Alec & Catriona

The ABBERTON herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle was established by Alec and Catriona Sutherland, in 1995 when they started farming together at Manor farm, Abberton, Worcestershire. The farm extends to approximately 260 acres with arable crops occupying most of the land and the cattle occupying most of the time and interest.

 The nucleus herd of four in calf heifers and two cows originate from Catriona’s mother and fathers Nightingale herd also in Worcestershire. The herd, which at present has 30 cows, 90% of which derive from the six original females, has been run as a closed herd since that time with the exception of using AI sires and the purchase of Stoddard Marybelle 001 in 2002 at George and Jenny Simpsons dispersal 2 miles away.

Marybelle001’s first son ABBERTON Marshal Beau 84, became at 14 mths the Junior male champion overall male champion, the Native interbreed junior champion at the Royal Show 2005 at Stoneleigh. He then became Reserve Junior champion at Perth oct sales where he was purchased by the Wedderlie herd Berwickshire. Recently however new cow families have been introduced through embryo transfer minimising any risk to herd health.

Throughout the years the herd has been managed along strict commercial lines concentrating on growth with easy-care. No breeding female is fed concentrate, whilst calving at two years, this is vital if milking ability is to be assessed accurately via 200 day weaning weights.

All progeny are weight recorded using the society approved Breed plan and are scanned for carcase characteristics at 400 days of age. 100% of bulls and heifers born are sold for breeding purposes, be it into dairy, sucker or pedigree herds, the majority of bulls being sold whilst outside at a round 14-18 months without the need for high concentrate input or housing. 99% of females retained in the herd are homebred, often with the same animal appearing in the pedigree several times, consolidating traits resulting in ‘WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET’.

COW FAMILIES

PRIDE NAN        [ Pride Nans…..Pride Gwens]
DUCHESS
GEORGINA
ERICA
LUCY
TAF PRIDE OF PERSHORE [PRIDE OF PERSHORE S44]
BELLA MISS BURGESS    [marybelle…baroness bella]

Sires are selected be it AI or homebred only, once detailed information reveals not only performance figures i.e. EBV,or actual, for weight, frame score, carcase traits etc, but also once visual assessments have been carried out i.e. on structural soundness functional ability not forgetting breed characteristics and temperament. The importance of relatives in a pedigree is paramount at ABBERTON and is never ignored.

The list of sires is impressive.

Youngdale Hogan 3Y
HF Databank 21H
MVH Classic 7Z
HFRF Tam O Shanter2E
BCC Eileenmere Lad 17F
Youngdale Monarch 12E
MVBL Lancer 9F
Nightingale Regent R27
Nightingale Quinton 33
Nightingale Papa 69

      ...and new for 2009

Young Dale Dudley 26M
Jeremy Eric of Bridgefoot
Dyelema Radar W42
Ankonian Elixir 100
Abberton Dallas 55
Abberton Pride Macbeth 16
Abberton Marshall Beau 84
Abberton Peru 76
Abberton Luger 140
Abberton Mr Bionic 141

ABBERTON DAZZLE 160

Homebred sires are routinely used and are a key part of our breeding policy eg ABBERTON Marshall Beau 84 was sired by ABBERTON Pride McBeth 16.  A small cross bred herd runs along side the pedigree herd, females from which are served with homebred bulls, allowing calving ease and growth rates to be monitored. Taking things a step further, progeny were sold through the Waitrose scheme, but now directly from private fresh beef sales, enabling carcase traits and more importantly eating quality to be recorded by ourselves on the farm. This has allowed us the luxury of studying first hand, information on which to base our selection policy for the commercial beef farmer in the future, more importantly arming potential customers with knowledge that will accurately REFLECT, rather than predict results they hope to achieve within their own herds in the future when purchasing from the ABBERTON herd, as indeed they have from large pedigree herds such as Wedderlie and Scottish coal; and commercial herds from the Orkney islands to Sussex, and even further a field by exporting a yearling bull to start a new herd in France in February 2010 and to Germany in 2011.