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1909 - 2009
PROGRESS IN THE
FACE OF ADVERSITY
I
n 1939 it was decided to hold a special class for 2,000 gallon
British Friesians at the Centenary Royal Show held at Windsor, of
which there were now 1,000 registered with the Society. The vast
improvement in type over the previous 30 years was noted by Mr
George Hobson in the Journal, the result of which were “the stately,
shapely, well-bodied, short legged and nicely-vesselled cows of
today”. Shows were then suspended for the duration of the war.
However the Society had other worries. In order to protect its
valuable records, it was decided to relocate from London to Garford,
near Abingdon. The staff was much depleted, due to the call-up.
As had been the case during the First World War, government
sought to maximise home food production by converting permanent
pasture and expanding arable output. Sheep and pig numbers fell
substantially, but cattle were encouraged, mainly to increase milk
production. It was easier to import the end product of meat and
eggs rather than bulky feedstuffs for cattle. Food subsidies were
introduced and net farm income benefi ted. In fact, British Agriculture
TOP Herds-
emerged at the end of the war in a healthier state than for many years.
men at the
The Society had struggled valiantly on, with increasing numbers of registered animals and a membership
1939 Cente-
that had grown from 1,879 in 1939 to 5,600 by the end of the war. Rationing of paper had caused the
nary Royal
Journal to dwindle in size. Even Milk Recording was threatened until Breed Societies agreed to a subsidy
Show, when
of £1 per registered herd, as government had suspended milk recording and licensing of bulls. The latter
there were
naturally led to an increase in bull calf registration. Although the increase in numbers would be a help to
200 entries.
those unable to pay for the higher priced bulls, George Hobson was concerned as to quality. Surprisingly it
wasn’t until 1948 that the Ministry realised that Friesian and Shorthorn male calves could add greatly to the
ABOVE 1949
UK meat supply.
Royal Show
The Council had been considerably enlarged and the rules revised. It had been necessary to take a strong
winner from
line with “delinquent“ members and steep fi nes were introduced! A Standing Investigation Committee
Strutt & Park-
was formed, to deal with the “irregularities” that unfortunately grew during the war years and led to
er; Lavenham
embarrassing expulsions, and the refusal of registrations.
Seabreeze 52.
Although Shows had been abandoned, Society and Club sales continued. However it was decided to ban
“A” Supplementary animals from these sales as it was felt that many of the newer members were less
familiar with the breed and had bought, thinking them to be full pedigree.
CENTENARY In 1941 two calves were born at Reading University as a result of artifi cial insemination, a
CELEBRATION
development which was subsequently to have such a marked effect on the breed.
In 1942, the Council had proposed setting up its own artifi cial insemination station, at some
Don’t forget the Centenary
expense, and with the hire of three bulls. This was not pursued when the Milk Marketing Board
Celebration at Home Farm,
took over the AI work from the Ministry. The fi rst independent AI Centre was set up by Horlick’s
Churchdown, Glos. on 24
Farms and Dairies at Ilminster in Somerset. The Society had continued to hold sales and income
June. Further details from
and management were good. Prices of Friesians had risen 600% and the Society had investment
the Club Secretary, David
funds of £70,000.
Armett, on 01530 223446.
The world shortage of grain and the country’s lack of foreign exchange made food production
highly valuable and the purpose of the 1947 Agricultural Act was to raise output to 150% of
pre-war levels. This had the effect of increasing average farm incomes by six times their pre-war
level in money terms. Milk production rose very substantially so that by the time the MMB took over milk
purchasing again from the Ministry of Food in 1954, the problem of dealing with surplus low value milk
appeared once again.
The relatively healthy state of the industry was refl ected in the price of cattle and, at a sale in aid of the
52 THE JOURNAL JUNE 2009
e3-09 Friesian Focus.indd 2 27/05/2009 13:08:02
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