10th World Galloway Congress & Farm Visits, Germany – September 2014

Suncrest’s Karen & Bob Curry attended the 10th World Galloway Congress in Wildeshausen, Germany from 2-7 September 2014. The World Galloway Congress are held every 2 years and this is the 4th one with Suncrest representation, previous ones being New Zealand in 2008, Denmark in 2010, Canada in 2012 and now this year in Germany in 2014.

Once arrangements had been made to go to the Congress in Germany, contact was made with Lasse Beny whose parents breed Belted and White Galloway Cattle in the Hessen region not far from Frankfurt. Lasse and his friend Yannick worked at Suncrest during their OE to New Zealand in 2012 and once Lasse knew Karen & Bob were flying into Frankfurt, offered, with his parents – Sigrid Beny & Hans Gugumus, to host them in their village not far from their farm – Grasfresser Galloways vom Altrhein. They were most hospitable providing excellent guest house accommodation by night and a full programme of activities including farm visits, bar-b-ques, and attending the Annual Fishbach Fest held in the nearby city of Worms.

Following their stay with the Beny’s Lasse drove Karen & Bob through to meet up with good friend and newly elected President of the German Galloway Association – Horst Kraft, who kindly drove them through to the Congress venue in Wildeshausen, near the city of Brenin, telling many stories en route.

Arrival at the venue was like meeting old friends as most out-of-country participants go to every Congress, and so it’s like meeting up again with extended family. New Zealand was represented by Barry McAlley from the Waikato, Karen & Bob Curry (Suncrest) and Janice Beare, Gary Jordan & Tracy Beare from Nelson. Barry and Bob had the honour of carrying the New Zealand flag into the formal opening dinner.

There was a total of ~160 participants representing 16 countries, by far the biggest attendance at any 10 Congress held to date. (Even more are expected to attend the next Congress in Scotland in 2016, as Scotland is the origin of the Galloway Breed).

The formal proceedings, which included presentation of the various country reports, were followed by a comprehensive programme of farm vists, with very long days travelling in the three coaches provided, and often long nights networking with fellow breeders, sometimes into the small hours of the morning. A lot of good looking cattle and interesting farming techniques were seen during this time.

Following the Congress programme Karen & Bob bid farewell to many of their international friends and went on to the White Galloway Colour Inheritance Seminar which was held in Nevesdorf in the Schleswig-Holstein region of north-east Germany on 8 September. This Seminar was arranged by local breeder and good friend Mechthild Bening, and was hosted by RSH, the governing cattle breed organisation for the Schleswig-Holstein region.

The results of a research project on colour inheritance in Whites conducted by geneticist Professors Swalve and Brenig were presented at the Seminar and these were not only very revealing, but will no doubt form the foundation from which many White breeders will choose to use the various colour patterns (undermarked and black) in their future breeding programmes. The results and consequent implications for selective colour breeding are reported on in a separate news item on this web-site and is entitled “Results from the White Galloway Colour Inheritance Research Seminar – Schleswig-Holstein, Germany – 8 September 2014”.

White Galloway Cattle with various colour patterns used in the research project

Following the Seminar Karen & Bob were co-hosted by Konstance Salomon and her Mum at her Villa near Lubeck in the north-east of Germany. Konstanze, who works part-time with good friend and fellow Galloway breeder – Mechtheld Bening, stayed with friend Nina, at Suncrest, during her visit to New Zealand earlier this year. Konstanze returned the hospitality in grand form providing a guided tour of Lubeck, transport and fine dining.

After leaving Konstanze, Karen & Bob attended Andreas Kriegs wedding near Liepzig in old East Germany. Agricultural graduates Andreas and friend Christian also stopped at Suncrest during their OE/work experience trip to New Zealand; and Andreas, on learning that Karen & Bob were coming to Germany, invited them to attend his wedding and christianing of his and Stephanie’s daughter. This was a grand affair with some familiar and many very interesting cultural differences to a traditional Kiwi wedding. Andreas, and brother Stephan, arranged guided tours of Liepzig and surrounds, including fishing for giant Pike & Carp in a local lake. Andreas’ parents Sylvia & Marthias, who also visited Suncrest with Christians parents, and friend Gerd, were excellent hosts providing penthouse accommodation, copious feeds by day, and bar-b-ques most nights, always washed down by some fine German Pilseners. Marthias is Manager of Osterland’s operation, a massive Agricultural Company which crops and grazes 1000’s of hectares of mainly leased land. He arranged a guided tour of the company’s farm-to-table operation which was most interesting, the scale of which was very impressive. The whole family made Karen & Bob feel very much at home during their entire stay, which was topped off by the flying of the New Zealand flag alongside their German flag on the Krieg homestead flagpole.

Following the wedding Karen & Bob took a holiday and taking ‘the-long-way-home’ – travelling via Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Greece and Turkey, eventually flying out of Istanbul for New Zealand on 19 October.They enjoyed many great experiences and hold many fond memories of their time with their many friends in Germany.