by Tony Jukes My first year as Chairman of the South East Group was particularly eventful what with the Foot and Mouth outbreak and the atrocious wet weather at most of the Shows. Coming into this year I had hoped that our problems were behind us. Wrong again – the threat of Blue Tongue gathered intensity and we spent the first few months of the year wondering if we would get the vaccine in time for the midge season and of course the Summer Shows. Much to everybody’s relief the vaccine did arrive a week or two early but then the show season was still impaired by the zoning which changed almost weekly! Sadly because of zoning, The Royal Show was not possible for our members and as for the 2008 British summer – I do hope that none of you blinked!!
The year started as usual with our AGM in March when we were treated to a very interesting presentation from Kim Hayward, Chief Executive of the NBA. She discussed the TB threat and the “carbon footprint of the beef industry”. We certainly know how to cheer ourselves up!
Our main Show season started at Herts Show with David and Lesley Sapsed taking the top spot with Heathbrow Treasure. The South of England saw Swallowhill Tallulah as Breed Champion and Rhys Grenham’s bull Boars Head Volcano Breed Male Champion and notably Sainsburys Super Beef Bull Champion as well as Junior Interbreed Champion. Volcano repeated this success at the Kent Show taking Breed Champion and the Interbreed Super bull. At the New Forest Show, Lorraine and Steve Blomfield won Breed Champion with Sway Hazelnut and they also took the Interbreed Pairs. At Edenbridge and Oxted (this Show seems to go from strength to strength) top honours went to the Sterling Herd. I would like to mention the Calf show at Edenbridge which is a section we are keen to promote. This year our winner came from the Borlase family with their heifer calf Perrywood Wispa.
Whilst as I mentioned earlier our members were unable to exhibit their cattle at the Royal Show, our Club were still represented by our young members and congratulations go to Luke Blomfield who won for the under 21’s. Emma Ogden was overall winner for her reasons and Emma and Luke Blomfield won the under 21 team competition. Very well done to you all and thank you for your efforts on behalf of the Club.
| Herd Competition 2008
Judged by Lynda Burditt
Revelex Cup - Champion Herd C.H.Carter
Best Bull or Heifer born 2008 Boars Head Grace 3rd R. Grenham Sire - Dovefields Gallant. Dam - Boars Head Grace.
Dam and One Progeny Dam - Brigstock Blende’s Clinton B.S.Shrive Calf - Brigstock Wanda - Sire. Curlieu Lenox.
David Barker Award Knowledge and enthusiasm of the breed S.Key
Large Herds 1st C.H. Carter 2nd J. Key 3rd D & L Sapsed
Medium Herds 1st B.S.Shrive 2nd M.Hind
Small Herds 1st R. Grenham 2nd A & A Jukes
Merian Jones Award- Best Young Stock D & L Sapsed
The Herd Competition this year was very kindly judged by Lynda Burditt and our thanks go to her for giving us her time and expertise. Many congratulations to Mike and Janet Jones whose Beeches Herd were Champion Herd for the second year running.
The World Congress was of course the big event of the 2008 year. There were two herd visits in the South East and both of which were a tremendous success. All credit to Judy, Paull, Bridget and William Borlase for the first visit and marvellous lunch for so many. Also congratulations to David and Lesley Sapsed for the afternoon visit and delicious cream tea. The outstanding quality and turnout of all the cattle on this day were an absolute credit to the Borlase and Sapsed families and a fantastic representation of the breed by the Sacombe and Heathbrow herds. Many thanks also to all those Club members and helpers who gave their help and support to make the day such a success.
The Young Handlers Competition that was held at the World Congress Day was quite an achievement for our representatives and it was very well done by Emma Blomfield who took first prize for individual under 21. Also team under 21 was won by Emma Blomfield and Oscar Woolgar. Congratulations to you both and to all the other young handlers who took part.
Due to the Bluetongue problem and the preparation of the World Congress, it was only possible for one Herd Visit this year. Fortunately it was one not to be missed – Hugo Arnold’s Hockenhull Herd. It was a very memorable day and we were privileged to see a truly great herd of Simmentals. We were later spoiled by Geraldine with fantastic food. As we know, Hugo is formally retiring and selling his herd in 2009. On behalf of the South East Group, I would like to thank Hugo and Geraldine for their wonderful hospitality and wish them every success with their sale and our very best wishes for the future. Hockenhull is a “household name” in the Simmental world and the breeding will carry on for many years to come. Well done Hugo!!
Earlier in the year we finally managed to get our South East Group website up and running. Use of this site to date has been a little disappointing but hopefully during the winter months our members will find the time to develop their respective sites.
We came into 2008 with some trepidation with Blue Tongue, World Congress arrangements etc., but overall I think we have got through it pretty well!! As I write this report it seems to me that aside from the global financial meltdown, we Simmental breeders might have a fair run at 2009. All the best.