparation for October Bull sales where we have as well as the normal Bull offering for October but the Blelack Dispersal sale and a Production sale from The Wattie’s Tonley herd going under the hammer
From a personal perspective the weight is coming off gradually with me now 32lb off from my start weight, but I have miscalculated the 100 days from July 1st it is not the Summer National it’s the 9th of October I am a month out!!
Its now getting harder to lose the target so I need as much encouragement as you can offer to me through the Just Giving page below which can be found here. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/barrie-turner
As always this is a roundup of some but by no means all that is going on in the Society now and there is always a great deal to do. The new Committee structure is bedding itself in and everyone is finding their way around it.
Until the September update, I wish you all a safe pleasant month with the weather assisting you to bring in the harvest and the winter keep in as good a condition as possible and start preparations for the next cycle in the agricultural year.
Upcoming events for September
- Thursday 2nd September 10.30am-4pm at Puddleditch Farm Berkeley GL139EU Simon and Kat Ball from the Elm View Herd are opening their doors for an open afternoon, Emily Simpson will be there in support of this from the Society
- 8th and 9th the summer national at Westmoreland show, Judging AA classes will commence at 9.00am on Thursday the 9th and look out for the Northern Clubs Exhibition unit in its new livery!
- 11th September Stirling Pedigree Female sale at UA Stirling Agricultural Centre
- 15th September sees the Holstein Friesian Dairy Day at Telford and an opportunity to meet up with many of the trade all in one place
- 25th also at Worcester Pedigree Collective Sale with a small draft of Females as well as other bull and female entries
- By the end of the month, we have to be prepared for the Agenda for Council to go out and ensure that all Committees have progressed their agendas and are prepared to put proposals to Council depending on what they are for ratification and also review and decisions that have been made at Committee level to maintain transparency.
- Carlisle Multibreed show and sale day is on the Friday 1st October
- Saturday 2nd October at Worcester Market will see the dispersal of Tony Foster’s Rotherwick herd and the herd belonging to Slawston Estates will also be up for grabs on the day with I suspect a good range of genetics from the Ribble herd of Henry Rowntree being made available to the market again.
A kind request from Angela Cumming from our Finance Department.
IMPORTANT MEMBER NOTICE – REGISTRATION DISCOUNT
Following on from the Council meeting held on the 28th of July 2021, Council unanimously decided to withdraw the issue of registration discounts.
Statements were posted out at the end of August. If you have any outstanding invoices, prompt payment would be very much appreciated. You can pay by cheque, internet banking or credit card.
Please always remember to quote your membership number as a reference.
We are in the middle of preparing for the hectic autumn sale season. Those wishing to sell bulls at Stirling and Carlisle will need to have all performance figures into the office by the 9th of September to go into the Group Run for the month. Those that miss the window will not qualify for entry.
By way of clarification, for those wishing to enter bulls for the Society sales at Stirling and Carlisle, the requirements can be found on this link:
With the bulk of the pedigree Aberdeen-Angus herds being spring calving, weaning will soon be on the horizon for many breeders. Breedplan evaluations depend more on the variation that your animals show in your farming system than on how your animals compares to animals in another herd. This means that the more whole herd data submitted to Breedplan, the better.
Many of you will be weighing calves at this point to get an idea of performance. Not only is this data very useful for you but it is also incredibly useful for the evaluations. Submitting weaning weights for all animals rather than a select few will give a broader range of animals to compare your best to thus giving the opportunity to improve EBVs.
Laura Stewart Office Manager
The next Council meeting has been organised to take place in person in Perth on 19th October. As usual, should any member have something that they wish to raise, please contact your local Council member in the first instance. Contact details can be found on the Society’s website
We are currently trying to make headway with the Registrations backlog. We are noticing a high instance of stock bulls having the 200 ISAG DNA test which would have given sire verification and MYOSTATIN results.
PLEASE NOTE: this is not sufficient for a stock bull. He must be tested on the 50K SNPS platform.
If you are unsure how your stock bull has been tested please contact the office and we can check for you.
If you are required to submit a hair sample please see link below to ensure the sample sent is sufficient for SNPS testing
We have been in discussion with Weatherbys and they have confirmed that Microsatellite DNA testing will be phased out at the end of 2021. Therefore it is really important to check that your stock bull has a SNPS profile on file. On the database any bull with a DNA reference starting with G will have the correct profile.
Also, if you flush any females please check their DNA status at the time of flushing. For ET calves both sire and dam must be DNA profiled.
If you find you cannot gain access to the on-line registration system, it may be because a debt has exceeded 120 days on your account. We run our stats/reports on the last day of each month. If a debt has exceeded 120 days, the system automatically withdraws access. Please do not repeatedly try to access your account as if you log in too many times the account will be blocked.