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Exploring Shorthorn Herds: A Journey Through Quality and Tradition

The opportunity to travel overseas also brings the occasion to visit Shorthorn herds I’d otherwise be unable to enjoy. Due to time limitations, I could only select two herds and decided on Glenisla Beef Shorthorns Blairgowrie, Glenisla Scotland Major John Gibb and Family and A&C Shorthorns Oakham, Langham England, Andre Vrona and Family. I was extremely blessed that during their busy calving season, both herds were most welcoming and allowed me as much time as I required to admire their beautiful herds.


On March 12, 2024, I had the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful cow herds, which resulted in a lifetime of the Gibb family's combined effort to produce sound and functional cattle.  The expectation of the herd was high, creating a very hearty and economical female.  I am attaching a video of a group of females walking in to be sorted for calving, words can only go so far, and this video defines the absolute quality of the program, and picking a favourite female was almost impossible!    During my visit, I learned from one of the greatest cattlemen in the world, Catriona, his daughter, who had learned from the best. Listening to those who lived through some significant changes within the breed is ultimately how we can move forward without repeating mistakes from the past.   My favourite yearling bull I’ve seen this spring (including in Canada) was Glenisla Tennessee sired by Glenisla Mississippi born in 1995. Some of the females  I admired most were Glenisla Sally Broadhooks M340, Glenisla Foxglove Flake N466, Glenisla Foxglove Flake L254, and Glenisla Eva Broadhooks M370. The video is a group of Glenisla females moving to the calving area.


On March 17, 2024, we visited A&C Farms, which proved to be a program with a vision and a plan for reaching the goals at hand.  Some of the top herds in the UK and Ireland were represented, with influence from Australia and Canada.  Andre showed one of the most impressive herd bull batteries I’ve ever had the opportunity to lay eyes on and some of the best-topped females I’ve ever seen. A program in which I clearly understood the goals and even the following steps as they were explained to me. The consistency of the A&C cow herd is even more impressive, considering the global approach to reaching the ultimate goal.  I found myself strongly favoring Podehole Irene Gracious and her descendants, Langham’s Minnie Mansi and her daughter by Eskechraggan Masterstroke, as well as numerous other Minnies and Dawns, Langham’s Desiree Rose, as well as females sired by Eskechraggan Masterstroke, Langham’s Nevada Buffalo as well as Langham’s Nebraska. 


I wish I had more time to admire Shorthorns on this trip, as there was so much to learn and enjoy. It’s easy to forget that selection is often environmentally driven, with personal type selection being a close second. As breeders, we should always strive for our own ideal and have a clear and concise plan like the two programs above.

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