Co Down farmer Richard Elliott certainly gave the Hereford breed a seal of approval when chatting to John McMordie from the Northern Ireland Hereford Breeders Association on his farm just outside Downpatrick last week.
Richard moved from Fermanagh back in 1968 and started his milking herd in 1984. The 150 milking herd is now worked by three generations of the family.
“Even back then there was always a Hereford bull on the farm, usually two. I always liked to keep a younger bull for the heifers,” stated Richard. Herefords are perfect for the dairy farmer who rears suck calves. He believes that they are a low maintenance breed, easy calved, quick to be on their feet and never look back. To him that means a lot. He did try a continental bull but quickly changed back to Hereford. “Yes the birth weight may be slightly greater but factoring in assisted calvings and time spent at births any gains and profit margin soon disappeared,” advised Richard. He also likes the fact the Hereford as a breed is quiet to work with. With more than enough dangers around the farm environment having quiet and manageable cattle is one less thing to worry about.
His son Richard and grand daughter Bronwyn, who look after the calves, were also impressed, easy to get started drinking, thriving and good doer’s advised Richard Jnr, as he showed John McMordie a selection of new borns. He also loved the fact they are one of the quickest to gain weight with very little financial input and that is something in the current farming climate which is a big positive.
With the Hereford breed being used on a dairy herd, the three generations certainly gave the breed an endorsement. Easy calved, quiet to handle, quick to gain weight and finish with the lowest input it was an easy choice for the Elliott family to make.
If you are interested in the Hereford breed the NIHBA will be holding the January Premier show and sale sponsored by Danske Bank at Dungannon Livestock Market on 20th January. Show commences at 11am with sale at 1pm. Check the website on herefordni.co.uk or Facebook page or alternatively the association secretary Ivan Haire on 07887675649.