Charolais breeders from 12 countries enjoy a weekend in Fermanagh countryside

Published: 21 Jun 2012 13:000 comments

A day in the Fermanagh countryside looking at top quality pedigree cattle, with scenic views over Lower Lough Erne and with the sun shining was throughly enjoyed by more than 200 delegates attending the World Charolais Congress on Sunday as they visited the Killadeas Charolais herd of Stuart and David Bothwell on their St. Angelo farm.

David Lewis(centre), World Charolais Society International President calls on Jerry Maltby from California(left) to make a presentation to the Bothwell family; Stuart, Violet, Shirley and David Bothwell for hosting the farm visit on Sunday for the World Charolais Congress. More than 200 delegates toured the farm which has been in the forefront of pedigree Charolais breeding for more than 30 years.

The Killadeas herd is renowned in pedigree cattle breeding in the British Isles with numerous top prices and awards for cattle over the years. David showed the delegates around his pedigree herd, particularly their stock bull, Blackford Dynamite bought two years ago for 16,000gns in Perth and with his first calves being consigned for sale later this year.

Daivd said his family were delighted to host the prestigious visit.

"We were delighted everything went well as it was a privilege to be asked to host this," said David.

"People have been very positive and they liked the cattle with plenty of enquiries about semen," he said, adding that he has been invited to France and other countries to see the Charolais breed there.

Delegates from 12 countries were among the party of more than 200 who visited the farm where they also saw promising young bulls, cows and heifers which form the backbone of this top herd of 30 pedigree cows built up over the last 35 years.

David Benson, Chief Executive of the British Charolais Cattle Society which this year celebrates its Golden Jubilee and which is hosting the World Congress in the United Kingdom explained that they last hosted the Congress in 1997 and this was the fifth time in the UK but the first time for part of the Congress to be held in Northern Ireland.

He said it was significant this year that the Charolais breed is proving popular as a terminal sire with registrations well up this year. More satisfying is the fact that 498 pedigree bulls were sold at pedigree sales this spring at an average of £5,434, one of the highest ever averages, reflecting the rise in store cattle prices this year.

He said they were delighted to welcome so many delegates from across the world, with one breeder from Montana, who runs 1,000 pedigree Charolais cows.

He said Northern Ireland as a region was a particularly valuable part of the UK interms of breeding with some 600 affiliated members.

One of the delegates travelling for the Congress was Roger Goldsmith from Saskatchewan, Canada, who has a 40-cow pedigree herd with a further 50 commercial cows and 1,000 acres of cereals, growing wheat, barley, oats and canola in rotation. Farming in these great plains of Canada is often difficult considering rainful is only around 11 inches a year.

"I'm very impressed with the breed here. About half of the cattle I've seen would work in both countries," he said.

With vast acreages of farmland supporting the cattle, herding is done often by horseback.

Roger has some Welsh blood, an ancestor leaving the mines of Wales to go to Canada.

"I never knew Ireland was so green. A neighbour had told me it was 'the greenest spot in the world' and now I can see that." he aded.

This was Roger's third Congress, one of the previous ones being based in eastern Europe and another in Oklahoma and Texas.

Among the party were brothers, Darcy and Allan Trustum and their wives, sisters, Elaine and Helen Trustum from New South Wales, Australia.

Living 25 kilometres apart, Helen, a life member of the Australian Charolais Society, has been in Charolais breeding since 1974 and now runs one of the largest studs in Australia, with 150 pedigree cows and 150 commercial cattle.

Despite 52" of rainfall, the cattle are never housed, staying outside in the mild winters in the paddocks.

They were part of a large contingent of delegates from Down Under, and among them was Graham Smith, a past President of the Australian Society who farms in Victoria and Ian Price from Queensland.

Ian who has used semen from Gilbert Crawford's Coolnaslee herd which the Congress visited on Monday, has one of the largest pedigree herds in Australia with 800 Charolais cows and a further 2,000 commercial cattle on his Moongool Stud, Yuleba, Queensland.

"We've been looked after very well and we've seen some good cattle," he said, explaining that they would look for slightly different characteristics in the bloodlines.

The delegates attended the National Charolais Show in the Ecclesville Centre, Fintona on Saturday and stayed over the weekend in the Killyhevlin and Manor House Hotels. One of their highlights was an Irish-themed night on Sunday in the Killyhevlin Hotel.

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