THE National Trust has signalled its commitment to the long term future of one of the country’s favourite heritage breeds of cattle with the arrival of a new Red Devon bull, at the National Trust’s Kingston Lacy estate near Wimborne.
For more than a century Kingston Lacy has been one of the main places to see Red Ruby Devon cattle grazing in the historic parkland. Recently the herd was placed best in Dorset by the Devon Cattle
With the arrival of Bollowal Elgar, a five-year-old bull from Worcester, Kingston Lacy’s stockman Mark Yeandle can start improving the herd. Elgar will help invigorate the Kingston Lacy herd. There are so many good cows in the herd they cannot fail to produce some great heifer calves to be retained, while there is a promising spin-off with the production of some very good bulls to sell, possibly to other pedigree herds.
Mark, who has been working at Kingston Lacy since November 2013, said: “It’s really exciting. When Mr Bankes left Kingston Lacy to the National Trust in 1982, he wanted us to make sure that Red Ruby Devons always grazed the parkland.
“The arrival of Elgar will help ensure we’re producing calves with the kind of structure and appearance that will keep us at the top, just as Mr Bankes would have wanted.”
Visitors to Kingston Lacy often see the herd grazing in the parkland as they arrive and over the next few years, the Kingston Lacy team will continue its plans to restore the historic parkland and give people the chance to see behind the scenes at Home Farm, as well as showing the best animals from the herd at agricultural shows.
Mike Yeandle, Mark’s father and acting President of the Devon Cattle Breeders Society and Interbreed judge, said: “Elgar himself was the Breed Champion and the reserve Interbreed Native Champion at the 2013 Royal Three Counties Show, second only to the Angus bull which was the eventual Supreme Champion of the whole show.
“Elgar has already proved himself capable of producing equally good male and female offspring – which is something very few bulls of any breed can do. As a breeder and judge I consider him to be as close to being the ideal Devon stock bull as I have seen.
“As one of the oldest Devon herds still registering calves in the Davy’s Devon Herd Book the Kingston Lacy herd is held in high regard by today’s breeders. For this reason it was vital that any search for a new herd sire for Kingston Lacy should start at the top – and the result was the purchase of Bollowal Elgar.”
The Red Ruby Devon is a very popular breed. It is prized for its docility and longevity, exceptional fertility, ability to finish off grass and, of course, its marbled, succulent beef. The beef produced in the Kingston Lacy parkland is often available in the restaurant, but it is also sold to local businesses and helps fund the National Trust’s conservation work.