Blondes doing the business for Sean

Colin McKnight of the NI Blonde Club congratulating Sean Cowan winner of the Blonde Commercial herds Competition.
Colin McKnight of the NI Blonde Club congratulating Sean Cowan winner of the Blonde Commercial herds Competition.

The Northern Ireland Blonde cattle club are pleased to announce the results of their recent commercial herd’s competition.

Sponsored by Dovea Genetics and judged this year by renowned cattleman Pat Hackett from Co. Tyrone, the competition reinforced the positive attributes using a Blonde sire can have on a variety of differing farming systems.

First prize this year was awarded to Sean Cowan, located at the foot of the Mourne Mountains just outside Hilltown, County Down. Sean runs a select herd of 20 commercial suckler cows all put to a Blonde stock bull.

“I used a Blonde bull previously and had retained many of his female progeny as replacements for my herd. For a short time I used a different breed of beef bull on my cows but quickly knew that the quality of the calves had reduced,” he said.

Sean purchased his current stock bull from the Silverwood herd of the McKnight family near Newry, his second from this herd over the years.

“I chose another Blonde bull to run with my cows as I wanted an easy calving sire without risking the confirmation and eye appeal of my calves when taken out to sales. The Blonde ticks both boxes for me and I am very pleased with the docility and vigour the calves have displayed from birth. They are a pleasure to work with. My aim in the future is to continually improve the quality of my cows and I am convinced the Blonde sire will help me to achieve this also.”

Sean was also awarded the prize for the best cow and calf, a Blonde cross cow with her Blonde sired heifer calf at foot.

Gerard Clarke from Keady, County Armagh, was awarded second place. Gerard runs a homebred pedigree Blonde bull with his herd of continental type cows.

“I am really pleased with the quality of my Blonde sired calves, particularly after what has been a difficult year weather wise. The calves are all thriving well and carry that bit of extra style that a Blonde bull can give,” commented Gerard.

Third place was won by Evan Glasgow located near Cookstown, County Tyrone. Evan farms on some exposed and high ground and as such his cattle must be hardy and able to withstand some more adverse weather conditions. Evan purchased his current pedigree Blonde stock bull from Alan Carson who runs the Lyon herd also near Cookstown and is pleased with the growth rates of his Blonde sired calves.

Judge, Pat Hackett added: “It was a privilege to judge this year’s Blonde commercial herd competition and I was pleased to see the quality of the Blonde sired calves on farms across Northern Ireland. I would like to pass on my congratulations to all the participants and thank them for their hospitality, and in particular to this year’s winners who demonstrate just how well a Blonde bull can perform in their herds.”

The club wish to extend their thanks to all who entered this year’s competition as well as to the judge Pat Hackett and main sponsor Dovea Genetics.

The NI club are hosting a select sale of pedigree bulls in Dungannon Farmers mart on Friday, October 5, from midday.