Thursday, July 13, 2017

Calgary Bull Sale Trophies

This Thursday we have to give a big shout out to the Calgary Stampede and their generous donation of these fantastic Calgary Bull Sale trophies! With recipients dating back as far as 1952, these trophies are a unique and engaging way to take a peek back in time at the breeders that have defined Angus as we know it today.

The Sir William Rootes Cup for the Grand Champion Aberdeen Angus Bull was donated by Sir William Rootes of Stype Farms in Glenalmond, Perthsire, Scotland. The silver cup has been used to commemorate the top Angus bull since 1957, when Flint & Flint of New Norway, Alberta, took it home for the first time.
Sir William Rootes Cup

To the Reserve Grand Champion Bull goes the Bank of Nova Scotia Trophy, which has been awarded since 1978 when it first went to the Mackenzie Brothers of Mountain View, Alberta. Since then Gavin and Mabel Hamilton of Belvin Angus have won it four times.
Bank of Nova Scotia Trophy

The Alberta Aberdeen Angus Association trophy for Best Pair of Aberdeen Angus Bulls is presented to the exhibitor who has both bred and presented two of their cattle at the annual Calgary Bull Sale. The trophy features numerous breeders and farms, dating back to 1952 with Roy Ballhorn and followed by Old Hermitage Farm who won it two years in a row in 1953 and 1954.
Alberta Angus Best Pair Trophy

The Alberta Aberdeen Angus Association has been presenting this trophy for Best Group of Three Bulls at the Calgary Bull Sale since 1952, when, like the trophy for Best Angus Pair, Roy Ballhorn took the win. The following year saw the award go to Flint & Flint, with Old Hermitage Farm winning the year after. The last time it was awarded in 2013, Lorenz Angus Farms of Markerville, Alberta took home the honour.
Alberta Angus Best Three Bulls
In tribute to Jack and Lillian McBride, the Best Group of Five Bulls from One Breeding Unit trophy is a large-scale wall plaque that was first awarded in 1998 to Cudlobe Angus of Stavely, Alberta. The previous year,  Jack and Lillian were fortunate enough to celebrate their 70th anniversary, Lillian having married Jack at the age of 17 before moving to Alberta where they started a purebred Black Angus herd. Jack passed away in 2001, while Lillian lived until 2013 before passing at the age of 102.
Jack and Lilian McBride
In honour of the permanent home and new building of the 1984 Atlantic Winter Fair, this silver platter was created in honour of Don and Betty Oland of Hosmer Farms in Kings County, Woodville, Ontario. Don Oland has been an important part of the agricultural landscape in Canada, having founded the Atlantic Winter Fair in 1963 and owning his own herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle, which he bought with his wife Betty in 1969. The platter has been presented to the winner of the Best Angus Breeder’s Herd since 1984, when the Pyne Brothers of Truro were the first to receive it. It was last presented in 2014 to Wheatley River Farm. 
Don and Betty Oland

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

WAF Youth Team Last Day in Scotland

Our last day in Scotland completely flew by yesterday. We started off by heading back to Netherton Angus where we competed in Showmanship heats. There were four classes that each ran approximately 45 minutes and followed a British model of Showmanship. The Canadian teams did exceptionally well with the most representatives from any country in the final. We are very proud of Michaela Chalmers for winning Reserve Champion Showman! Afterwards we took a small break before fitting both our heifers to present them to the adult delegates of the WAF. Each team explained on the mic what they liked about their heifers and how that influenced the way we clipped and fit our animals. The fitting results were announced with Team Canada Aspire placing 1st, Team Canada Courage placing 2nd and Katie Wright winning top overall individual. We let our heifers go and quickly got ready for the final banquet dinner. We couldn't  have been happier when awards were announced and presented to our fellow teams--1st New Zealand Toa, 2nd New Zealand Kaha, 3rd Team Canada Believe and Australia Red. Additionally our very own Travis Hunter won the top individual of the competition! We spent the rest of the evening enjoying great food, dancing and each other's company. It was bittersweet spending our last evening together and our 4:00 am bus ride to the airport came too soon, but after some tearful goodbyes we were all looking forward to coming home.
Truly the World Angus Forum Youth Competition has been the experience of a lifetime. None of us really knew what to expect when we first arrived but the trip exceeded all of our expectations. We are so thankful for the lovely hospitality Scotland and the WAF coordinators showed us over the past two weeks. So many great friendships were made with people around the world in addition to many incredible memories that will last a lifetime. We would like to thank the Canadian Angus Foundation and Belinda Wagner for making our trip possible as well as WAF organizers and our chaperone Gayle Bersey. The last two weeks were jam-packed with activities but we wouldn't have had it any other way!

WAF Youth Team Update July 1

Thursday morning started bright and early with a three and a half hour bus ride to Aveimore. The youth teams took full advantage of the extra time to sleep on the bus and be fully rested for the day. Once we arrived at Ballindoch Castles we were able to look at the gardens, river walk, distillerie and of course the castle and Angus cattle. The estate was beautifully maintained and despite the rain we had a great time walking around and exploring. The Angus herd run there contains the oldest Angus genetics in the world. All of their cattle had beautiful front ends and resembled the cattle we have at home much more than those we saw in the show ring. We also had a competition to judge their mature bull’s weight--he weighed 1,486 kg. After we finished the tour we went to the youth hostel and got ready for our last fancy dinner of the Forum. There was great food and lovely dancing planned for us that night. Once we got back to the hostel the delegates had a "slumber party" and watched movies in the common room for the rest of the night.

On Friday we traveled back to Stirling to visit Scotsbeef for the carcass competition portion of our program. Teams were tasked with naming the cuts of meat on a carcass, grading the carcasses of the steers we saw live earlier in the week and butchering a brisket. We also got to take a tour of their whole packing facility and learn a little bit about how Scotsbeef operates on a day-to-day basis.  In the evening we went to Netherton Farms and got to draw for our heifers. All three Canadian teams drew a great pair of heifers to compete with over the next few days. We also had the privilege of looking at some of their yearling bulls and touring their facilities, both of which are fantastic.

On Saturday we headed back to Netherton Farms and were tasked with washing, clipping and fitting both of our heifers for the day. It was really interesting to see how each of the teams clipped and fit their animals differently depending on where they were from. All three of the Canadian teams did a great job clipping their animals and they looked show ready by 4 o'clock. After a long day of clipping and fitting we went out for some well-deserved Chinese food and enjoyed an evening off! We are all certainly looking forward to the Showmanship competition tomorrow and the final banquet of the Forum!

Friday, June 30, 2017

WAF Youth Team Update June 2017

The last four days have been a complete whirlwind for our Canadian teams. On Sunday and Monday we spent our days taking part in the WAF Conference. There were some great speakers and panel discussions covering everything from genomic practices, to nutrition, traceability, rotational grazing and more. Additionally there were many vendors set up for members to talk to and learn about new advancements in technology that will further breeders in our industry.  
Team Aspire

Team Aspire

At the conference our teams also competed in a public speaking competition. We were tasked with creating a ten-minute presentation to answer the question "How do new technologies empower the Aberdeen Angus producer to capitalize on new opportunities?" Each team that presented had a slightly different take on what technologies were most beneficial and overall the exercise raised a lot of interesting discussion points. Our Canadian teams represented us well in the competition with Travis Hunter from Team Canada Believe placing 2nd and Macy Liebreich from Team Canada Aspire placing 3rd in the individual speaking portion. Monday evening we attended the Gala dinner at the National Museum of Scotland. Our Canadian delegates got dressed up and fancy to take part in the formal event. It was a classy evening with delicious food and we had a great time socializing, singing "An Angus for Me" and watching the WAF auction.

Tuesday morning we hopped on a bus and drove to our new location for the much anticipated Agri Olympics. Our first stop was at Borders farm where we learned about the UK grading system and looked at some fat cattle. Teams were tasked with assigning live weights in kilos and an estimated grade to four of the fat steers there. Later this week we will get to see those steers hung up after they are butchered and we will be able to compare what we expected the carcass to look like with what it actually does. Next we drove to Borders agricultural facility where the rest of the team events took place. Teams had to operate various tractors and JCB equipment, navigate through an obstacle course on a quad, catch a group of heifers, build a traditional stone wall out of various rocks, identify the flags of the Forum as well as try to figure out what certain equipment and artifacts from a vet museum were. After a fun afternoon of great competitions, all the teams got together and played a game of soccer to work off some energy.  

Right before dinner we also had the opportunity to act as a handler in a dog agility course. Our border collies were extremely well trained and they made us all look like pros. At dinner we enjoyed a "Taste of Borders" with traditional style food and Highland dancers for entertainment. Two members of each team also had to learn part of a highland dance and perform for the delegates. It was quite entertaining to watch as none of us really knew what we were doing. 

After a long day we were all very happy to jump on the bus and head home!

Wednesday was a day full of farm tours. We started off early in the morning at Graham's dairy and walked through their production site. It was quite impressive to see how all of the milk and butter was sorted and packaged by their machinery. On our way out we got to sample some of their fantastic ice cream which served as a breakfast for most. 

Next we stopped at Cherrybank herd to look at their cattle. This operation manages their cattle from birth to finishing so we got to take a look at some Angus cows and calves, feeder steers and finished steers. We were able to escape the wind for lunch and enjoyed a huge meal consisting of salads, steaks, burgers and lamb kabobs. Lastly we traveled to Fordel to take a look at some purebred Angus cattle. We were able to engage in a debate about the "ideal" Angus cow and what type of selective breeding practices we should be employing. We saw an excellent herd of cattle and drove up and along the Scottish countryside. On the way back from the pastures we drove through a small town which was quite entertaining as we were all seated in hay feeders being pulled by tractors. 
Although it was a busy day all the Canadian teams had a fantastic time and are really looking forward to the rest of the activities!
WAF Team Canada