The Royal Smithfield Festival staged at Peterborough in December 2014 was dominated by Northern Irish exhibitors who laid claim to the two major Championships up for grabs. This is the first time in its 200 year history that local exhibitors have won the Supreme and Baby Beef Championships
Throughout its long and distinguished history the maintenance and improvement of livestock quality has been the main objective of the Royal Smithfield Club and it has been instrumental in encouraging breeders and farmers to produce animals of the highest possible standard.
For the dedicated showmen right across the British Isles, Smithfield has always been the “one to win” with the lure of such a presitigous title and strong returns in the sale ring. With the history and prestige in mind it was a nerve wrecking day for all involved but in the end the 2014 Supreme Championship was awarded to Dermot and Gareth Small, Kilkeel for their simply outstanding heifer “Khaleesi”. This Limousin heifer was bred by us here at the Jalex Herd and is sired by our stock bull Swarland Eddie. She has enjoyed a memorable show season notching up Overall titles at the Summer Spectacular in August, and most recently the Agri Expo in Carlisle just a few weeks ago.
She was a popular winner on the day with the Small family overwhelmed by the messages of support since the show. Gareth added “We are blown away by how well Khaleesi has done, and to win Smithfield is like a dream come true for us. We have spent over 20 years showing commercials, all in the hope of hitting the big time at Smithfield. We would like to sincerely thank all those involved in helping us with the heifer, and to Stephanie Dick who showed Khaleesi to perfection.”
Khaleesi later went on to sell for £9000 to Robert and Mark McGivern, who hope to show her in the 2015 season.
Leading the way in the Baby Beef section was Robert Miller, Moneymore who picked up the Supreme award here with his British Blue sired heifer “Dashing Lady”. She was brought out by youngster Luke Wilkinson who has done such a great job of handling this calf all summer. Bred by the Oliver McGowan, this exciting prospect has also notched up wins at the English Winter Fair, and Reserve at Agri Expo. The aim now is to bring Dashing Lady out next season starting with Balmoral in May.
The steer Championship was won by James Nesbitt with his Carmorn Cantona sired entry. This animal also has links to NI having been bred by William McAllister, Ballymena
“Khaleesi”, an August ’13 born heifer took the honours at the 8th Borderway Ari-Expo event this past weekend (31st Oct 2014). This tremendous daughter of our very own Swarland Eddie has enjoyed a remarkable year notching up Reserve Champion at Balmoral and Baby Beef Champion at Beef Expo in May, and also Supreme Champion at the Summer Spectacular in August – but last weekends win is her biggest to date as she romped to success in front of a huge crowd.
“Khaleesi” was purchased privately from our herd by Dermot, Gareth and Marc Small, who made the trip to Carlisle with the heifer and were delighted with the Supreme Championship. On the day she tipped the scales at 570 kilos and was shown to perfection by Stephanie Dick.
Congratulations also to another Northern Ireland exhibitor Robert Miller, Moneymore who picked up the title of Reserve Baby Beef Champion. This was for his super heifer “Dashing Lady” who was brought out by youngster Luke Wilkinson. The sire behind this entry is the British Blue Dafydd O Chain.
The Agri Expo show case attracts in excess of 12,000 visitors each year and is considered by many as the leading event for commercial cattle in the UK. With over 250 entries it is a huge accolade for us to feature so highly in the Championships.
Wespit Limousins secure new herd sire in NI
Jim & Andrew Gammie, Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire have announced details of the purchase of a new junior stock sire for their noted Westpit herd.
“Jalex Itsallgood” first caught the attention of the Gammie duo when photos were released after a highly successful Balmoral Show for breeder James Alexander, Randalstown. This May 2013 born son of Swarland Eddie next headed to the Highland Show where he was tapped out as Reserve Junior Male Champion under judge Ian Callion. Andrew Gammie explained the reasons behind their most recent purchase “We spotted this bull on line following Balmoral and had a look at his pedigree to suit if it would suit our females. His sire Swarland Eddie has been breeding tremendously well across a number of herds and offers a new bloodline for our herd. This young bull has a great top, tremendous square plates and is a naturally fleshy type. In addition he has super breed character which is also important to us.”
This is the first pedigree son of Swarland Eddie that breeder James Alexander has offered for sale. James added “Our Eddie calves to date have blown us away with their consistency. We purchased him for 10,000 guineas in Carlisle which was a substantial investment for our Jalex enterprise comprising primarily of commercial cattle with a handful of pedigrees run alongside. To date we have sold commercial daughters to £5000”.
Afterthe success of our BBQ Barn Dance last June we have decided to go again.
Last years event raised £17,500 for Protate Cance UK, this year we are supporting Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Jalex Fest will take place on the 28th June from 7pm at our premises – 88 Gloverstown rd, Randalstown, Co. Antrim, BT41 3HY.
The BBQ wil be catered- the same as last year by Mcmasters Caterers, Whitehead.
Entertainment will be by the hugely popular Contry Singer Johnny Brady.
We hope to make this a bigger and better success than last years event and hope that you all come along for the night.
We are currently looking for help in the way of sponsorships and /or donations for the auction to be held on the night.
For any info call me (james) on 07816775501
Since our calving system “Medria’s Vel Phone” was been featured on UTVs Rare Breed and BBC’s Farm Gate on BBC Radio Ulster we have had many people asking about it.
We are having an on farm demonstration of the system on Satyrday the 26th April for people to come and learn about the system and how it works. Further details in due course.
It’s hard to believe we have only been using it since September last year, but from the outset it has proved invaluable and now we would hate to have to do without it!
Vel’ Phone is a sensor system that alerts us when our cows are ready to calve. Quite simply it’s a thermometer inserted into the cow’s vagina that takes regular temperature readings (every minute) and using this data can accurately predict when a cow is approaching calving. We get two alerts, the first an “expected calving in 48 hours” – this is triggered by a minute spike in temperature, and the second when the thermometer is ejected, meaning calving follows within the next 24-48 hours.
Having this system has meant autumn calving was a simpler with less unnecessary checking throughout the night and no calves missed calving that needed assistance, and we are looking forward to our heavy spring calving with much less trepidation than in previous years! We will be calving 330 cows in the next few months but at least this year there is some prospect of a little sleep.
I’m happy to talk to anyone about the system if you want a bit more information on how it works and where to get it. Please call me (James) on 07816 775501.
Rare Breed UTV
Throughout 2013 we were followed by a camera crew filming the 2nd series of Rare Breed for UTV.
Rare Breed is a 12 part series, each weekly show covering consecutive months of the year.
The show starts to air on Monday 13th January 2014 at 8pm though we are not featured until week three as there wasn’t much happening on farm to film in January and February!
This has been a very enjoyable and interesting experience from start to finish, we have been filmed doing several jobs throughout the year, loading a batch of cattle being shipped to Italy, flushing some of our brood cows, and doing a bit of showing at Balmoral Show in May.
Ours is a family run farm, keeping a large herd of suckler beef cows. We’re hoping that the show will give a good idea of what we are about and show the quality of our cattle.
Breeding the type of cattle that we are after is an expensive job, we have invested a lot of money into bulls for the herd. You will see quite a few calves on screen from these bulls such as Swarland Eddie- we have semen available from a good few of the stock bulls, give us a call or drop us an email if you would be interested in some.
07816775501 (James) or drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org