The South Devon Herd Book Society were very pleased to present a new award at the Harper Adams University Graduation Day in September for the best beef assignment on the FdSc3 Sustainable Livestock Production Systems module.

It was presented jointly to Chris Hooper and Isobel Henderson, and Breed Secretary Caroline Poultney was delighted to present The South Devon Perpetual Cup to them, together with glass mementoes to keep.

Chris comes from a 1300 hectare family arable and beef farm on Salisbury Plain and has now returned to the farm following his exams.  The beef enterprise is currently based on finishing 100 cattle on a ‘b&b’ basis but is looking to establish a suckler herd starting with 50 cows and increasing to 200.

Isobel comes from a family farm in Kent, formerly a dairy unit now running a beef enterprise with a suckler herd, and also rearing dairy-bred calves before selling them at 13 months for further finishing.  Isobel is topping up her Foundation degree at Harper Adams University to gain a BSc Hons degree in Agriculture.  Following graduation next year her intention is to travel to New Zealand for work experience, then eventually to return to the family farm to develop the beef enterprise.  Isobel is passionate about maximizing grass utilisation and minimising beef concentrates for cattle.

Chris and Isobel worked together to produce a blueprint to establish an efficient and profitable suckler herd on a lowland farm, which coincidentally included South Devon genetics.  A summary of this report will be made available to the Society for publication in the next Breed Journal.

The South Devon Perpetual Cup will be presented annually for the best beef assignment.