Local bulls are put through their paces at Armagh testing centre (1983)

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Teams of Charolais, Hereford and Simmental bulls, which had commenced testing in March 1983, were released to their owners at an open day at the Northern Ireland Beef Performance Testing Station at Loughgall during this week in 1983, reported Farming Life.

During their six months test period the bulls were penned individually and were subjected to a standard regime of feeding and management. Performance points were awarded for their food-converting abilities over a fixed liveweight range while on test and on their 400-day weights.

Messrs J S Hoy and R J Herron, the department's livestock officers, awarded scores for physical soundness and beef conformation as the bulls were paraded for inspection.

A small team of Charolais bulls had been recruited for the purpose of investigating a system of ad libitum feeding. This method of feeding resulted in exceptional initial liveweight gains but was terminated after 12 weeks of trial because of the excessive food consumption involved.

Pictured in July 1980 at the Killinchy Show is Anna Erskine on Windy on her way to a clear round. Picture: News Letter archives/Darryl ArmitagePictured in July 1980 at the Killinchy Show is Anna Erskine on Windy on her way to a clear round. Picture: News Letter archives/Darryl Armitage
Pictured in July 1980 at the Killinchy Show is Anna Erskine on Windy on her way to a clear round. Picture: News Letter archives/Darryl Armitage

Not surprisingly, noted Farming Life, the team average 400-day weight of 657k was the best so far recorded at the station while the individual 400 day weight of Tarlim Teammate (735k) bred by Mr Robert Alexander of Tarlim, Omagh, was the highest so far recorded for a bull of any breed at Drumilly.

The relatively small team of seven Hereford bulls did not reflect the popularity of the breed in Northern Ireland. Farming Life remarked that: “It is to be hoped that more Hereford breeders will lend their support to recording and testing in the future.”

Solpoll-1-Ulysses, bred by Mr Eric McMordie of Ballygowan was a very clear leader in this team in terms of both performance and appearance. His food conversion efficiency on test (3.77:1) was a new record for the Hereford breed.

Three bulls bred by Mr R H McNeely of Bready, Strabane, all broke the breed record for daily gain on test.

Pictured in July 1980 at the Killinchy Show is 11-year-old Ruth Brown from Lisburn on her prizewinning pony Kylenoe Thumbelina. Picture: News Letter archives/Darryl ArmitagePictured in July 1980 at the Killinchy Show is 11-year-old Ruth Brown from Lisburn on her prizewinning pony Kylenoe Thumbelina. Picture: News Letter archives/Darryl Armitage
Pictured in July 1980 at the Killinchy Show is 11-year-old Ruth Brown from Lisburn on her prizewinning pony Kylenoe Thumbelina. Picture: News Letter archives/Darryl Armitage

Simmental continued to be the most numerous breed on test and this team of 16 bulls was of a good overall standard, only 11 performance points separating the first seven bulls, noted Farming Life.

Castlehill Martain, bred by Mr Tommy Connelly of Clogher, Co Tyrone, set a new record for daily gain on test of while Moumeview Major, bred by Mr Jackie Boggs of Strabane, equalled the previous one of 1.87k.

Top on performance while while on test with a score of 656 points was a Heywood Esquire son, bred by Mr W J Reid while an Orage son, from Mr W J Robson's herd, headed the line in general appearance.

An Avoncroft Aster son, bred by Nelson Farms of Ballymena, and Mr Bogg's Panther son were also bulls which caught the judges' eyes.

Pictured in late July 1980 is eight-year-old Joanne Bailey from Newtownards, who is seen showing of the handsome trophy which she won with her pony on the leading rein class at the Greyabbey Show. Picture: News Letter archives/Darryl ArmitagePictured in late July 1980 is eight-year-old Joanne Bailey from Newtownards, who is seen showing of the handsome trophy which she won with her pony on the leading rein class at the Greyabbey Show. Picture: News Letter archives/Darryl Armitage
Pictured in late July 1980 is eight-year-old Joanne Bailey from Newtownards, who is seen showing of the handsome trophy which she won with her pony on the leading rein class at the Greyabbey Show. Picture: News Letter archives/Darryl Armitage

Performance testing continued, reported Farming Life, to be well supported with 256 bulls being considered for 72 places in a test which was to begin in mid-October 1983.

Traders warned against starting butter price war: The Northern Ireland dairy industry, during this week in 1983, sent a message to supermarkets involved in a price war to stop.

“Cut price butter could be harmful to the dairy industry,” said a spokesman. “It has been studying reports that housewives were buying butter by the carton at prices below wholesale packers rates.” The spokesman said the price war covered a much bigger range of items than dairy products, but he was concerned solely with his industry.

He said the supermarkets involved in the 'war' were losing huge sum financing the cut price campaign.

Pictured in late July 1980 is Mrs Frances Eastwood who is seen presenting the Thomas Joseph Eastwood Memorial Trophy to Mrs Freda Quinn, sister of the owner, Mr P O’Loughlin, left, after Court Play romped home to victory at Down Royal. Included are, Mr Paddy Hunt, chairman of Down Royal, Mr Barry Ross, the registrar, and the jockey’s father, Mr Clem Magnier. Picture: News Letter archives/Darryl ArmitagePictured in late July 1980 is Mrs Frances Eastwood who is seen presenting the Thomas Joseph Eastwood Memorial Trophy to Mrs Freda Quinn, sister of the owner, Mr P O’Loughlin, left, after Court Play romped home to victory at Down Royal. Included are, Mr Paddy Hunt, chairman of Down Royal, Mr Barry Ross, the registrar, and the jockey’s father, Mr Clem Magnier. Picture: News Letter archives/Darryl Armitage
Pictured in late July 1980 is Mrs Frances Eastwood who is seen presenting the Thomas Joseph Eastwood Memorial Trophy to Mrs Freda Quinn, sister of the owner, Mr P O’Loughlin, left, after Court Play romped home to victory at Down Royal. Included are, Mr Paddy Hunt, chairman of Down Royal, Mr Barry Ross, the registrar, and the jockey’s father, Mr Clem Magnier. Picture: News Letter archives/Darryl Armitage

“Butter manufacturers,” he said, “were having to watch closely their sales schedules for while there has been only a comparative small increase in the overall demand, cold storage space was now limited.”

Farming Life noted that it was reckoned there there were 12,000 tons of butter in EEC intervention - filling about 90 percentage of the cold storage space in the province. The speculation was that Some supermarkets were selling butter at 30p below cost prices. The dairy industry spokesman said: “We fear when prices return to normal there could be a resistance by housewives to pay the proper rates.”

They asked: “For a time they will presumably use up what they had put in the deep freeze. What will happen after that?”

They continued: “Most industries depend on a steady demand for their product, and any hiccup in sales could have a harmful effect.

“At present sales of butter and many other commodities in corner shops, have dropped while the supermarkets' sales have risen.”

“At present sales of butter and many other commodities in corner shops, have dropped while the supermarkets' sales have risen.”