Northumbria: Winter Meetings 2007/8

Winter Meetings 2008


Our winter series of meetings started in October with a visit to the club by Mr. Tom Richardson of Wheelbirks Farm, Stocksfield. Tom, with his brother Hugh, owns a herd of Jersey cattle along side a very successful ice-cream business and tree management enterprise. His presentation was entitled “Farming and the Need to Diversify to exist in the 21st Century”. This was a most interesting talk with Tom not just explaining their current and future plans for their enterprises, but going right back to the beginning and explaining just how his family got started at Wheelbirks. One of the most interesting aspects of the meeting was the old diaries that Tom brought with him, which had been kept for many years detailing all the activities carried out on the farm over the last few generations. A short glimpse of these transported the reader back many years, thanks to the sheer detail in them. How many of us today are keeping diaries for the future generations to read and learn from? The meeting was closed with a light supper!


Our ever popular quiz was held in November and as usual it was well attended. Graham Bradley, once again, was quiz master and took great delight in seeing all teams struggle and scratch out heads in turn. Its nights like this that surprise you at what you do know and scares you at what you don’t! Many thanks go to Graham who puts in much time in compiling the quiz and tries to ensure that cheating is kept to a minimum!


In January the club held its AGM and presentation of prizes for the clubs’ annual herd competition. Club business in the AGM saw Thomas Tiffin become Chairman, replacing David Barbour, who is staying on the committee. Stephen Ball is Vice-chairman and David Clarke is also welcomed back onto the committee. Once the club business was concluded it was time for the presentation of prizes by Bernard Liddle (Dalesend), who judged the herd competition back in December.

The results were as follows;


Large herds, 1, E.Moffitt & Son (Hunday) 2, Newheaton Holsteins (Newheaton) 3, D.M.Sutherland (Ellenneff)

Small herds, 1, J.P.Hall (Ashpetall); 2, A.W.Dixon (Alon); 3, G. & D W.J Clark (Fleetshot)

Progeny group, 1, E.Moffitt&Son, Roylane Jordan; 2, J.P Hall,Roylane Jordan;  3,Newheaton Holsteins , Etazon Lord Lily

Cow on inspection, 1, E.Moffitt & Son Hunday Coni Toni; 2, S Ball Chloanne Webster Gracious, 3, Newheaton Holsteins Newheaton Leadman Dido

Supercow, Sara and Andrew Oliver, Aldingham Morty Ghost

Heifer on production and inspection,1,Newheaton Holsteins, NewheatonPrincipal Becky; 2, E.Moffitt & Son, HundayAllen Priscilla;3, G.& H. Bradley, Langpark Morty Impala

Heifer on inspection,1,E.Moffitt & Son ,Hunday River Atilda;2, S Ball, Frankham Sept Storm Ethel ;3,Newheaton Holsteins , Newheaton Cello Cleo

Cow family, 1, S Ball, Gracious family; 2, Newheaton Holsteins, Cleo family; 3, G. & H. Bradley, Impala family

Mature Cow, 1, E.Moffitt&Son, Ansa Basar Linda; 2, Newheaton Holsteins, Newheaton Sunnyboy Becky; 3, G. & H. Bradley, Langpark Pre Fiorentia

Top herd on production,E. Moffitt & Son (Hunday)

Most improved herd, A. W. Dixon (Alon);

Top herd on inspection, E. Moffitt & Son (Hunday)

Herd person of the year, Stephen Ball


Chairman’s Shield to HYB Member, Matthew Bradley


Following the presentation, Bernard gave a most interesting and entertaining talk and slide show which covered all topics from Dalesend Farm, the cow families, his observations in the garden and there was even a picture of the Journals very own Sarah Liddle in her much earlier years! Many thanks go to Bernard for finding the time to judge our herd competition and for returning to present the awards. A supper followed which was kindly sponsored by Hadrian Farm Services.


Mr. Stephen Brown of Hopper House Farm, Sedgefield gave an interesting and humorous talk about how he is milking 130 cows through two robotic milkers when he came to talk to the club in February. This was not so much a plug for any particular robotic milking manufacturer, more an open and honest presentation of the pro’s and con’s, highs and low’s of such an outfit and how he and his herd have adapted to the robotic way of life. Certainly, sitting listening to Stephen giving his presentation and thinking of my 3.30am start the next morning, I could easily be persuaded of the merit of a robot. Many thanks go to Stephen and also Roger Scott & Associates who sponsored the supper.


Our final meeting saw Philip Metcalf of Metcalf Farms, Leyburn came to talk to the club about their varied enterprises which include a 550 cow herd of Holsteins as well an extensive contracting business, a heavy haulage business and they are also part of a consortium with a large scale arable farm in Russia. It was impressive to hear of the sheer scale of these operations. A slide show demonstrated just what Metcalf Farms is all about and the cows and cow families that they are working with are a real credit to them. The talk finished with a question and answer session, during which it was apparent that Metcalf Farms have seized opportunities for diversification and these opportunities have expanded over time while still complementing one another. The evening’s supper was sponsored by Farmway