Today our member profile comes from Mathew Jones of the Dragon herd.
Glan-y-Mor farm is made up of 1500 acres, mostly of salt marsh and sand dunes near Harlech on the North Wales coast. The majority of the land is sand which often burns off in dry spells, all the cattle are wintered out.
I, Mathew Jones, farm alongside my father, Alun who keeps around 140 pedigree cows under the Glan-y-Mor prefix, while 3 years ago I started my own herd under the Dragon prefix. Alongside the cattle there is a small flock of pedigree Beltex and Blue texel sheep.
The first salers bull was purchased at Castle Douglas sale in 1999 after having difficulty calving the welsh black and limousin cross cows. We have not looked back since, most years we don’t need to assist any of the cows at calving. Most of the steers are sold through the store market with the pedigree heifers retained to replace the commercial cow. We are hoping to sell the females as bulling heifers in the coming years.
In 2017 I made a visit to the Cantal region of France, where I purchased the first foundation cow for the Dragon herd, Indiana Poll, having won the Interbreed championship at Simagena Paris show in 2015 for her breeder Gaec de Solignac. Indiana then went on to be Overall champion at the RWAS in 2017. Further foundation cows, Ferrari, Judy and Indonesie were purchased from the same breeder, and 2 cows purchased from Earl Croix mahieu in Normandy named Daniela and Girafe. Another 13 yearling heifers were imported through Elite Export last autumn.
The main attributes when trying to breed salers cattle for me are muscling with plenty of milk, a large frame, open pelvis, tidy udder and teats with good legs and hooves. Dark colour, grey hair and a broad nose are also desirable.
I’m interested to develop the polled lines in my herd, the current stock bull is homozygous polled Rigel Khaki which is shared with the Glan-y-Mor herd. The first crop of young bulls will be available for sale this spring!