A golden year for Charolais breed

THE Northern Ireland Charolais Club celebrates one of its most successful years yet, beginning with the club’s golden anniversary dinner in Walshes Hotel Maghera.

Charolais was the first beef society to be established in the UK and the British Society celebrated its Golden Anniversary with the launch of a book that charts the breed decade by decade since the inaugural cattle imports which revolutionised the British Beef industry. The 104 page book is entitled Charolais Leading the British Beef Revolution 1962 – 2012.

At Beef NI 2012 organised by NBA in Dungannon Mart the NI Club won the best beef breed category stand and was presented with their certificate by judge Ken Fletcher, Scottish Farmer, and Elizabeth Rodgers, event co-ordinator. At the Annual General Meeting Mrs Sandra Cochrane, outgoing chairman, launched the new club branding designed by Alfie Shaw Agri Images.

The new chairman for the year was none other than well-known Ballymena breeder Mr JK Currie of the Tullygarley herd who was the first club chairman 50 years ago.

The club formed a new partnership with H2 Engineering with engineering plants in Dungannon, Galway, Cork and Blackpool; the launch of the H2 Engineering Charolais Championship (NI) took place at Blessingbourne Estate. This proved to be one of the top NI pedigree beef championships culminating with the Grand Final at Clogher Valley Show in July with a superb line up of six champions and six reserve champion Charolais cattle.

The NI National Charolais show was fast forwarded to June from September in order to coincide with the World Congress Tour with over 200 International visitors to the region. A packed programme of special activities was planned for the visitors and committee member and British Chairman Martin Donaghy from Dungannon coordinated these activities.

The Club is delighted with the success of the World Charolais Tour to the province allowing local breeders to showcase top class Charolais cattle to breeders from Australia, America and Zimbabwe and right across Europe. They were based in Killyhevlin and the Manor House Hotels.

A special Irish themed dinner was held in Killyhevlin Hotel whilst two breeders hosted farm walks in Fermanagh at the Killadeas Herd of David and Stuart Bothwell and at Maghera Londonderry on the farm of Gilbert and Hazel Crawford who own the Coolnaslee Herd. Both breeders were very generous and put on a hearty meal for everyone attending on both occasions followed by a variety of lively entertainment. This was a real opportunity for the delegates to get hands on with stock and to have time to network and make links for the future and to sample our Northern Ireland hospitality.

Many of the breeders commented on the size of the cattle in Northern Ireland. As most of them come from a very different situation often owning thousands of acres ranch style, yet in Northern Ireland such care and attention is given to preparation for the showring even though most of the herds here are much smaller, they certainly went away impressed that we can put on a ‘good show in Northern Ireland despite the rain that tried to spoil the visit’. They were also amazed at the colour of the fields and the beauty of the Fermanagh lakes and the opportunity to visit the north coast.

The Young Breeders were out in style this year showing off their skills to their best at shows sales and special youth events. The Club Stock Judging was held in March at Dungannon mart and six finalists were chosen to represent NI at the UK Young Breeders Stock judging finals at the Royal Highland Show in the senior section where Philip Johnston tied for first place with an impressive 145 points. He was pipped to the post by Scott Smith on reasons. Again Philip Johnston and Nikki Hughes tied for second place in the pairs whilst Adam Johnston came second in the intermediate section.

A large number of young people competed in the Animax Young Handler Competition at the National show in Fintona judged by Mrs Florrie Telford.

Throughout the year the club is involved with many provincial shows and special events; NICCEC and Allams Fatstock Show & Sale and the Charolais Suckled Calf shows across nine marts in the province. The club is indebted to all marts and agricultural societies’ for their help in coordination and support annually. To the press for their coverage of events across the province throughout the year, to the sponsors, judges vets, stewards, breeders and everyone who has assisted in any way to ensure the smooth running of events this year. The club look forward to another busy year in 2013.

For information on entries for the Export Sale please contact Dungannon Mart on Tel: (028) 8772 2727

Charolais Club Diary 2013

28th February - NI Competition Young Breeders Stockjuding - Dungannon Mart 7pm

Club AGM (Date TBC)

15th April - Launch of the H2 Championships & NI National Charolais Show

4th July - Finals UK Young Breeders Stock Judging - NEC Birmingham

5th July - Club BBQ

31st July - NI Charolais Championship - Clogher Valley Show

7th September - NI National Charolais Show in Fintona

27th September - Annual Dinner & Presentation of Awards

Sept-Oct - NI Charolais Suckled Calf Competitions

Annual Shows & Sales 2013

1st March 2013 - Export Show & Sale Dungannon Mart

(Entries close 18th January 2013)

15th April 2013 - Show & Sale Ballymena Mart

(Entries close 11th March 2013)

27th May 2013 - Show & Sale Dungannon Mart

(Entries close 22nd April 2013)

1st November 2013 - Show & Sale Dungannon Mart

(Entries close 27th September 2013)


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