Toplines and tales

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

Excited to open our new series looking at the history of Native breeds in the UK. We kick-off discussing the Hereford cattle with breed historian, Clive Davies. A look back to the humble beginnings nearly 300 years ago, and some of the great men and animals that shaped the breed. Clive singles out a few bulls that made their mark in this highly interesting episode, and we hear briefly from another cattle historian, Dr Bob Hough, on the impact the early exports made in USA

This week's guest is well known sheep and cattle breeder, William McAllister from Balymena in Northern Ireland.

William talks through his top flocks of Charollais and Beltex, as well as his mainstay of producing 150 commercial rams per year. We also chat about his venture into Dutch Spotted Texels as well as his top herd of Shorthorn cattle and their future in Ireland’s marketplace.

This week Kayley Kennedy hands the microphone to one of the sharpest young men in Northern Ireland, Gareth Small.

With his father starting at the very bottom and the awe of Smithfield in the early days, through an obsession to get to the top, Gareth charts his progress, with detail and passion, through the primestock showing circuit and a long list of the great characters who have helped him get to the very top of the game, in commercial cattle, as well as a small herd of Limousins.

Farmer, Soldier, Manager, Orator and Author, Captain J Ben Coutts certainly was one of a kind. This week we look at the life of the great man and, from the archives, chat about his achievements with his wife, Sally. 

From unfortunate circumstances in the Atlantic, breeding a Smithfield champion,  taming the Aberdeen Angus hierarchy and using whisky as currency in Brazil, Ben's story is one that shows pure class of a man who grasped life by the ears. 

This week I have a great yarn with friend Scott Brown from East Lothian. We discuss his experience a livestock commentator and reflect on this year’s highland showcase. Scott talks about the Capielaw Suffolk flock he shares with his brother Gavin, and the difference between the commercial and pedigree aspects with an interesting analysis on modern scanning traits, and performance vs fertility. We move on to hearing about Scott’s brainchild, a film called ‘We all need a farmer’ and how it is gathering traction promoting men’s health. Followed by an inevitable chat about the subject of rugby.

Written in 1925, The Autobiography of an Unfortunate Bull tells the classic story of a shorthorn calf, born in Scotland and destined for the great Perth bulls sales. Written in the Doric speak of the North East, this story will make you smile, laugh and possibly weep. 

Only a handful of the original books are still in existence, so I have narrated it onto a podcast so it can be kept and enjoyed for eternity. 

Starting out in the 50s, Tom Burke's passion for Angus cattle is legendary.  In 1972 he took over the Angus Hall of Fame sale management company, which he still runs, from where he has officiated over 10,000 cattle sales, all over the globe. We chat about hair growth, and the different cattle from different areas he still regularly visits, as well as his flock of Suffolk sheep and the Hall of Fame museum. 

This week with chat to top Irish Limousin cattle breeder William Smith from Co Meath. Starting out with Hereford and Simmental, William chats about the beginnings of the Millbrook Limousins through to his numerous victories at Balmoral and other shows, as well as the near legendary cow Millbrook Gingerspice and the legacy she is leaving. He goes on to discuss the use of modern genoyping and its future roll in the industry. 

With his family originally breeding Hereford cattle in Herefordshire, England, Harvey Weyman-Jones, along with his Mum, recalls some of the characters we all knew and loved in those early days, including Bob Powel and others.

Following his brother to Australia in 1990, Harvey worked as an auctioneer and stud stock manager. Now involved with one of the largest sale management companies in Oz, he chats through moves towards online sales, breaking breed records, types of cattle suited to their climate and the hybrids that have stemmed from that, including the rapidly growing Wagyu business.

This week we listen to an interview recorded with legendary Angus cattle breeder, Willie Robertson in 2013. We hear about the early days of Perth bull sales and travelling to Argentina by boat with 30 bulls. Willie speaks of his first trip to Canada and how he ended up importing over 40 Angus in a bid to get the breed in UK back on its feet.  

Not frightened to say it how it is, he talks of show cattle vs breeding cattle, the marbling qualities of Angus x Holstein beef and a prophecy that super markets would take it on, and the famed bull Netherallan Peter Pershore.

Willie sadly passed away in October 2020.

Older Episodes »

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App