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BRITISH FRIESIAN


Competition (small herds section) and the 100 cows average 7300 kg at 4.25% fat and 3.30% protein. The calving interval is 386 days and the average herd cell count for the past four months has been 65, 65, 75 and 82. The herd is classifi ed annually under the British Friesian type classifi cation scheme, with almost 50% of the herd scored VG or EX.


Despite somewhat unfriendly weather, visitors were highly impressed by the Deangate cattle, which continued grazing throughout the interruptions. Many had travelled from all parts of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the chance


FOCUS


LEFT There was a good crowd at the Deangate/ Genus Open Day at Deanery Farm.


to see the dams of two newly proven sires still very active and receiving no special treatment would have given them


confi dence to try using the sons in their own herds. Many thanks to the Robotham family for opening up their herd to inspection and to Genus for providing lunch.


Simon Gee (with thanks to Bill Foster) JOHN SIMPSON - A PERSONAL VIEW


he British Friesian breed is making a big comeback, with increasing semen sales and growing demand for stock. John Simpson must take a lot of credit for this resurgence, as he played a major role in promoting the breed during the past 20 years, when many people were switching to Holsteins.


T


John bought his fi rst Friesian heifers in 1956, when he established the Catlane herd at Market Drayton. One of his initial purchases was Beech Farm Chris 3, the foundation cow for the highly successful Christine family.


In 1964 John moved to Shackerstone, Nuneaton, where the Catlane herd has gone from strength to strength, breeding 12 cows that have given over 100 tonnes of milk and many leading AI sires. He concentrated on Terling and Lavenham bloodlines in the early years and placed great emphasis on longevity and fertility, developing many good


ABOVE Holstein UK President Bernard Liddle presents Mary and James Simpson with the Distinguished Achievement Award won by their late husband and father respectively, John. Watching on is BFBC Chairman Ben Pullen.


cow families that combine high production with good conformation. The Christines, Snowballs and Marinas are amongst the best families in the Friesian breed today. John had a fantastic memory for cows. He was a thinker, who would sit back, listen and take everything in, before coming out with a very considered and wise assessment of the subject. He also had a great sense of humour, often coming out with a dry comment when you weren’t expecting it. When discussing cows he was never in a hurry, but when he was driving a car it was rather different – it didn’t take him long to get somewhere!


John could be stubborn and I remember him taking me to see a potential bull dam shortly after having had a heart attack - he was supposed to be house bound but Mary, his wife, didn’t stand a hope of stopping him! He walked for fi ve yards and stopped for a few minutes before walking again – it took a while to get to the barn, but he wasn’t going to give up and we made it! John was a great character and he also played a vital role in the success of the British Friesian Breeders Club – he will be greatly missed!


Bill Foster THE JOURNAL DECEMBER 2010 71


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