Where pedigree and commercial livestock is concerned the Alford family is steeped in tradition and success, right from the days when Michael left school and started showing Aberdeen-Angus cattle with his Granddad.
Early success stories have included taking the junior and overall championship at Perth in 1985 with Explosive of Staplegrove before he went on to sell for 7000gns and winning the best group of three by one sire which were by Ellanin Transformer.
But showing at Smithfield is where the family’s roots firmly lie. In 1991 Michael and Melanie purchased a Charolais x Angus heifer from David Sinclair at Smithfield which in turn produced a Limousin cross calf by Shatton Pedro named Bruno which won the Kings Cup for the best beast bred by exhibitor in 1994. In the same year the couple won the junior crossbred champion steer who then went on to win Limousin 2000.
1998 saw the couple take four crossbreds to Smithfield, an event which resulted in the senior steer championship and the reserve heifer championship with Take That a daughter of the early Charolais cross purchase. At just nine months old that calf won the Royal Welsh and the heifer and overall championship at Birmingham.
2002 saw more success this time in the form of Red Hawk who took the junior championship at Smithfield. The following year he was champion steer and reserve overall at Birmingham as well as the heavyweight championship at the Scottish Winter Fair. His full brother, Die Another Day then took the steer and reserve overall championship at the Scottish Winter Fair in the same year.
But it was 2009 that proved to be one of the most successful yet for the family with Hanky Panky, Lady Gaga, Just Dance and Paparazzi shown at the Scottish Winter Fair, all of which won their respective classes and took the championship heifer and reserve overall championship and reserve champion steer. At the same show the pedigree Galloway steer Superman also took the native championship and pedigree championship.
That year also saw Charlotte’s calf Poker Face take the calf championship at Agri Expo, the reserve calf championship at the Scottish Winter Fair, the calf championship at the English National, the reserve calf championship at the Royal Smithfield and to finish the season on a high, the calf championship at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.
2010 saw the family back out in strong form again, this time with Alijandro winning the championship at Agri Expo and the Scottish Winter Fair and Poker Face winning the championship at the Welsh Winter Fair as a heavyweight heifer. The same event saw Big Bird take the reserve Limousin heifer championship. The Galloways were also on winning form with Super Mario winning the native championship at the Scottish Winter Fair and the overall purebred championship as well as the Queen Mother’s Cup at Smithfield for the best native beast.
2011 was yet another successful one with the homebred Galloway heifer Super Star taking the reserve native title at the Scottish Winter Fair and Smithfield and the native championship at Agri Expo. A trip to Countryside Live saw Real Thing take the reserve heifer championship and I’m Your Man take the reserve steer championship at Countryside Live and Agri Expo, the champion steer and reserve overall at Smithfield and champion steer and reserve overall at the Scottish Winter Fair.
2012 saw a return to showing on the summer circuit for the Alfords due to Charlotte taking some time out from summer eventing with the horses and what a summer it turned out to be.
Smarty Pants took the commercial championship at Devon County, Bath and West, Royal Cornwall and the Royal Highland Show, while No Likey No Lighty took the commercial and interbreed championship at Frome, the steer championship at Bath and West, Devon County, Royal Cornwall, Royal Welsh and the championship at the Three Counties with Bishops Goldilocks, the pedigree Limousin heifer, taking the championship at East of England
The winter circuit of 2012 saw more success for our commercial team as No Likey No Lighty dominated the steer classes at most events and took home many steer championships and reserve overall titles, including the steer championship at the East of England Smithfield Festival and the championship on home soil at the South West Winter Fair. The year also ended with Michael judging the Royal Highland Winter Fair, a day he will always remember and be honoured to have been a part of.
Showing will always be an integral part of Foxhill Farm’s show window and now with more sheep and pedigree cattle in the team, Michael, Melanie, Charlotte are looking forward to exhibiting at all the major summer and winter shows as well as more pedigree sales across the UK.
The Foxhillfarm Limousin herd was established in 2011 with the aim to create an elite herd based on strong family lines to produce top quality males and females in to pedigree herds.
Initial purchases came from the Bankdale dispersal of Gordon Wilson and family, the most prolific being Bankdale Alicewho was purchased for 15,000gns. Sired by the noted Sympa, she is out of the Nickel daughter Princesse. She is dam of the 38,000gns Bankdale Exfactor, sold at Carlisle in May 2011 and also the 65,000gns Bankdale Erin which we were under bidders on at the sale.
To date, progeny from Alice (six females and one bull) have grossed 168,700gns. Alice has been flushed consistently well to Wilodge Vantastic.
We also purchased Alice’s October 2009-born daughterBankdale Elizabeth for 35,000gns. Elizabeth is an embryo calf by the prolific 42,000gns Wilodge Vantastic.
Her maternal sister Bankdale Chanel was also purchased that day. She is a 2007-born Sarkley Volt daughter making her a full sister to the 65,000gns Bankdale Erin. Foxhillfarm Impressive, her first bull calf by Hartlaw Excaliber was sold at Red Ladies Weaned Calf Sale 2013 for 7000gns at 10 months to Eric and Elaine Norman for their Norman herd. She has since flushed successfully to Hartlaw Excaliber and Wilodge Tonka.
In the same year we went to the Sarkley sale and purchased Sarkley Fadajen as a heifer. This Sarkley Thunderbolt daughter goes back to the Jen family on the dam line and the Ola line on her sire’s side. She was purchased due to her blood lines for 10,000gns. Her first heifer calf Foxhillfarm Iris, by Guards Boomer calf was sold Red Ladies Weaned Calf Sale 2013 for 2500gns to Andrew Morton, Denny, Stirling.
The next additions to the herd came from the Dinmore reduction sale in the form of the January-born embryo heifer calfDinmore Hester who was purchased for 6800gns. She is by the Vantastic son Carmorn Copilot and out of Aghadowey Alix, a Broadmeadows Cannon daughter and was sold suckling her recipient dam.
September 2012 saw the arrival of two females from the Janos sale at Welshpool Market. Corridan Chelsea, a Goldies Terence daughter out of the Ronick Iceman daughter Corridan Trinket was the first to be purchased at 5000gns and at the time was AI’d to Dinmore Foreman. Then we secured her December 2011-born daughter Janos Galye, by Lowerffrydd Ahoy.
Embryos have also been purchased both privately and at sales including eggs out of the Wilodge herd’s queen Ravenelle by Wilodge Tonka, Croftlimousin Princess by Wilodge Vantastic and Ronick McKenzie by Vantastic. Some of these embryos have been implanted and are due in 2014.
AI sires currently in use in the herd are Wilodge Vantastic, Sympa, Loosebeare Fantastic, Guards Boomer, Sablier, Hartlaw Excaliba and many more.
When we purchased Bankdale Alice she was in-calf to Wilodge Vantastic and produced a wonderful homebred heifer in the form of Foxhillfarm Gracie. Gracie had a good start to her showing career as a baby heifer standing second in an incredibly strong class at the Royal Welsh Show 2012 and then clinched the Limousin championship at the Scottish Winter Fair that year before dominating the 2013 summer show circuit. Her accolades include six breed championships, a Continental interbreed title, a reserve interbreed title and two overall interbreed titles.
As a result of the successful flushing programme we now have four full sisters to Gracie in the herd. January bornFoxhillfarm Izzy has been the most successful of the ET heifers. She was Limousin and then Continental champion at Cornwall Calf Show, reserve Limousin champion at the Scottish Winter Fair, Limousin champion and reserve interbreed at Smithfield, as well as being a member of the Duke of Norfolk Trophy along with her full ET brother and sister.
Also born January 2013 was Foxhillfarm Ivy. She stood second at both Cornwall Calf Show and the Scottish Winter Fair. Foxhillfarm Isla is a March-born ET sister and stood first in the March-born class at Cornwall Calf Show, third at Stars of the Future and part of the winning Duke of Norfolk Trophy group at Smithfield with Izzy. The fourth sister is Foxhillfarm Iola who was second at Cornwall and third at Stars of the Future.
We now have three daughters of Chanel, the February 2013-born Foxhillfarm Infinity and June 2013-born Foxhillfarm Isobell who are both sired by Hartlaw Excaliber. Then Foxhillfarm Isabelle, a January 2013-born Wilodge Tonka daughter.
The latest addition to the herd is Emslies Intoxicate, a March 2013-born heifer calf by the 22,000gns Derriaghy Enfield. Her dam is the Louxor daughter Emslies Adultress, from the same family as the 2009 Royal Welsh interbreed champion Ballymoney Veronica. We purchased her for 4200gns at the Emslies Sassie Lassies Sale, January 2014.
Following the dispersal of the foundation Galloway cows in May 2013, two heifer calves have been born from embryos that were retained from Marina 63rd of Kilnstown.
She sold for £2900 at the sale to Tim and Kitty Bodily with her bull calf, Bonzo, at foot. Bonzo was successfully shown in native fatstock classes that winter. Since Marina has died embryos have been implanted.
Galloways were purchased to produce primestock animals to compete in the pure native classes at primstock shows. We feel they produce the type of native cattle we like to show commercially and pedigrees with tremendous heads and confirmation. We look forward to having Galloways back in our show team.
The Galloway pedigree herd was established in 2008 with females purchased from Kilnstown Farms, Cumbria, which have bred exceedingly well in the herd.
Highlights of our success with Galloways in the past include: Superman won the native championship at the East of England Primestock Show and Scottish Winter Fair in the same year.
In 2011 our first homebred heifer Superstar won many accolades including champion native at Agri Expo Carlisle, reserve native at the Scottish Winter Fair and reserve native at the Royal Smithfield Show.
Semen is currently for sale from our Galloway stock bull, Quartz of Kilsnsown who is by Orinocho of Over Barskeoch and out of Edna 42nd of Kilnstown. Semen is priced at £20 a straw (no royalty) and he is the sire of Super Star, who was reserve native champion at the Scottish Winter Fair and Smithfield and native champion at Agri Expo, Carlisle.
In October 2015 Aberdeen-Angus made their return to Foxhillfarm, when we bought a brace of foundation females for a new Aberdeen-Angus herd. It has always been Mike’s passion to go back in to Aberdeen-Angus since his grandfather sold off the Staplegrove herd.
But, while there have been a number of opportunities to buy Aberdeen-Angus in the last few years, we have been waiting to find a proven cow to start the herd with. In selecting our foundation females we were looking for correct, natural fleshing cattle with no fat briskets and we found this in Weeton Diamond Mist M351 and purchased her for 13,000gns at the Weston total herd sale in Stirling.
Weeton Diamond Mist M351
As well as Diamond Mist were also liked her bull calf and full sister, the bull calf Weeton Diamond Mine P444 sold to the Deveron herd of the Slater family.
We were lucky enough to secure her full sister, the 2013-born Weeton Diamond Mist N383 for 7000gns.
Both females are sired by GH Coverboy Eric 110R and out of Big Sky Diamond Mist 350, an Aberan DMM Decision 26H daughter.
We look forward to building our herd up in the future with both purchased in-calf to Rawburn Edge.
Along with the addition of Limousin cattle to Foxhill, a pedigree Texel flock is also a new enterprise for the farm. Complimenting the commercial attributes of the Charollais flock, elite breeding lines have been purchased to produce a nucleus flock of premium females to sell both females and tups at National sales all over the UK.
The Foxhillfarm pedigree Texel flock owned by Michael and Melanie and the Wayside flock owned by Charlotte were established in 2011 with the purchase of an Ettrick ewe lamb GGH1101166. By Ettrick Rainbow Warrior and out of a Thinacres Masambola dam, she stood first in her class out of 53 at the Royal Highland Show and went on to be reserve female champion she was purchased in a private deal from Robbie Wilson (Milnbank) who purchased her that year from the Royal Highland show after her success.
Her first flush yielded two tup lambs, Wayside Topgun by Glenside Razzle Dazzle, which was sold at the Scottish National Sale, Lanark 2012, in a five way partnership for 5500gns to Southern Ireland. The other, Foxhillfarm Tiptop, is retained in the flock.
2012 then saw the arrival of five more females which have since proved the main flushing foundation lines of the flock.
A Fairywater gimmer FAO1100201 by Strathbogie Python and out of a dam by Ettrick My Jinks was purchased at Ballymena for 11,000gns. This tremendous gimmer comes from an exceptional family which includes an unbeaten full sister, which was champion at Omagh and Castlewellan shows and is fullsister to Fairywater Samurai and maternal sister to the 9000gns Fairywater Superstar.
Another gimmer was also purchased at the same sale from the Tullagh flock CJT1100239 for 2700gns. By Garngour Patriot and out of a dam by Cherryvale Nijinsky, this one has great bone, skin, size and frame.
The English National sale was the sourcing point for our next addition where we purchased a Stonebridge gimmer RSS1100093 for 5100gns by Allanfauld Rockafella out of a dam by Rascarrol Nightlife, who was reserve breed champion at Lincoln as a ewe lamb. She was purely purchased for the strength of the family line having been impressed with full brothers who consequently sold for 5100gns in Worcester and 9500gns and 3800gns in Carlisle.
Four of these females have all been flushed producing 48 embryos all of which have been implanted into Suffolk Mule gimmer recipients. We plan on flushing five on a second flush all of which will be implanted which will hopefully produce us in the region of a 50-ewe Texel flock.
The Charollais flock was established in 2006 mainly due to the breed’s ability to produce early finishing quality carcass lambs off grass with great length, easy fleshing and fantastic eating quality.
Early foundation females were purchased from the Foulrice, Wraycastle, Lowerye and Southam flocks where we looked to purchase correct, well muscled and fleshed, clean long females from strong family lines.
Although we haven’t shown the Charollais at a high level, we have had some success on the summer show circuit and in the sale ring. In 2007, we sold Foxhillfarm Gemini XWY6013, a ram lamb at the Premier Worcester sale to Messrs Lionel Organ for 3200gns. In the same year we took the reserve championship at Devon County Show with an aged ewe YLK4015.
In 2009 we sold Foxhill Jake XWY9005 for 2000gns at the Worcester Premier Sale to Herbert Kennedy’s Parkgate flock. In the same year we took the top price at the NSA Multibreed Exeter sale of the top price of the day of 750gns for XWY7003.
In October 2009 at the dispersal sale of the Southam flock of Messers Lionel Organ we purchased two females from his top bloodlines for 1100gns and 1600gns. We also purchased his famous stock ram Carthorpe Grand Duke YVY 6032 for 4050gns mainly for his sheer size and power.
2010 saw our first success in the show ring at the Worcester Premier Sale where we won the January ram lamb class and sold to a top of 1000gns to the Skelton Whin flock. In the same year we also sold a ram lamb to the Millhouse flock for 850gns.
2011 saw a greater push towards showing and the three ewe lambs exhibited at Devon County Show didn’t disappoint, coming first to third in their class with the class winner XWY110032 going on to take the reserve female and reserve overall title.
The following year we took showing more seriously at Devon County Show where we won the aged ewe class with XWY9022 and stood third with the ewe lamb and shearling. Our aged ewe then went onto win the female and breed championship, before going forward with our aged ram Bachymbyd Kracker YMH0062 and the ewe to take the top honours in the interbreed pair championship. In the same year we took the breed championship and interbreed at Bath and West with a homebred ewe XWY9022, while Three Counties Show saw us win the aged ewe class and take the female and reserve breed championship.
The flock currently runs at 50 pedigree females with both tups and females being offered for sale at both Society Sales and off farm. The current stock tups used in the flock are Bachymbyd Kracker YMH0062 and Carthorpe Grand Duke YVY 6032 and we are also using semen from Crogham Hannibal.
- Aberdeen Angus > Cattle
- Galloway > Cattle
- Limousin > Cattle
- Charollais > Sheep
- Texel > Sheep