Herd health on agenda at AGM

Office bearers and committee members of the NI Simmental Cattle Breeders' Club pictured at its AGM in Dungannon. Picture: Julie Hazelton
Office bearers and committee members of the NI Simmental Cattle Breeders' Club pictured at its AGM in Dungannon. Picture: Julie Hazelton

Dungannon Rugby Club was the venue for the Northern Ireland Simmental Cattle Breeders’ Club’s annual general meeting.

Guest speaker was Maria Guelbenzu from the AFBI Cattle Health Scheme.

Health scheme membership is voluntary, but it is compulsory for vendors at British Simmental Society sales to be members of a CHeCS licensed scheme.

Ms Guelbenzu said that the AFBI scheme was celebrating its 10th anniversary later this year. It provides testing for BVD, IBR, Lepto, Johnes and Neospora which is a parasite responsible for 7.2% of bovine abortions in Northern Ireland during 2016.

Ms Guelbenzu gave an interesting and informative presentation on the various diseases and their physical and financial implications.

Club chairman Matthew Cunning thanked Maria Guelbenzu and presented her with a token of appreciation.

Mr Cunning gave a resume of his year in office, congratulating members on their achievements at stockjudging competitions and shows and sales both locally and nationally. He thanked everyone who contributed to the success of the club’s annual barbecue which raised £3,500 for the Horizon West Childrens Hospice in Co Fermanagh.

He said: “Congratulations to Thelma Gorman on her much deserved Unsung Hero Award.”

Concluding he said: ”I wish breeders another successful year, and as we look ahead post Brexit, we will continue to work hard to promote Simmental cattle throughout Northern Ireland and the UK.”

Club treasurer Leslie Weatherup outlined the report and accounts for the last financial year.

The election of office bearers was conducted by society council representative Norman Robson from Doagh.

The following members were elected for 2017/18:

l Matthew Cunning from the Glarryford was unanimously returned as chairman for a second year; while Conrad Fegan from Rostrevor retains his position as vice-chairman.

l Leslie Weatherup from Ballyclare, and Robin Boyd from Portglenone, were re-elected to their respective positions as treasurer and secretary.

The newly elected committee includes: Richard Rodgers, Portglenone; Joe Wilson, Rathfriland; Keith Nelson, Rosslea; Andrew Clarke, Armagh; Thelma Gorman, Armagh; Patsy McDonald, Tempo; Nigel Glasgow, Cookstown; David Hazelton, Dungannon; Norman Robson, Doagh; and John Moore, Omorga, Beragh.

The NI Simmental Club’s forthcoming diary dates include:

Saturday 27th May – Woodcraft Kitchens (Kilrea) Junior Heifer Derby, Ballymena Show.

Wednesday 31st May – Evening show and sale of pedigree bulls and females, followed by commercial female entry, at Ballymena Mart.

Monday 3rd July – Annual stockjudging event, Joe Wilson’s Ballinlare Farm Herd, 78 Castlewellan Road, Rathfriland, Co Down, BT34 5EL – 7.00pm

Friday 4th August – Annual charity barbecue, Dungannon Rugby Club.