Hawkeye Czechs out with top breeder

Romany 1 Hawkeye.Export to Czech Republic
Romany 1 Hawkeye.Export to Czech Republic

A BORDERS bull has become the first such Hereford animal to be exported to the Czech Republic for over 32 years.

The 16-month-old bull, Romany 1 Hawkeye D1 H28, from J.R.B. Wilson & Sons, at Cowbog, near Yetholm was chosen by Faflak Miroslav for his established herd.

Hereford cattle is the oldest beef breed reared in the Czech Republic – it was first imported in 1975. Most of the Herefords bred in the Czech Republic are horned, but some are polled.

Although not the most widespread breed in the country, Herefords are very popular race especially in not-so-rich areas, according to the Czech Beef Breeders Association.

Faflak selected Hawkeye while on a trip to the UK in October, organised by Sheila Eggleston of Eggs-port, Hexham.

The young bull’s dam, the home-bred Romany 1 Lucy R22 D5, is by former Hereford sire of the year, Crickley 1 Figurehead. She was awarded first place and reserve junior female at the 2008 Royal Highland Show.

Romany 1 Hawkeye’s sire is the imported Danish bull SMH Castro, one of the Romany herd’s senior stock bulls. Castro was bought as a promising five-month-old, in 2007 and is proving to be great addition to the herd.

His first son to be sold at auction was Romany 1 Gem, reserve grand male champion at the breed’s 2011 autumn show and sale in Hereford and was exported to a new Hereford breeder in Germany. Another son is entered for Stirling bull sales next month.

Hawkeye is a high-performance bull boasting 200, 400 and 600 day EBVs (estimated breeding value) in the top 1 per cent of the breed, milk EBV in the top 5 per cent, Eye Muscle Area in the top 10 per cent with a terminal index of +35 and self replacing index of +42.

EBVs are expressed as units of measurement for each particular trait and are shown as positive or negative differences between an individual animal’s genetics and the genetic base to which the animal is compared.

EBVs are published for factors such as fertility, calving ease, milking ability, growth and carcase merit.

Cowbog has been a family-run unit since the late J.R.B. Wilson took it over in 1938. Nearly 60 years ago the Wilson family started breeding pedigree Herefords, on the farm’s 190 hectares, with the establishment of their Bowmont Herefords.

The herd has steadily grown since then and now numbers 200 head of pedigree cattle.

In 1976 the poll (hornless) factor was introduced and Romany Herefords were born.

In all that time, no other breed of cattle has been used. The Wilson family’s commitment to the breed and long years of effort have reaped rewards with supreme and reserve championship titles at shows across the country, including the Royal Highland and English Royal events.

Today, Cowbog is run by Robert Wilson, with help from father, Ron and Mr Wilson senior says they are finding that more and more overseas customers for their animals are wanting figures such as EBVs.

“Up to 600 days, we weigh our bulls every so often and send those weight figures in to the Hereford Cattle Society, which sends the data off to the people that analyse it all,” he said.

“The bulls are regularly ultrasonically checked for size of muscle and so on. We’re definitely finding, especially with people from abroad, that more and more are wanting such data figures.

“It’s a very technical business these days.”

Bulls such as Hawkeye are commanding thousands of pounds. Recently, the Wilsons sold a bull to a German breeder for about £5,000.

Ron continued: “What has been a big assistance has been having our own website.We’ve got all of our young bulls that are for sale listed on there along with their performance data, so that can all be seen by breeders around the world.

“The internet is proving a very important tool in what we do.”