Making more money with South Devon

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South Devon Newsletter, December 2008, issue 43

Contents of this issue:

  2. Canterbury Royal A&P Show
  3. 2009 Herd Tour & AGM
  4. 7th World Congress Tour


With the festive season now here and a busy 2008 almost gone, it is time to reflect on the past six months.

Shortly after completing my last message to Members, Phil & I flew to USA & Canada for the 7th World South Devon Congress. This proved to be a very interesting tour, including the Conference held in Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada.

Reports were presented from all Member Countries of the South Devon World Association. A World Association Council was formed and I am very pleased to report, Brian Thomson is the New Zealand representative. Dar Giess from USA has taken on a second term as World President, with David Corker from Australia as Vice President.

Although there was plenty of idea’s and enthusiasm generated between the delegates at the Conference for South Devon promotion globally, it did become very clear to us as New Zealander’s that we are one of the few Countries that rely very heavily on Members contributions for our funding, while others have Government support.

With regards to International Evaluations, it was agreed by all Countries that we should all concentrate on increasing linkage through the use of export sires during the next 3 years. The level of linkage would be reviewed at the next Congress to decide if a Global Evaluation between 5 Countries is feasible at that time.

During November Peter Foss and Dene Wason attended the NZBT (NZ Beef Technologies) workshops. It was disappointing that Members didn’t take the opportunity to attend. With technology advancements moving rapidly, it is recommended that Members take these opportunities in the future to be well informed with issues that will affect everyone involved in the Beef Industry. Peter also represented South Devon at a Technical Forum with ABRI in Feilding, prior to the workshops.

At this time I was travelling to the Canterbury Royal Show to officiate as Associate Judge. With top quality South Devon’s exhibited, there were some outstanding results. It was a great thrill to be part of the excitement.

Thank you to the exhibitors for your dedication in promoting our Breed. Another opportunity for promoting your own Stud and South Devon’s in general is the 2009 Beef Review. The Society will be supporting this publication and organising articles. Please support this venture by booking advertising space.

Article space is allocated on a page for page basis ie: 6 pgs of adverts = 6 pages of articles. The bull trial open day was again well supported by Members. It was pleasing to see the bulls looking well and everyone enjoying themselves in such a relaxed manor. The AGM Tour in Northland in March will give us all another opportunity to mix business with pleasure.

Until then, I would like to wish you all a happy and safe Christmas and New Year.

Lanise Robertson President


12th – 14th November 2008

What fantastic results! Congratulations to the exhibitors, Brian Thomson – Loch Lomond, Mosgiel, Arnold & Richard van Asch – Burtergill, Blenheim and Fraser McKenzie – Wainuka, Otautau. The quality of the South Devon entries is very evident in the successful results gained in the Interbreed and All Breeds classes.


Cow, with her own calf at foot (3yrs & over)
1st Burtergill Fauna 517
2nd Loch Lomond Kirsty 1st 502

Champion Senior Female – Sherning Salver
1st Burtergill Fauna 517

Reserve Champion Senior Female
2nd Loch Lomond Kirsty 1st 502

Senior Yearling Heifer
1st Loch Lomond Floss 3rd 708
2nd Loch Lomond Janet 3rd 710
3rd Burtergill Dewdrop 727
4th Burtergill Flirt 720
5th Wainuka Milly 10

Junior Yearling Heifer
1st Wainuka Jill 11

Champion Yearling Heifer – Castlerock Challenge Trophy
1st Loch Lomond Floss 3rd 708
Reserve Champion Yearling Heifer
2nd Loch Lomond Janet 3rd 710
3rd Wainuka Jill 11

Performance Plus Class – Yearling Heifer
1st Loch Lomond Floss 3rd 708
2nd Loch Lomond Janet 3rd 710
3rd Wainuka Jill 11
4th Wainuka Milly 10

Senior Bull 2yrs & over
1st Burtergill Harry 2
2nd Loch Lomond Ted 1st 702

Champion Senior Bull
1st Burtergill Harry 2

Reserve Champion Senior Bull
2nd Loch Lomond Ted 1st 702

Senior Yearling Bull
1st Burtergill Anton 709
2nd Burtergill Anton 711

Junior Yearling Bull
1st Loch Lomond TJ 726

Champion Yearling Bull
1st Burtergill Anton 709

Reserve Champion Yearling Bull
2nd Loch Lomond TJ 726

Supreme Champion – Randall Perpetual Challenge Cup
1st Burtergill Harry 2

Two Yearlings, any sex. Bred by exhibitor, judged as a pair
1st BJ Thomson
2nd AE & RA van Asch
3rd FG McKenzie

Group, Bull & Two females, any age
1st AE & RA van Asch
2nd BJ Thomson

Two animals by one sire or one dam
1st BJ Thomson
2nd AE & RA van Asch
3rd AE & RA van Asch

BEEF INTERBREEDS - Entries selected by the Judges

Best Junior Heifer in Show (11 entries)
1st Loch Lomond Floss 3rd 708

Best Junior Bull in show (9 entries)
2nd Burtergill Anton 709

Interbreed Pairs (8 entries) (one male & one female, any age)
2nd Burtergill Harry 2 &
Burtergill Fauna 517

Junior Champion Cup (11 entries)

Best Junior Beef animal in Show

1st Loch Lomond Floss 3rd 708

Meat & Wool Cup (11 entries)
Supreme Beef animal in Show
2nd Burtergill Harry 2

BEEF ALL BREEDS Judged by Guy Lord, Australia

Senior Bull 2yrs & over (13 entries)
2nd Burtergill Harry 2
4th Loch Lomond Ted 1st 702

Yearling Bull (24 entries)
1st Burtergill Anton 709
2nd Burtergill Anton 711
7th Loch Lomond TJ 726

Cow, with her own calf at foot (3yrs & over) (20 entries)
8th Loch Lomond Kirsty 1st 502
9th Burtergill Fauna 517

Yearling Heifer (31 entries)
1st Loch Lomond Floss 3rd 708
2nd Loch Lomond Janet 3rd 710

Pair of Yearlings owned by one Exhibitor (13 entries)
1st Burtergill Anton 709
Burtergill Anton 711
2nd Loch Lomond Floss 3rd 708
Loch Lomond Janet 3rd 710
4th Wainuka Jill 11
Wainuka Milly 10

The 2009 South Devon Cattle Society AGM is to be held in Whangarei during the Herd Tour on Tuesday 17th March.

The proposed itinerary is as follows:

Monday 16th March

Board of Management Meeting

Tuesday 17th March

Visit Pohuenui Stream, Matai, Appian Way Studs and hold AGM.

Wednesday 18th March

Your last opportunity to view the cows and calves and Heifers of the Owairangi and Morscombe Studs and visit the Triben Stud.

Thursday 19th March

Leisure day, fishing trip or cruise to the Poor Knights.
If you go on any of these trips and want to fly out that afternoon
your flights will need to be from 6.30pm onwards.
More details and pricing will be sent out at the end of January/
early February.

For further information contact Kevin McConnell – Phone 09 432 2120



Our journey began on Friday 27th June, arriving in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA in the late evening.

The first day was spent shopping in the ‘Mall of America’ the largest shopping mall in the USA! Taking the train to the Metro Dome to watch the ‘Twins’ baseball game was an experience not to be missed.

The next day saw the arrival of a few Australian and English delegates and we enjoyed the free day rekindling old friendships. We were joined by the World President, Dar Giess for the official start of the tour. On Monday we travelled to Motley for a herd tour and picnic lunch at the Thompson Land & Cattle Company.

Medium framed, commercially run cattle with a black influence were on display. During the afternoon we arrived at the DarLynn Cattle Company owned by the Giess family at Pierz. A tour of the cattle (red & black) and the facilities was enjoyed prior to a BBQ tea and judging competition.

Some very good cattle, including some of the show team were admired by us all. We all adjourned with host families for the night. We were given the opportunity to visit a commercial Turkey Farm, before experiencing more Minnesota hospitality. After meeting up with the bus again, we departed for Popken South Devons and RP Farms at Swanville.

An extensive tour was made of the farm and cattle before lunch, which included ice cream and specially made homemade maple syrup harvested on the farm. Quality cattle and interesting farm history stories were enjoyed by us all.

On the way back to Minneapolis we were given a tour of the Schiefelbein Farms Feedlot. Not a South Devon in sight, all Angus! A large enterprise, run solely by family members now into the third generation. All cattle in the feedlot are breed on the property. Wednesday 2nd July was spent flying to Regina, via Toronto.

On arrival we were greeted by the Canadian President, Teresa Walker, at an official evening reception and welcome to Canada.

Thursday 3rd July our tour began in Regina, Canada. We headed North East of Regina through the prairies to the High Chaparral Ranch. Our hosts were Barry & Gloria Bigalky, who have been breeding South Devon’s since 1982. They are a mixed cropping farm as well as breeding South Devon’s.

In recent times, with the use of an AI programme they are gradually changing to black South Devon’s. This is being done to suit their client’s needs. They had some lovely medium framed cattle which were mainly polled, as they found dehorning inconvenience. After viewing the cattle we had lunch.

The tour group was then split up into 5 groups to do some brain storming on the future direction of South Devon’s. Some very interesting comments came up. After the work shop we travelled by coach to Lumsden and Beaver Creek Ranch for a horse & buffalo display and demonstrations how to lasso a calf in the traditional way.

During a traditional steak tea we were entertained by some local musicians who had us up learning to square dance and how to play the wooden spoons. Friday morning we got on the coach at 8am. Out of the window that day we spotted a wild Coyote. We continued onto Moosomin for lunch at the Mazer Group - New Holland Dealer, where we were informed about industry trends e.g. the larger ones are taking over the smaller ones

. We then travelled onto Furze South Devon Farm owned by Teresa Walker and also Jean Christie-Webb of Heritage South Devon’s from Manitoba. There were some nice feminine females with calves. After viewing the cattle there was a lasso competition among the tour group with a lot of laughter had by all.

Saturday we left Weyburn and on to visit Rockglen Farm owned by Calvin & Liz Kirby and family. They had mainly Black South Devon’s and a few red ones which were all outstanding cattle. After seeing the cattle we walked over paddocks and looked at a beaver pond that is on his property. After lunch at the local church hall we drove over the ranch of Gary Jones at Wood Mountain who has a cow herd of 3500 cows with most of them having a South Devon influence.

We then visited a museum of the local history of how the area was settled. Up early on Sunday morning we headed to Bonnyville, 661 km of flat long straight roads that went on forever with crops of every kind but very few animals to be seen. We arrived at Bonnyville and had tea at the local hotel and were officially welcomed by the mayor.

Monday morning we had a pancake breakfast at Lakeland Ag Research Centre where we were briefed on new developments and trials e.g. leaving the cut grass in rows to feed the cattle in the winter with electric fences in place. With the ground being frozen in the winter they have to use a Black & Decker drill to insert the electric fence stakes into the ground. Being at the 55 parallel their summer is a 92-93 day growing season from start to finish.

On the coach again we travelled to Devon Oil which is an Oil processing facility where the oil is semi processed before going to the refinery with all the oil being piped straight to the USA.

After a Ukrainian lunch, the tour continued to the Sampson McGregor Stock Farm of Ralph & Betty McGregor to view their herd of over 100 head of South Devon’s. We viewed them while they were mobile, but they did look good animals. The soil and grass grown there reminded me of home. Ralph has a pond on his property with fish in it for catch and release, where most of our group had a go with some success. When everyone was all fished out we continued on to Cold Lake for a fish fry dinner.

The ladies were excited to see a Royal Canadian Mounty who was prepared to get his photo taken with them. Tuesday we headed off to Edmonton, Alberta. We had lunch and a shop at the Edmonton Mall, it being the largest Mall and entertainment centre in the world. Having 820 shops, 20,000 car parks, a 5 acre swimming pool complex and 27,000 people work there. After that we went on an inner city bus trip around Edmonton city.

Wednesday we travelled to Ponoka to Vold Livestock Auction where they sell 1100 -1500 cattle once a week. They have two separate selling rings, with prices ranging from 90cents-$100 per pound for store cattle. It was very interesting to watch with horses bringing the cattle into the weighing scales and then taken away by the horses.

We then went to a dairy farm with 170 cows that they milked 3 times a day. They produce 12,000 litres per cow annually and are paid 42 euros per litre. The cows are fully housed all year round. After the dairy farm we headed to a bull testing facility at Olds College, 1300 students attend, then onto a Bison ranch.

Thursday morning we headed to the Royal Tyrell Museum where we were shown the history of the dinosaur era. In the afternoon we went to a feedlot and genetic testing centre and were informed that feedlot placements were expected to be down 6% or 2,000,000 which will lead to a predicted beef shortage in the USA. Friday morning we headed to the Calgary Stampede to see cattle judging.

We were then officially welcomed at the International Centre and viewed exhibits before going to the Rodeo in the afternoon. They put on an entertaining afternoon. In the evening we watched the Chuck Wagon races followed by excellent entertainment and an incredible fireworks display. Saturday morning we visited the Calgary Tower and then onto Calgary Heritage Park which featured historic buildings and a steam train.

They also gave us a tour, outlining the first pioneer agriculture enterprises in Alberta. Conference delegates attended the Conference while others visited Banff & Lake Louise. There were a lot of wild Deer wandering on the roads and we saw a lot of gophers (regarded as pests), who burrow holes in the ground and are not good for cattle & horses (tripping in their holes).

Tuesday we left and headed to British Columbia, calling in at Emerald Lake. From the coach window that day we spotted a grizzly bear on a railway line. We continued on to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and Gondola, which we went up and had lunch at the Eagles Eye restaurant at the top.

A terrific view at 4133 ft, Canada’s 2nd highest vertical, the air was very cool. We came back down on the gondola and went up the chairlift to the bear enclosure.

‘Boo’ gave us an awesome display by comin gright up to the fence where we got a real close up look at him. We then travelled onto Revelstoke and stayed at Three Valley Lake. It was an historic village including a train and automobile collection, the scenery was beautiful with some of our tour party taking a helicopter ride.

Wednesday we went to an apple orchard and had lunch before being shown around the orchard. Then onto Armstrong to Scotchland’s Ranch owned by Jock & Kim McArthur, where they had very good cattle too. They put on a great night for us starting with a meal and a gentleman singing and playing his guitar throughout the evening. We were also entertained with a wood chopping demonstration.

Thursday we departed for Vancouver travelling through the Coquihalla Pass heading down 28 kms at 8%, a few of the coach travellers were perched at the ends of their seats. At the bottom we arrived at a little town called Hope and then carried onto Minter Gardens. We had a lovely lunch and then walked around the beautiful gardens.

Then continued onto Vancouver where we went up Grouse Mountain on the Sky Ride Gondola (which held up to 100 people). We had a meal there and took in the incredible view. Friday 18th July we went on a bus around the city taking in the sites e.g. Lions Gate Bridge, totem poles and Stanley Park where a lot of the trees had been damaged by a storm that had gone through earlier in the year.

After lunch we headed to the airport and headed for home. Although a bit on the tired side we had a very enjoyable tour. PS: The one thing we learnt while on tour, apart from meeting some wonderful people, was we as protein producers of the world are all struggling because the ones who need it cannot afford to pay for it.

By Brian & Ann Thomson The 8th World South Devon Congress will be held in 2011, hosted by The South Devon Cattle Society of Australia. Planning has already started for this and dates will be advised to Members as soon as details are confirmed.