This year’s Royal Three Counties Show is set to host the prestigious beef and dairy Burke trophies for the first time ever. Marie-Claire Kidd catches up with last year’s beef winner.
Winner of the 2014 beef Burke trophy, Dinmore Diamant, will make a welcome return to this year’s Royal Three Counties Show. But the female half of the successful inter-breed pairing, Dinmore Glorious, is close to calving and will not enter.
Last year, Limousin cow Dinmore Glorious lived up to her name, taking the supreme individual top placing for the second year running. This year, Dinmore herd owner Paul Dawes, herd manager Richard Bartle and Mr Bartle’s fiancee Mary Cormack have high hopes for Trueman Grazia.
A recent acquisition from Holland, she is the mother of the world record-priced Limousin bull Trueman Jagger, which fetched £147,000 at Carlisle last October.
The Dawes family has its sights on another big win at the local show. Its 60-cow herd of pedigree Limousin cattle, based at the Dinmore Manor Estate, Herefordshire, has won Malvern’s keenly contested inter-breed beef championship for the last two years. In 2014, the Dinmore herd entered eight shows and came out with eight champions, seven reserves and seven inter-breed champions.
Mr Bartle says: “That was with five different cattle, but most will achieve it with one. It shows you have got strength in depth. It is like putting a squad of football players into Europe.”
This year, Mr Bartle has a team of 10 cattle to choose from for Malvern, including Dinmore Japonica, Dinmore Jestelle, Dinmore Lanelle and Dinmore Lizelle.
He says: “You can spend months preparing an animal. Preparation starts six months before the show, when you start a strict feeding regime.
“The effort is in the washing and the halter breaking. It is important to handle them a lot.
“Cattle always do better if they are handled regularly. The less stressed they are, the better they show.”
The beef Burke trophy will be judged on Saturday, June 18, along with the dairy Burke trophy. Both contests are creating a buzz.
Mr Bartle says: “It is a shop window and provides a chance to show off your product to people who might buy it.
“We only do eight shows a year. We do not go to pick up trophies, we actually sell a lot of bulls from being at shows. You have time to chat and it is a relaxed atmosphere.
“It gives me as much pleasure to see Dinmore progeny doing well. For example, we sold a bull to a guy in Scotland and he achieved top price at the Stirling bull sale, raising £9,000. He came back and bought Dinmore Jean Pierre in Carlisle for £16,000.”
Mr Dawes bought Diamant in 2013 from breeder Gaec Camus, Martinet, France.
The bull is out of Version, who goes back to the noted bull Levrier. Reserve male champion at Paris 2013, Diamant’s first UK show was the Royal Three Counties in 2014.
At the Royal Welsh in the same year, he was overall beef inter-breed, supreme Limousin and male champion.
Mr Bartle says: “We have a number of his progeny on the ground. His calves are showing some of his great breed characteristics – good legs, width, locomotion, style and growth.
THE Dawes family established the Dinmore herd in 2001. The foundation females included 30 cows from Peter and Maxine Brown’s Peasleyhill herd, selected females from Martin Thomas’ Wintercott herd and from production and dispersal sales at Carlisle.
Expansion has been based on an embryo transfer programme from the best females in the herd.
The stock bull which put the herd on the map is Tonka, purchased for 30,000gns at Carlisle in 2003. He is the sire of Cerberus, which sold for 50,000gns.
Vantastic, Carlisle champion in May 2006, sold for 42,000gns. Dinmore Bandit, intermediate champion at Carlisle in February 2008, sold for a herd top price of 28,000gns.
Tonka’s progeny won the best progeny award at the Royal Show in 2008 and his daughters sold at Carlisle for 6,500gns and 5,800gns.
The cow, Dinmore Athena, was unbeaten in her class in 13 outings, junior champion at the Royal Welsh Show, first at the 2006 Royal Show and female champion at the 2007 Royal Welsh Show.
Dinmore Immense won male champion at the Royal Three Counties in 2013 and went on to win at Cheshire, Burwarton, Monmouth and Anglesey.
In 2015, he became overall male champion at the Royal Welsh, also winning inter-breed pairs with Frogmore Helen and the inter-breed group of five.
“I have entered him because I think he matches quite well with the cow. He will match anything because he is so powerful. But he might not get into the team again, as that is up to the judges.”
It is a busy time for Mr Bartle and his team as they prepare for a production sale and a series of shows. At their last sale in 2012, they sold 100 cattle and raised £500,000, an average price per head of almost £5,000. One maiden heifer, Dinmore Fabulous, sold for £36,000.
The forthcoming sale on July 2 will feature a mixture of ages, cows and calves, heifers and young bulls, all from the Dinmore Herd, along with embryos.
Mr Bartle says: “We get a lot of good progeny from embryos. About 75 per cent of my show team this year is from embryos. Sale price varies according to pedigree.
“Some embryos sell for more than £2,000, but the average is £1,000.”
The Dinmore herd produces 40-60 embryo calves a year. Most bulls are sold as breeding bulls, although some are sold for fat. This year, the family kept 80 per cent of its embryo calves for breeding. Usually, they breed from about 70 per cent.
They get their bulls at society sales, most notably Carlisle, and buy a few privately in France.
Mr Bartle says: “We have got to know bloodlines. Occasionally, we have to get an outcross because of the use of artificial insemination to widen the genetic pool. The genetic input is huge. The herd has been built on some of the best bloodlines. We have regularly paid £20,000-£30,000 for bulls, but the investment has paid off.
“If you breed a champion, everybody wants to breed what you have got. Everybody has to make a bit of money and being successful at shows helps ensure it happens.”
MOBILE phone tycoon Martin Dawes bought Dinmore Manor Estate, Herefordshire, in 2000.
His son Paul is hands on at the associated Kipperknowle Farm, which stretches to almost 728 hectares (1,800 acres), including almost 324ha (800 acres) of woodland, about 162ha (400 acres) of arable land and 242ha (600 acres) of grazing.
There are 1,000 breeding ewes on-farm, put mostly to a terminal sire. All lambs are fattened for sale.
The Dinmore herd benefits from a range of purpose-built buildings, including two cattle courts. There is a grain store on a greenfield site and some of the cereal grown on-farm is used to feed cattle.
The estate is also home to the Dinmore Manor Stud.
The family also runs a 109ha (270-acre) commercial operation at nearby Marden, where 120 cows are put out to a Limousin bull. Progeny is sold to ABP, Ellesmere, Shropshire, under a contract with Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range.
The family buys 400-500 Limousin cross British Blue store cattle each year. They keep between six and eight breeding female British Blues and a small Shorthorn herd, which won at the Royal Welsh Show last year.
They also run two farms in Cheshire – 132ha (325 acres) at Broxton and 28ha (70 acres) at Holmes Chapel.
The winners of the six pairs of tickets in the Farmers Guardian ticket giveaway competition are: