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South Devon Newsletter, Dec 2015, issue 59

Contents of this issue:

  1. President's Message
  2. SJ Bradley - Thank You Sympathy and Support
  3. Show results from Christchurch
  4. FBNZ 2016 Hoof & Hook event dates
  5. Tru-Test Beef Expo dates

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It is with much sadness that I write my President’s Message knowing that one of the breed’s stalwarts, Stewart Bradley, will not be reading it. Stewart passed away very unexpectedly in October. I would again like to extend my condolences to Gail and the family.
The weather seems to be the first thing to be discussed when you speak to a farmer at the moment and that is understandable with El Nino currently doing its worst around the country.
In my professional role I have a lot of discussions with a number of people from all walks of life and funnily enough not all of them are pleasant, this in no way bothers me. However what has bothered me lately is reoccurring conversations with several inter island stock truck drivers who have commented on the lack of docility in South Devon cattle.
The South Devon breed is world renowned for its docile nature and it is one of our major points of difference when a farmer selects a bull. Depending on which study you read temperament is a moderate to highly heritable trait and all farmers are acutely aware of the adverse effects of unruly animals on production, staff safety and animal welfare. I would expect an animal’s temperament to be a major selection criterion in any members breeding programme. Let’s just say I am hoping these drivers have been carting culls to slaughter or even better, have confused their breeds!
While discussing heritable traits, John Hickford and John Bates of Lincoln University are currently conducting research into polling in cattle. They have been provided blood samples from two South Devon cow herds and I anticipate the Board will be able to provide some feedback on progress later in the New Year.
In December Peter Foss retires from his position as “combined breeds representative” on the Board of Performance Beef Breeders and will be replaced by Jim Syme of Shorthorn. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Peter for his outstanding work and dedication. While he is a South Devon Breeder, in his role at PBB he worked tirelessly for the betterment of the whole beef and seedstock industry and his personality and input will certainly be missed around the office.
I would like to congratulate members around the country for their various successes at local and national shows and events. It is encouraging to see some first time exhibitors participating and some member’s children competing in Young Handler’s classes. While showing is a huge commitment and expense, for at times little reward, do not underestimate the value which that exposure has in lifting your own stud and the South Devon breed profile.
Recently at the Canterbury A&P Show South Devon exhibitors were invited to provide animals for all three age groups of junior judges, all three age groups of junior handlers, which included visiting Australian handlers. We were also asked to provide stock for the Young Auctioneer Competition which gained national media attention and excellent publicity for the breed.
It is proposed that the 2016 AGM and Breed Dinner will be held on Monday the 16th of May 2016 in the Manawatu in conjunction with Tru-Test Beef Expo 2016. It is the Board’s desire to have as many members as possible in Feilding to support the Queen of Hearts Heifer Sale and South Devon Genetic Sale on the Tuesday. This will be confirmed when the Beef Expo programme is known.
Tru-Test Beef Expo 2016 is already shaping up to be a very exciting event with a new major sponsor committing to the event. As breeders let’s support this event and showcase our breed with quality entries and a strong purchaser’s bench at the respective auctions.
Finally I would like to wish each of you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a safe Festive Season.
“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out “ - Robert Collier

Kind regards,
Richard van Asch