Centre West Club report 2007


by Peter Burgess

It was with a mixture of surprise and shock that I found myself Chairman of the Centre West Simmental Club at the AGM held after the calf show at Cirencester market, the last weekend in September.

I would first like to thank on behalf of the members, Judith Cockerill for the work and commitment she gave to the club during the six years she held this post.

Our year started as usual with a well attended Christmas meal at the March Hare, Broughton Hackett. Good food, good company and a marathon raffle ensured the evening passed enjoyably and very quickly.

In February a skittles evening, very ably organized by David Bell, was held in conjunction with the Midland Club. The finely tuned athletes gathered at the Rose Inn, Baxterley and after a fiercely contested competition sat down together to enjoy a very welcome meal. It’s always good to share evenings with other clubs giving members a chance to catch up with fellow breeders.

March saw our Annual Dinner held at the Kings Head, Worcester, again well attended and with a bumper meal! Guest speaker was Vet Jack Waters from Solihull who entertained the diners with a mixture of amusing anecdotes and views of the veterinary profession. One of these was his concern at the lack of students willing to take on large animal medicine. Something certain to cause a shortage of farm vets in the very near future.

Yearling heifers at Springhill Estates

Beginning of May and a farm walk, by kind permission of Capt. Hannay, around Springhill Estates, Moreton-in-the-Marsh. Our thanks especially go to Ros Allen for all her efforts in making this event such a success. Around sixty people clambered aboard trailers, on a beautiful spring day, to be shown around the 180 cow suckler herd on this 2000 acre Cotswold Estate. Simmental and Angus bulls are used breeding heifer replacements, with the remainder being sold as yearling stores. The cattle enterprise is a prime example of the value of Simmentals in a commercial situation, with traits such as milkiness in the females, growth rates, temperament and the fast improving conformation of the breed being very evident. The cattle, sheep and whole Estate are a credit to Ros and her staff. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Schering Plough and in particular Dave Meakin, for their generous sponsorship of this event.

A week later the Club held a small bull sale at Cirencester market with the top price of £2800 being paid for a Sterling bull from Boddington Estates.

One of our local shows, Kenilworth, went ahead in glorious weather at the beginning of June. A good turnout of cattle with the Champion being shown by Roger and Steph Birch. Unfortunately Roger missed his moment of glory as he was in Warwick hospital having his finger stitched back together after a slight mis-hap!

I don’t need to remind everybody of the disruption caused to events later in the year, however we did manage to hold our herd competition in early September. Judge this year was Robert Fitton who travelled down from Lancashire to spend three days in our area. Due to the cancellation of our calf show Robert has kindly agreed to present the prizes at our Christmas meal. Another epic journey for you Robert! Many thanks to Robert for taking the time and making the effort to complete the task with such a positive attitude.

Due to the ongoing problems we have not yet held our AGM, but I would like to thank the committee and all the members alike for supporting the Club during the past year. Special thanks go to Secretary Sam Evans for keeping me on the straight and narrow!

Simmental cattle are still very underrated by many people but I believe with continued improvement and by focusing on the commercial market the breed has a huge future.

Herd Competition results are as follows:

Large Herd John Rixon (Lopemede)

Medium Herd Peter Burgess (Tilbrook)

Small Herd James and Belinda Kimber (Beanhill)

Best Suckled Calf 2007 Boddington Estates (Sterling) with Sterling Trumpets Velvet

Best weaned Bull up to 2 years Peter Burgess with Tilbrook Talisman

Best Group of in calf heifers John Rixon (Lopemede)

Best Group of Maiden Heifers Peter Burgess (Tilbrook)