The British Blonde Society open day saw droves of people from near and far descend on Bristol to take part in what was a very educational and informative event held at the Doncombe herd of David & Sue Knight.
The day kicked off with a talk from local vet, Dewi Jones who emphasised the importance of herd health, covering a range of topics from fertility to dosing at turn out.
Our next session was given by Richard Bartle, who demonstrated the various techniques that can be used to enhance your animal’s appearance. During the demonstration not a hair was left unturned as he combed and clipped the Doncombe heifer to perfection, to achieve that flawless show ring finish. Bart also emphasised how important the appearance of the handler is in the show ring.
We then broke for lunch, and as you would expect on the menu was succulent Blonde Beef produced by the Doncombe herd. With the blondes superior killing out percentage, it was guaranteed that no one would be going home hungry. Compliments must go to the chefs for their excellent work. A selection of local made cakes were also available and for those who wanted to cool off in the afternoon, the local ice cream van really did go down a treat.
The afternoon session kicked off with a talk by Laura Masters of AHDB Beef & Lamb who talked everyone through the added value of using a British Blonde within your herd. On hand she had a real cow which had been painted to highlight where the various cuts of beef are located in an animal. This clearly identified that the Blonde breed’s superior killing out percentage means its carcass growth rates compares favourably with any of the other major beef breeds.
She said: “British Blonde cattle can be very well suited to commercial beef production, however it’s important to market your stock correctly, and understand customer requirements in order to maximise your returns.”
British Blonde Cattle Society Chairman William McElroy added: “Laura’s presentation was an excellent demonstration of the Blonde breed’s outstanding conformation and their ability to produce good quality carcasses that contain more meat, meaning a higher meat to bone ratio.”
The afternoon also provided an opportunity for everyone to put everything they had learnt into action by participating in an open Stock judging competition, with Master Judge Richard Bartle explaining what to look for in an animal when judging. This section was won by new breeder Sophie Malcomson aged thirteen from Northern Ireland who got every class correct and won a Family Pass for the Royal Ulster Balmoral Show.
There was also an opportunity to guess the combined weight of a cow and calf which was won by Mark Jackson, from Studley. In the ‘Name the calf’ competition, Ottie was picked out as the winning name, which was named by Louis Bagg, and for his efforts he picked up a family pass for the Royal Bath and West show.
There was a number of trade stands on show including Natural Stockcare, ForFarmers, Spy Camera CCTV, Moo Call, Lockyer Agri Services, Showtime. Farm Wardrobe were also present and they were promoting the societies new clothing and promotional range.
The day was rounded off with a special thank-you to everyone who had made the day possible, and also to outgoing president Hilary Jones. A charity Raffle also took place raising over £200 for RABI, the chosen charity of the host Sue knight.
William McElroy added: “The day was everything we expected and more, and we were very pleased that we received excellent attendance from right across the UK. “The cattle on show were a real credit to David and Sue and I must say a huge thank-you to everyone who helped out or supported the event in any way.”
Highlights from the event were aired on the Welsh farming programme Ffermio. It was broadcasted on the Welsh TV channel S4C on Monday 2nd April 2018 at 21.30 but you can still view the programme on BBC I-Player.