Sunderlandwick Herd of Pedigree South Devons. Breeding Beef...Prime Beef.
Why Breed South Devon cattle? South Devon cattle are renowned throughout the world for their beef quality and because they make the tastiest beef in the most efficient way.
South Devon cattle are renowned throughout the world for their beef quality. I had to visit a ranch in Montana in the United States to find out that the best beef actually came from the UK!
The Americans take their beef seriously. So seriously that they have a Meat Animal Research Centre, the Clay Centre in Nebraska. Painstaking scientific research there over many years (for those interested a paper called “Breed comparisons in the Germplasm Evaluation at MARC” by Cundiff, Szabo, Gregory, Koch, Dikeman and Crouse) found that the South Devon and Shorthorn breeds had the leading marbling and USDA choice cut percentage scores of all the established purebred beef breeds.
Their research showed that for beef quality these two breeds were in a league of their own.
Beef quality is the most important feature to the consumer but apart from this there are other traits which are vital to Suckler Beef Breeding. The essential maternal traits of milkiness, fertility, calving ease and particularly temperament, are found in the South Devon breed in abundance.
Meat yield is paramount to producers. The same American team mentioned above conducted further trials regarding meat yield per breed. They conducted this trial on 12,427 mated cows and measured the weight of calves at 200 days old. These trials showed that the South Devon breed out-yielded the majority of the established purebred breeds, including Angus X, Red Poll, Ruby Reds, Galloways, Piedmontese, Limousin and of course Charolais for overall meat yield per animal.
So why breed South Devon cattle? Because they make the tastiest beef in the most efficient way.
A disease free herd is the starting point for Beef Cattle breeding. The Sunderlandwick Herd is a member of The Premium Cattle Health Scheme. Breeding cows are accredited free from BVD (and vaccinated annually), and tested annually for Johnnes disease. The herd is also vaccinated from Leptospirosis. Great care is taken to ensure and maintain the highest standards in Herd Health, which results in high levels of productivity and animal welfare.
The Sunderlandwick Herd is a member of Breedplan. Every animal bred is scrutinised for important breeding characteristics. Maternal traits such as direct calving ease, daughters calving ease, birthweight and milk yield are evaluated. In addition 200, 400 and 600 day weights are recorded and analysed to produce Quality Beef and Suckler Replacement Indices.
There is a keen recognition that scientific evaluation is not a replacement for the art of stockmanship. Equally vital is that cosmetic appearance should not impede commercial productivity.
The Sunderlandwick South Devon Herd is managed on a fully commercial basis. However, the best of the Pedigree South Devon animals have been successfully shown at The Lincolnshire, Great Yorkshire and Driffield Shows.
Cattle for sale
Pedigree bulls and heifers are usually for sale.
The total Sunderlandwick herd comprises of approximately 140 breeding cows. Half of these are pedigree South Devon cattle, which form the maternal line for the other 50% of the herd. This other half of the herd is comprised of Salers, Aberdeen Angus and Charolais cross South Devon cows. The cross gives greater heterosis and hybrid vigour to the animal production. Great flavour from the South Devons is combined with other favourable characteristics from the named breeds for the most efficient beef production.