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UK Hereford Youth develop member knowledge at annual workshop

At UK Hereford Youth’s annual workshop, held in conjunction with the Shraden herd of Herefords’ centenary celebrations, members were encouraged to develop their cattle knowledge and skills.

Proceedings off on the evening of Friday 5 July. UKHY were kindly invited by the Timmis family of Shraden Herefords to their area herd judging presentation evening. It was the centenary celebration for the family and many area and youth members came to revel in their achievements. A herd tour started the festivities with a tractor and trailer ride. Many of our senior members attended which was great. We were shown round the herd demonstrating rotational grazing systems, soil management a variety of breeding policies ranging over their 100 years of farming. It was a great insight to a well-established herd and our young members concluded that stringent health planning alongside their true grit and determination was the success to their longevity.

On return to the farm we were treated to a delicious supper and pudding. As you can imagine, it all went down very well with everyone. The Hereford Cattle Breeders Association celebrated the winning herds and council member and herd judge Martin Jenkins gave an in-depth report as to why he placed his herds where he did. A great time was had by all.

The following morning saw the main event of the weekend. A total of 21 young members turned up prepared for the day ahead. Due to the impending New Zealand trip in which nine members have applied for the bursary, members were separated according to age and ability. Senior members started their day with an intense stock judging master class from Alan Timbrell of Thames Herefords. They then had to judge two separate classes and present their reasons to a selection panel. Vital training for their application but for furthering their knowledge and expertise too. Chris Williams of Clinwil Nutrition Services came and gave an educated presentation on minerals, nutrients and feeds. He also put our seniors to the test by demonstrating information not heard before while quizzing them throughout.Younger members were treated to a clipping and dressing workshop from Richard Edwards of Classic Herefords and Colin Soutter of Normanton Herefords. They were taught the basics in each section and then encouraged to put their skills to the test. A great way of learning is doing, and each member had a go. For a bit of fun, we split them into a boy versus girls’ team, with the girls coming out on top – just!

There was just enough time for a quick lunch stop, provided by the Timmis family. It was also a great chance to grab those last-minute raffle ticket buyers. Some great prizes were on offer including a semen donation, Showtime vouchers, a Hereford bull statue and much more. A total of £171 was raised which was fantastic and this will go into the extra funds pot for future use.

Next in the limelight were three council members; Tim Livesey, Alan Massey and Glen Pritchard plus breed president Jonathon Moorhouse. They answered questions posed to them from our seniors. It created a successful discussion and debate on the future of the breed and the youth programme. To say the least, our panel were challenged.

To round the day off our older members took control and directed the young handler’s section. Some participants were complete novices, so this was a good test for the more competent. A degree of patience and teaching were involved. We then held a mini competition in which some great handling skills were shown off. Alan Massey of Hollyvale Herefords was the master judge, and once he placed his winners, he gave constructive feedback.

Our day finished with the raffle being drawn and the prizes distributed. Presentations were made with many of the members going home with well earned prizes. The day proved once again, to be a great success. None of these events would happen without the time and consideration given by our hosts, breeders and trainers. But as a breed we are proud of our ever-growing youth programme – so here’s to the next event!

Fentons host UKHY event

Saturday 20th April saw the first UKHY event of the year take place. The weather was kind and the day proved to be very warm, which is always an added bonus.

A good crowd including one non-member and three Kent young farmers club members, plus parents, attended David and Juliet Fenton’s Silcocks Farm. Arriving at 10am the day kicked off with safety talks, introductions and lots of chit chat. David gave an in-depth over view of their 270 hectare grassland managed, organic farm. He informed the young members of their farming practices and why he farms the traditional Herefords.

They have a total of roughly 100 breeding cows. Not only does the farm have beef cattle but they also have a small herd of twenty dairy cattle, Ayrshires and Friesians. The milk is used to make cheese, milk and cream which is then sold through their farm shop. Twenty Gloucester Old Spot pigs contribute to the numbers and finally two hundred Dorset and Romney ewes. 

The farm shop provides a primary income selling all their store cattle, pigs and lamb through it. An on-site butchery offers the flexibility to slaughter and butcher when required. Alongside the farm shop is a café which offers lovely homemade food and drinks (trust me I know!)

The aim of the day was to provide an insight to various farming methods, with a large emphasis of cattle assessment. Once the introductions were over, attendees took a farm walk around the breeding cows. It was great to see the young members asking questions. Because the farm is organic and certified by the soil association there are a few restrictions that some members were unaware of. This delivered a great discussion on all thing veterinary administration, embryo work and paperwork.

Following on from viewing the cows we then went to see some in calf heifers and first time calver’s. Heifers are calved down at three which suits their farming methods. Most calves are born unaided. A mixture of bulls and AI are used to provide a broad range of bloodlines. After a good judge of the cattle we set about assessing cattle for the butcher. Clive Davies delivered a very informative and fact filled demonstration.

Clive went into the nitty gritty of cattle assessment discussing all the different types of joints, the EUROP scale and I could see the brains ticking. A discussion was had about the future market and the end product. Lunch was fast approaching so we sat in the sun and enjoyed a lovely barbeque with beef burgers, steaks and sausages, all reared on the farm of course. It gave all the young members time to reflect on what they had already learnt.

Afternoon activities allowed participants the opportunity to put theory into practice. A nearly fit animal was restrained in the handling system and Clive took a hands-on approach to guiding them through judging a butcher’s beast. All were asked to feel fat coverage over the ribs and to assess the depth of loin. They then went onto stock judge a pen of steers. This was a tough class as they were all uniformed in type and not much could split them. Clive judged them as the master, and everyone had a go. Members were then invited to give their reason under the young farmers guidelines. Clive had previously discussed delivery of reason giving and it was great to see from the side-lines that they had all taken on board what he had said. The feedback from Clive was very positive.

A butchery demonstration followed this activity. This was a great way of seeing a beast in real form. The apprentice butcher gave a great demonstration on joints of meat showing the members cuts of beef they’d been discussing out in the yard. Other activities throughout the day was to guess the weight of a ten-year-old stock bull. Being a traditional Hereford made some of them guess a lower weight than he actually was – that got them thinking!

A great day was had by all. Lots of information and learning was on offer. Many thanks go to David and Juliet Fenton and their team of staff who went above and beyond to make sure there was plenty on offer.