Longhorn Cattle Society - Blog

Society AGM weekend, 12-13 October 2019

2019 AGM weekend, 12-13 October

The AGM weekend followed a slightly different format than previous years, with both days being hosted by John, Pat and Joe Stanley of the Blackbrook herd, Leicestershire

The Blackbrook Herd was established in 1989, following a desire to set up a beef suckler herd to run concurrently with the then dairy herd. John and Pat had found a family tie with the breed going back over 100 years previously when going through some old farm documents.  Add to this the breed’s enormous appeal, legendary docility, and the fact that it is one of our oldest and purest natives and every box was ticked.  So began the long association with the breed that stole their hearts from the very earliest days.  The Stanleys have always been very selective in their purchases and very ruthless in their culling. The cattle now conform to the type they desire leaving them with consistently good offspring and solid foundations for the next few decades.    

Stock bulls were selected with great care.  Over the years they have brought size, power and strength, together with passing traits to their females of good udders and milking ability.  The Stanleys look for an animal of quality with good locomotion, feet, and overall balance. Suckler dams should be easy care and within the Blackbrook Herd that is essential.

The meat from the Longhorn has won accolades by all of the top Chef’s including Heston Blumenthal, Jock Zonfrillo, and Gregg Wallace. The Blackbrook Herd itself won the title of ‘Best Meat in Britain’ (Country Life) in 2012.

 

 

Blackbrook Longhorns were a familiar sight up and down the country in the showring for a period of 26 years.  During that time they took six National Championships as well as prestigious Interbreed Championships.  The herd has won the Midland Herd Competition for an outstanding total of 18 times.  The herd participates in the Society’s Type Classification Scheme and has the most number of cattle classified EX in one herd.

Over the last few years John & Pat have been concentrating of the export of their genetics to countries across the World – America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France etc.

After gathering for refreshments we had a tour of the cattle which were still out.  They were split into a number of groups with a field of yearling heifers, a field of cows and heifer calves, a field of cows and bull calves and then finally we went to a group of bulling heifers running with stock bull Blackbrook Acer.

 

After the visit we had the formal AGM and the presentation of the annual Society awards, and then in the evening a dinner which included a raffle and charity auction.

In a change from the usual format for the AGM weekend Society members spent a second day at Blackbrook Longhorns, this time to have talks and demonstrations from professionals.  We were very fortunate to have four speakers; Andrew Spicer from NBDC, Clive Davies from Westwood Herefords, David Preece BVSc MRCVS and Rob Howard BVMS, MRCVS.

Andrew is one of the senior classifiers for NBDC who deliver the Longhorn Type Classification Scheme.  He classifies both beef and dairy cattle and has been classifying Longhorns since the beginning so has seen new members come on board and has reclassified quite a few cattle that started off as calved heifers and are now maturing into cows.  Andrew will gave a demonstration of how Type Classification works ‘in the field’ and how the scores animal are given are reached.

Clive will be known to many members as a renowned Hereford breeder, Longhorn panel judge and commentator.  Clive discussed a number of topics, including conformation and how that affects the functionality of breeding cattle.  It was all very interesting stuff!

David is an experienced veterinary surgeon and has a keen interest in advanced breeding techniques to increase herd genetic merit.  David gave a presentation about how to select cattle for embryo transfer in order to both multiply herd numbers and improve quality within the herd

Robert is very familiar with the Blackbrook herd as the Stanleys have used Scarsdale vets for many years for all their veterinary requirements.  Robert gave a presentation about why it is important for members to know the health status of their herd, and what members should do to improve and protect the health of their cattle.
There was also opportunity to see the Blackbrook Gallery with it’s unique collection of naive livestock paintings and a number of  other Longhorn pictures from other members will be on display, bringing together a comprehensive collection of Longhorn cattle depicted in art.

 

After a fabulous hog roast lunch which raised £300 for RABI, members dispersed home.

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