The year 2016 marks 125 years since the South Devon Herd Book Society was incorporated, and the breed has plenty to celebrate as it continues to expand across the country, bringing its benefits to beef farmers who previously knew little about this gentle, high performance breed.
The Society was founded on 2nd November 1891 when it was recognised by the Government as an official body. The first Annual Dinner and Meeting of the Society was reported in the Western Morning News of 5th January 1892, and this report hangs in today’s offices of the Society at Westpoint, Exeter.
To mark the 125th anniversary the Society is holding a Dinner for members and guests at the Cotswold Water Park Hotel in Cirencester on 7th October, which is the evening before its Autumn Show & Sale at Cirencester Livestock Market.
“The breed has seen great changes since it was first granted pedigree status, and has adapted very successfully to changing market requirements to become what it is today – a truly commercial beef type, with exceptionally quiet temperament, growth, and quality carcases consistently averaging U’s and R’s,” said Caroline Poultney, Breed Secretary. She continued, “The breed has tremendous mothering ability, and will fit into hybrid as well as pure bred systems with ease, bringing with it all its fabulous beefy characteristics produced from grass.”
The Society is looking forward to the publication of a history of the breed, which is being compiled by Dartmoor writer Mr Colin Pearse, who has collated a vast array of material including some previously unseen photographs and unpublished recounts of the breed’s evolution, and this will be one for any South Devon enthusiast to have on his bookshelf.