Top lines and tales

Podcast about all things to do with livestock showing, past and present, including interviews, discussions and general chitchat.

This episode I am talking to John Scott who runs a quite diverse livestock operation at Fearn in Easter Ross. We chat through his top herd of Shorthorn cattle, as well as the addition of the Luing breed, and a flock of ewes numbering over 3000. We speak about online pedigree sales, which are to the fore at Fearn, as well as the difficulty in getting young staff and attention to wellbeing. John also mentions a runway that he has turned into a feedlot, his Nuffield scholarship and other activities he is involved in. 

This episode is sponsored by Harbro Feeds

 This week sees a new series on Toplines and Tales looking at a few modern livestock operations. We kick off by chatting to a man with huge vision, James Alexander, from Northern Ireland.

  Under the brand of JALEX, we hear how he set out on the show circuit with no experience whatsoever, eventually winning all before him. Then, looking at new avenues he sold the entire suckler herd, and ewe flock, heading down a new avenue in supplying replacement females. From buying an entire sale ring, to holding highly successful online sales, James is a man who has constantly taken risks and set new trends within the industry.   

This week we wrap up the continentals series chatting to two seasoned Charollais sheep breeders, Jonathan Aitken and Robert Paterson. As usual, we look at some early flocks and imports, as well rams that shaped the breed and, in many case, the interbreeds.

This week we discuss the origins of the Beltex sheep with Belgian scientist Jurgen Depoyt and Scottish breeder, John Barclay, better known as Beachy. Jurgen explains some of the technical side of double muscling, before we look at some of the early flocks and rams that literally shaped the breed.

I have some personal interest in this episode!

This week we look at the origins of the Simmental breed of cattle in UK with Vice President of the breed society, Norman Robson. Starting with the early imports, we discuss a few of the initial prominent herds, some early influential sires, great show cows and the merits of the breed.

This week on Toplines and Tales we discuss the early origins of the Texel sheep breed with log-standing breeder, Robert Laird from Cambwell. In a bumper episode we find out about the first imports, tups that shaped the breed, early progeny testing as well as a Scottish casinio owner who drove round France  buying sheep in his gold Rolls-Royce!

 This week on Toplines and Tales we talk about the early imports of Belgian Blue cattle into the UK, discussing their origins with Mister Belgian Blue himself, Tom Ashton and his daughter, Helen. We touch on the difficulties in getting them through quarantine, an eclectic mix of early breeders who took them up in England as well as bulls that stamped the breed.

This week on our podcast we discuss the origins of the Limousin breed and the foresight of one man to bring them into the UK and set up a demonstration herd.

Chatting with well known breeder and judge, Richard Bartle, we list a few early breeders and some of the influential bulls that stamped the breed, such as Broadmeadows Cannon. We also mention some of the great Limousin show cows over the breeds 50 year history, as well as modern day genotyping strategies in UK and France.  

Due to some recent events, the part of this podcast discussing the Willoge herd has since been removed.


This week on our podcast we look at another great cattleman, not just in the US but across the world for his work and vision around the type change to larger framed cattle, Dr Harlan Ritchie. Well known to Dr Bob Hough, he tells of Harlan's days at Michigan State University and how he set out on a mission to research cattle the world over to find genetics to improve the beef industry.  

Bob and I get stuck into a discussion about EPD (EBV) figures and their misuse, before examining the frame race at its extreme. As Ritchie instigated the slowing down of the frame race, so he turned his attention to composite breeding which again Bob sheds some light on. 

This week we discuss another influential breeder from USA Glen Klippenstein from GK Farms. Recognised as one of the most triumphant Hereford cattle herds of the last half century, he also successfully dabbled in other breeds, as well as being a great marketeer, judge and speaker.  

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