Last updated 1 September 2017

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Suncrest Stud features in the Autumn 2024 Edition of Business Rural North Magazine – March 2024

Suncrest Provides White Galloway Semen to the Dairy Industry – June 2017

Suncrest has recently been contracted to supply bulk semen to LIC for the Dairy Industry. A semen bank from Stud sires “Suncrest Arctic Bayley” & “Whisperings Jasper” has been purchased by LIC from Suncrest Stud and straws are now being made available through LIC’s network to dairy farmers all across New Zealand.

The White Galloway breed has long been recognised for its low birth weight and therefore easy calving. This coupled with the breeds renown excellent mothering and good doers under all conditions (refer – has seen growing interest with dairy farmers to use young White Galloway bulls and/or semen for their first-time heifer pregnancies; and White Galloway semen for subsequent pregnancies.

The Galloway calf and accordingly the Galloway cross-bred calf has:

  • one of the lowest birth weights of all beef-cross breeds, and the studies have shown the Galloway cross calves comes out tops for calf survival.
  • the lowest incidence of calving difficulty (0.8%);
  • the highest weaning percentage (95.5%); and,
  • the highest calf survival percentage (95.2%).

(As researched by the Clay Animal Research Centre in Nebraska USA)

These attributes coupled with the Galloway bulls ability to produce an even line of calves in colour and high quality carcases make them a very attractive addition to the dairy farmers operation. Resulting cross-bred dairy/beef progeny not only exhibit the dominant Galloway colour pattern, producing “marker calves” for ease of identification at calving time, but also ensures that the progeny are 100% polled.

Galloways are also renowned for their high beef yield and meat quality, the latter whilst being extremely low in fat content (~2%), exhibits a very high incidence of marbling. All these attributes go towards making the Galloway/Freisian or Galloway /Jersey crossbred calves an increasingly more valuable commodity at the sale yards as word gets around. These attributes only apply when using pure-bred Galloway over dairy heifers/cows, so dairy farmers must ensure they are using pure-bred Galloways, which are registered with the Galloway Cattle Society of NZ (Inc), to be sure of achieving the above attributes.

Due to demand Suncrest now sell more of its pedigree bulls to dairy farmers than it does to fellow pedigree breeders. Often young bulls, sometimes as calves, are purchased well ahead of mating time, due to the difficulty in obtaining bulls at working age at mating time. Even black White Galloway bulls are sought after as they still produce all of the White Galloway attributes and can produce white well marked calves. Steering of bull calves is almost a thing of the past!

Suncrest also holds a semen bank at Tararua Breeding Co. and sells pedigree semen directly to dairy farmers, but at well below the $35 + gst per straw rate offered to pedigree breeders.

If you have any queries do not hesitate to give Karen or Bob a ring or drop them an email direct or via the contact form on their web site:

11th World Galloway Congress, Scotland – August 2016

Suncrest’s Karen & Bob Curry attended the 11th World Galloway Congress in Gretna Green, Scotland from 5-10 August 2016, along with 14 other Breeder members from NZ! As soon as good friends and fellow Galloway breeders in Germany – Cord & Martina, knew the Curry’s were attending the Congress, they invited them to stay at their farm near Dusseldorf and travel with them by road/ferry (Amsterdam – Newcastle), and then on up to Scotland. Cord & Martina run a family wedding/function/catering operation in a couple of magnificent old barns on the Kammesheidt Family farm, where, as part of the catering, they feature their own home grown bar-b-que’d Galloway meat. They also run a business whereby they supply Galloway meat packs for sale on line.

The World Galloway Congress are held every 2 years and this is the 5th one with Suncrest representation, previous ones being New Zealand in 2008, Denmark in 2010, Canada in 2012, Germany in 2014 and now this year in Scotland in 2016. It was also the largest Congress ever due mainly to the fact that the surrounding Dumfries Galloway region of Scotland is the home of Galloway Cattle and delegates world-wide were keen to visit the origin of the breed.

Delegations arrival

Having more than 250 people attending must have been very challenging for the organisers, but they did a wonderful job, with splendid Scottish hospitality and a smoothly run and well organised event. Most delegates stayed at the Gretna Hall Hotel, while others stayed nearby at several hotels and B&B’s. The Congress began with registration on Friday afternoon, followed by drinks and a buffet dinner in the Galloway Marquee, erected especially for the event. The next morning they travelled in 5 large coaches to the Dumfries & Lockerbie Show which included the Galloway National Show. At the show there were large numbers of Belted Galloways, a slightly smaller number of (Standard) Galloways, and a few White Galloways, and Galloway Riggits all competing. Each type of Galloways had their own show ring, with about 140 animals in total. All delegates agreed that the quality of the Belted Galloways and (Standard) Galloways was very high indeed, and these were by far the most prominent Galloway breeds in the UK. Being a White Galloway breeder, it was a little disappointing that there were such a small number however the quality of the few White Galloways at the show was very good.

That evening we had the presentation of the flags from each country attending the Congress, Show trophies were presented and a display of Scottish Highland dancing followed by dinner.

Flag presentation

Sunday was the “business” day of the Congress, with the appointment of officers for the next 2 years, and presentation of each countries report on last 2 years activities. Scott McKinnon, the current President, welcomed all delegates and visitors and gave his report. As the next World Congress is to be held in September 2018 in Melbourne, the Australian Belted Galloway Association issued a warm invitation to attend the 2018 Congress. The dates and venues for future World Galloway Conferences were confirmed:

  • November 2020 – Louisville, Kentucky, USA;
  • 2022 – Switzerland;

and Barry McAlley suggested that the South Island, New Zealand host 2024, but this is yet to be confirmed.

The next 3 days saw visits to 8 commercial and pedigree herds, all included Belted or Galloway herds, but the visit to Tim Oliver’s organic farm near Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, England, included a White Galloway herd also. Some farms had many large barns for wintering the animals inside, but others were totally wintered out. Sponsors provided large tractors towing feed trailers (12 at each farm), so that we could pile in and be shown around the farms. This was a great idea and certainly saved a lot of walking and was a great way to view the cattle in each paddock.

Delegations on feed trailers towed by large tractors

One of the farms that wintered out their stock was the Mochrum Herd at Old Place of Mochrum, Port William, Newton Stewart, where we were welcomed by Mr David Bertie, a cousin of the late Miss Flora Stuart, known world-wide as the custodian of the Galloway breed. His herd of 60 cows is one of the oldest established herds in the Belted Galloway herd book. His beautiful property located in a far-flung corner of Wigtownshire, South West Scotland, was one of the highlights, and included a 15th century restored castle with lovely gardens beside the Mochrum Lochs.

Monday night saw our 5 coach loads arrive in Edinburgh at 7pm, for dinner followed by the world famous Edinburgh Tattoo. It was a great experience, and we got a taste of the pending winter, wrapped up in Scottish rugs & balaclavas. The organisers even turned on a snow making machine as part of the show which added to the very cold conditions. We were able to say it snowed in Edinburgh in September!

Wednesday was the final day of the Congress, so after visiting the Ross families farms we arrived at Drumlanrig Castle, home of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. The Duke is President of the Galloway Cattle Society and member of the Belted Galloway Society and is one of the biggest land holders in the UK. Here they were warmly welcomed by the Duke – Richard, as we all assembled for a group photo on the Horseshoe steps in front of the Castle. They were then treated to a delicious lunch of finger food, before a tour of the castle and the extensive gardens. The Duke was very friendly, spending several hours walking around talking individually to the entire group.

A group photo of most of the kiwi contingent. They are from left: Gary Jordan & Janice Beare, Tracy Wood & Geoff, Jill Maxwell & Lynton, John Berridge, Jill & Roger Fraser, Bob & Karen Curry and Barry McAlley. (Not present in the photo were Angela & Garry McNaughton and Phil & Marg Forman).

Roger & Bob sampling the local “Beltie” beer – “it was not a bad drop ma Lad” as they say in Scotland!

It was certainly a very busy and interesting 5 days, and all those that were fortunate enough to attend, will carry many memories of this Congress.

After the Congress we all went our separate ways, Karen & Bob visiting friends in Middlesbrough & Tewksbury England, touring Wales in a rental car. They then travelled across on the Holly head ferry to Dublin where they stayed with the Goodwins (good friends & neighbour’s family). Whilst in Ireland, they took the opportunity to check out some Family genealogy in Northern Ireland, and toured a good portion of Ireland. They then flew to Lisbon and toured Portugal & Spain for a couple of weeks, blobbing out at Lagos before getting back to NZ, having been away approximately 9 weeks. Fortunately all the Galloways at home were doing well under the capable management of on-site manager – Bruce Meek, adding the icing to a very successful trip.

Rare Breeds Society inspect Suncrest’s White Galloway Cattle – May 2016

The Rare Breeds Society of NZ conducted a field tour in conjunction with their 2016 AGM which was held at Staglands Wildlife Park in the Akatarawa Valley near Upper Hutt. As part of that Field Tour members visited nearby Suncrest White Galloway Cattle Stud on Sunday 15 May to inspect White Galloway Cattle which are registered in New Zealand as a Rare Breed.

Members of the Rare Breeds Society of NZ inspect Suncrest’s White Galloway Cattle

Fortunately the day was fine so members enjoyed the opportunity to get up close and personal with the cattle. The visitors seemed very impressed with the depth of girth and solidness of the Suncrest stock, some commenting that they really reminded them of the conformation of the original English heritage breeds in the UK.

Suncrest’s Stock do well at the Galloway Cattle Society of NZ’s Annual Virtual Show – April 2016

Yearling heifer Suncrest Arctic Katelin (HBN 15866) took out Champion Yearling at the Galloway Cattle Society of New Zealand’s Annual Virtual Show which was held in New Plymouth on 16 April 2016.

This show was for all Galloway breeds (Whites, Standard & Belted), and Suncrest Arctic Katelin then went on to take out Champion Female (all ages) ahead of Suncrest Arctic Dale (HBN 13179) who was awarded Champion Senior Cow and Reserve Champion Female.

In addition Suncrest Arctic Isobel was awarded runner up in the Senior Cow Class.

Suncrest Arctic Katelin – Champion Female

Suncrest Arctic Dale – Reserve Champion Female

On the male side Suncrest’s Senior Bull – Suncrest Arctic Hadley (HBN 14230) was awarded Reserve Champion Senior Bull behind White Galloway Bull – Alpein White El Toro which was awarded Champion Senior Bull, and then went on to take out the Show Champion of Champions.

Suncrest Arctic Hadley – Reserve Champion Senior

On Farm Post Mortem Reveals Mystery Surrounding Sudden Death of Apparently Healthy Calf – February 2016

On 6 January 2016 Suncrest cow Ngutunui White Trixie (HBN 12209) gave birth to an apparently healthy bull calf, which grew into a particularly active calf attaining all of the development milestones generally at or ahead of normal times.

On the morning of 18 February 2016, at ~ 6 weeks old the calf was observed to be running around the paddock with other calves, and by mid afternoon it was observed lying motionless near a fence line. On closer inspection the calf was found to be dead and rigor mortis had set in, indicating that death had occurred not long after the calf had been observed running around in the paddock. Closer inspection did not reveal any marks on the ground where a struggle had occurred or any external damage or abrasions to the skin.

Fortunately, Suncrest’s then resident vet – Dr John O’Connell was on hand to perform a necropsy that evening, which quickly revealed the cause of death and allayed the normal fears of an accident with a fence or the like. On opening the abdomen, John noticed that the calf had suffered from a perforated ulcer of its fourth stomach (abomasum), which had led to diffuse and overwhelming peritonitis (infection and inflammation of the abdomen), explaining the relatively quick and sudden death.

John referred us to an article published in Beef Magazine in 2000 entitled “The Riddle of Abomasal Ulcers” by Gerald Stocker & Louis Perino –

The authors explain here that calves diagnosed with abomasal ulcers are generally found dead and that symptoms are very difficult to detect, and the condition is renowned for affecting otherwise very healthy calves. They also refer to studies published almost 90 years ago “…where 78-98% of 4-14 week calves in North America were documented as being affected by abomasal erosions and/or ulcers”. Since then the authors state that “We’ve made little progress in determining the conditions’ true prevalence in calves, the risk factors and/or causes”. Fortunately very few calves with abomasal ulcers / ulcerations go on to develop perforating ulcers.

As this was Suncrest’s very first calf fatality, and there was no external evidence of the cause of death, we are most grateful to John for identifying the cause and providing us with the relief that there was nothing we could have done to prevent the loss.

Results from White Galloway Colour Inheritance Research Seminar – Schleswig-Holstein, Germany – 8 September 2014

Following the World Galloway Congress in Wildeshausen, Germany, Karen & Bob attended 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 & good friend Mechthild Bening, and was hosted by RSH, the governing cattle breed organisation for the Schleswig-Holstein region.

On Mechthild’s initiative, Professors H Swalve and B Brenig, World reknown geneticists, agreed to investigate the mode of inheritance of colours and markings in White Galloways and the incidence of non typical colour patterns (black and poorly marked) when breeding a well marked (strong black points) bull to a well marked cow. The scope of the research was extended to investigate the incidence of the various colours obtained from breeding with black and poorly marked parent combinations with the aim of fully unravelling the genetic background.

The project as outlined in a previous News item entitled – Inheritance of Colour in the Cattle Breed White Galloway (August 2010) consists of the following two research components:

  1. Analysis of the Mode of Inheritance based on pedigree data and phenotypic records.
    For this purpose, recording sheets and an Excel template were set up and the resulting data was used for a pedigree analysis and segregation analysis. Based on phenotypic records and genetic relationships among animals, a segregation analysis attempts to analyse and statistically check the possibility of inheritance due to individual genes and their variants (alleles). This can be done without any molecular testing. This work was carried out by the group of Professor Swalve at the University of Halle.
  2. Molecular Analysis
    Conditional on the results of the pedigree analysis and segregation analysis, i.e. if there are significant results pointing to a Mendelian inheritance, the second part of the project was initiated. This component consists of the search for causal genes and their variants on a molecular basis. For the molecular analysis, blood samples, or in exceptional cases, also hair samples, of the animals which have been identified as especially important were subject to an extraction of their DNA. This project component will also use comparative genetics, i.e. a comparison of DNA sequences and/or functional genes across breeds and even species. It can be assumed that comparisons with genes that are causal for colour inheritance in horses will be helpful in this part of the study. The work was carried out by the group of Professor Brenig at the University of Göttingen. (In the past, the research group of Professor Brenig has been involved in the characterization of the MC1R gene in cattle on an international level).
Some of the White Galloway Cattle, exibiting the various colour patterns, which were used in the research project

After a brief introduction Professor Hermann Swalve from Halle-Wittenburg University presented a number of slides explaining how the project had come about. He commented that the many genes affecting colour inheritance were known, some of which were simple and some complicated, the well known MC1R and KIT being known to determine black/red and colour dilution.

He noted that colours do not contribute to economic value of the beef product but in the case of the White Galloway, colour forms the brand of the breed, contributes to its tradition, and was appealing to the eye. He went on to note that the aim of the White Galloway breeder was clear, i.e. to produce white animals with black muzzle, black ears and black feet. However attempts to achieve this goal sometimes failed, producing fully black and fully/almost all white progeny from well marked parents.

He further noted that there was much discussion amongst breeders, much of which was non-scientific and sometimes superstitious arguments like “we gotta add some colour and then…”

So the aim was to collect colours and markings of as many registered breeding animals as possible, recording colour and pedigree. For every Dam the aim was to collect this data on all of the calves even if these calves did not become registered breeding animals.

The research involved the collection of breeding records from a number of breeders in Germany, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand; and the results of the first component (using data up to September 2014) was presented by Professor Swalve; and the second component – on the molecular genetics was presented by Professor Brenig.

Professor Swalve observed that from the limited data to the end of 2013 the results seemed to indicate conformance with the Mendelian Mode of Inheritance. He explained that in diploid organisms, at every base pair of the DNA, there can be two variants, and hence three genotypes (A1A1; A1A2; A2A2).

The following table shows the results from the German database:

From the results in this table it is noted that although in some instances ther sample size is limited, there is general conformance with the Mendelian Mode of Inheritance (expected proportion in Table 1 – right hand column).

To summarise:

  • When mating a Poorly Marked with a Well or Strongly Marked there is a 50% chance of getting a Poorly Marked, a 50% chance of getting a Well or Strongly Marked, but no chance of getting a Full Black.
  • When mating a Poorly Marked with a Poorly Marked, all progeny will be Poorly Marked.
  • When mating a Well or Strongly Marked to a Well or Strongly Marked there isa 50% chance of getting a Well or Strongly Marked, a 25% chance of getting a Poorly Marked and a 25% chance of getting a Full Black.
  • When mating a Well or Strongly Marked to a Poorly Marked there is a 50% chance of getting a Well or Strongly Marked, a 50% chance of getting a Poorly Marked, but no chance of getting a Full Black.
  • When mating a Well or Strongly Marked with a Full Black, there is a 50% chance of getting a Well or Strongly Marked, a 50% chance of getting a Full Black, but no chance of getting a Poorly Marked.
  • When mating a Full Black with a Well or Strongly Marked there is a 50% chance of getting Well or Strongly Marked, a 50% chance of getting Full Black, but no chance of getting Poorly Marked (NB: Table 2 – on Suncrest’s stock shows getting 100% Well or Strongly Marked but the sample number is too small at only 3).
  • When mating a Poorly Marked with a Full Black, all progeny (100%) will be Well or Strongly Marked.
  • When mating a Full Black with a Poorly marked, all progeny (100%) will be Well or Strongly Marked.

Karen & Bob were blown away when Professor Swalve’s next slide was on the data received from their Suncrest Stud in New Zealand. This was most unexpected and quite an honour. The results presented were as follows:

Suncrest results show a higher than 50% Well or Strongly Marked, from Well or Strongly Marked to Well or Strongly Marked, and Well or Strongly Marked, to Poorly Marked matings, but the sample of only 36 animals is too small to be conclusive. Consistent with Mendelian predictions there is no evidence from the Suncrest database of producing a Full Black from a Well or Strongly Marked to Poorly Marked mating.

Professor Brenig, a molecular geneticist from the University of Gottingen then gave a presentation on the molecular approach to unravelling the inheritance in colour of the White Galloway (Extract from

Professor Brenig explained that White Galloway Cattle exhibit three different white coat colour phenotypes, that is, Well Marked, Strongly Marked and Poorly Marked. However he noted that mating of individuals with the preferred Well or Strongly Marked phenotype also results in off-spring with the undesired Poorly Marked and/or even Fully Black coat colour.

He further explained that in order to elucidate the genetic background of the coat colour variations in White Galloway cattle, he analysed four coat colour relevant genes: mast/stem cell growth factor receptor (KIT), KIT ligand (KITLG), Melanocorton 1 receptor (MC1R) and tyrosinase (TYR). He was able to show that the coat colour variations in White Galloway cattle and White Park cattle are caused by the KIT gene (chromosone 6) duplication and aberrant insertion on chromosone 29 (Cs29) as recently described for colour sided Belgian Blue cattle.

Professor Brenig stated that Homozygous (Cs29/Cs29)) White Galloway cattle and White Park cattle exhibit the Poorly Marked phenotype, whereas Heterozygous (Cs29/wt29) individuals are either well or strongly marked. In contrast fully black individuals are characterised by the wild-type Chromosone 29. As known for other cattlebreeds, mutations in the MC1R gene determine the red colouring. He further stated that the data suggests that the white coat colour variations in White Galloway cattle and White Park cattle are caused by a dose dependent effect, based on the ploidy of aberrent insertions and inheritance of the KIT gene on Chromosone 29.

Professor Brenig noted that it is still the breeders primary interest to breed first class, typical Galloway cattle (type of cattle, muscle and bone structures). And that in addition, the breeders of White Galloways are greatly interested in breeding animals which are Well Marked.

With the results of the research work as well as the knowledge gained concerning the colouring of the animals, he noted that a further instrument has been provided to help achieve this goal. Up to now we have seldom used poorly marked or black animals in our breeding programmes. But, in order to achieve our breeding goals, we can now mate animals having good exterior qualities with black-coloured White Galloways purposefully and meaningfully in spite of their mismarkings.

Professor Brenig advised that the next step is to implement these results in actual practice. It was possible to convince a considerable number of German breeders to participate in the purposeful breeding of animals during the spring and summer of 2013. In so doing, they are breeding Black and Poorly Marked male and female White Galloways having at least two generations of such colouring.

The RSH (Breeders Association) Rinderzucht Schleswig-Holstein eG has developed a special breeding programme for this and all of these animals were previously examined and judged by the breeding inspector of the Beef Cattle Department. By DNA testing of all animals at the Institute of Veterinary Medicine (University of Göttingen) it was checked that all of the poorly marked animals harbour the Homozygous White Genotype. With this it is expected that all of the calves from such matings will either be well marked or else strongly marked.

Professor Swalve then presented a summary of the findings, and lessons learnt, and provided some recommendations for the breeding of White Galloways. These are summarised as follows:

  1. White Galloways in the desired phenotype (Well Marked) should not be regarded as a separate breed.
  2. Apparent pure breeding of Well Marked with Well Marked does in deed result on average in 50% Well or Strongly Marked, 25% Poorly Marked and 25% Full Black.
  3. If the typical White Galloway is desired 100% of the time the breeder needs to breed Black with Poorly Marked White or Poorly Marked White with Black.

Point 3 was borne out most graphically here in New Zealand with Richard Izard’s herd in Warkworth, North Auckland, where in 2006, he put his poorly marked (WPM) bull Ngutunui White Alf (see photo) in with a mix of 28 Ngutunui Black Galloway and Black (White) Galloway cows (WFB), and all of the resulting progeny were well marked Whites (WWM).

In view of these results he noted that some rules may need to be changed, especially those applying to recommendations for mating to preserve colours.

He then presented options for breeders. They were:

  • Continue as before – no change.
  • Keep Poorly Marked White cows, buy Black bulls; and/or keep Black cows and buy Poorly marked bulls – produce more Well Marked Whites
  • ‘Equal rights policy’ – use all colours – Well Marked/Strong Marked, Poorly Marked & Black. Mate Black and Poorly Marked White as a preference. All other mating types ok too. Choose breeding animals on all other traits but colour to improve the herd.
  • Breed Well Marked with Well Marked and sell Poorly Marked & Full Black to other breeders.

He further noted that the problem of Strongly Marked (linked with Well Marked for the Study) was not solved since intra-uterine and environmental effects could play a role and genetic effects could also be a cause. He concluded that there was still a need to collect more data and samples.

After the Seminar the group travelled to Mechthild’s farm – ‘Galloway vom Bebensee’, where a collection of the White Galloway used in the study were on show. Some very interesting discussions ensued and everyone came away with thoughts on how all this would effect their respective breeding programmes.

For Suncrest, Karen & Bob indicated that they will continue to support the research programme by providing the necessary colour and pedigree information of future progeny on the forms provided.

From a breeding point of view, they have decided to continue breeding Well/Strongly Marked with Well/Strongly Marked with a view to maintaining a ‘Well Marked herd’, whilst through sales of Black and Poorly Marked progeny, provide other breeders with the opportunity to breed Poorly Marked with Black, and Black with Poorly Marked, to achieve 100% Well Marked progeny. In addition, a good market exists for Poorly Marked and Black bulls with the dairy industry thus avoiding the necessity to steer any bulls in the foreseeable future.

From post presentation discussions with Professor Swalve, it is apparent that there is no homozygosity with Well Marked White Galloways and that there is no colour genetic difference between a White Full Black Galloway and a Standard Black Galloway. This being the case, it should open up the gene pool to both White Galloway and Standard Galloway breeders, Society rules permitting.

Professor Swalve was questioned as to whether the use of a Strongly Marked bull (heavy spotting around the neck, as exhibited by Suncrest Arctic Bayley), was the reason for Suncrest’s slightly better odds of producing Well Marked progeny as shown in Table 2. He responded by saying that one of the reasons for these better odds could be that the sample was just too small; but that the effect from a Strongly Marked parent could not be discounted at this stage, and that, as mentioned previously, further research into the Strongly Marked influence was needed.

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.

Grasfresser’s stud bull – ‘Django vom Bebensee’, with a cow.
The Benys plus Yannick with Karen & Bob at the Fishbach Fest

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).

Some German and Canadian friends toast the bi-ennial reunion.
Bob proudly holding the New Zealand flag
One of the many hosted banquets held during the Congress.

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.

Travelling “cattle class” in a tractor towed covered wagon during a farm visit
Karen up close and personal with a Beltie Bull
Karen admiring a very nice White Heifer.
A novel, but very practical, mobile corral used by many farmers in Germany to safely transport their bulls from farm-lot to farm-lot.
A novel, but very practical, mobile corral used by many farmers in Germany to safely transport their bulls from farm-lot to farm-lot.
A fun tractor made from rolled and rectangular hay bale
A very nice White herd
A very proud Galloway Bull
This fine bull, owned and proudly shown here by Friedrich Wiegmann, was Supreme Winner of the recent Berlin Agricultural Show.

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.

From left – Karen, Konstanze’s Mum & Konstanze outside their villa.
A few of Osterland’s harvesting machines
One of the many Krieg extended family gatherings
From left – Andreas, good friend – Gerd, brother – Stephan & Bob make sure the brew is up to scratch.
The happy couple with tiny daughter Magdelina
One of the presents – a bale of hay baled with ~80 smallcontainers of money. They’ll earn this one!!
‘Sawing the log’ together – symbolic of dealing with life’s challenges.
The New Zealand flag flies along with the German flag at the Krieg’s Farm, honouring their Kiwi guests.

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.

Suncrest receives top awards for White Galloways at the 2014 Society’s Virtual Show – April 2014

Suncrest’s White Galloway cattle received top awards at the Galloway Cattle Society of New Zealand’s (GCSNZ) Annual Virtual Show at a prize-giving ceremony held in conjunction with the Society’s AGM at Alexandra, Central Otago in April 2014.

Senior Cow – ‘Suncrest Arctic Dale’ took out the Champion Senior Award for the entire show comprising all Galloway colour patterns – Galloway (black), White Galloway & Belted Galloway (see Figure 1), whilst Suncrest’s only other Senior Cow entry – ‘Suncrest Arctic Femme’ took out Reserve Champion Senior all colours.

Dale was also awarded the honour of Champion White Galloway with the trophy shown in Figure 2.

Figure 3 – Champion White Galloway – ‘Suncrest Arctic Dale’ (Herd Book Number – 13179)
Figure 4 – Suncrest’s certificates for various awards and first placings from the 2014 Show

Meanwhile Suncrest’s Senior Bull – ‘Whisperings Jasper’ was placed second in the Senior Male class for all breeds, and was runner up in that class to the Show’s overall Grand Champion, ‘Castle Innes’, a magnificent red Belted bull owned by Caroline Dawson of Foxton.

The show was held in conjunction with the 2014 AGM and Otago/Southland farm tour hosted by the Society’s ‘Southern Group’. The tour commenced in Queenstown with nights (first & last) in Queenstown, and a night each in Alexandra and in Gore. The organisers did an amazing job hosting the whole event which was made even more impressive by the number and magnitude of sponsors, making the entire event a very enjoyable, incredibly affordable event. In traditional southern style, everyone was made to feel very welcome, the very innovative, interesting and informative programme making this tour a truly memorable affair.

Fig 5 (above) – Past President Rob hall conducts a conformation Workshop at Sylvia Anderson’s Belted Galloway Stud at Otapiri

Fig 6 (left) – Good friend and fellow breeder Richard Dyson stuck in a head bale awaiting ear tagging and/or ….???

Highlights of the tour were too numerous to mention, much inter-breeder networking took place, and a great time and lots of fun was had by all. Congratulations must go out to the organisers for pulling off such a successful event.

DNA Results Validate and Assist Suncrest’s Herd Selection Programme – August 2013

Whilst in Canada attending the World Galloway Congress, fellow Canadian Galloway breeder John McIllwraith introduced Bob & Karen to the Igenity Profile System whereby using the power of DNA, Igenity can help to understand and manage the potential for cattle to perform and transmit traits of economic importance. Igenity profile scores traits such as:

  • Carcass Composition (yield grade, rib-eye area and back-fat thickness);
  • Carcass Quality (marbling and quality grade);
  • Maternal and Reproductive Traits (heifer pregnancy rate, stay ability and maternal calving); and,
  • Average Daily Gain (residual feed intake and daily gain)

and allows breeders to determine how their herds’ genetics compares with Galloway breed/country benchmarks available in the Igenity database; and allows them to sort and rank their cattle based on traits that are most important to them.

In June 2013 Bob & Karen took hair samples from some selected White Galloway breeding cows and bulls with a view to assessing the genetics of their herd, how it rated with country benchmarks for the breed, and whether important traits of progeny of selected matings were improved.

The resulting Igenity Profiles for their animals were very interesting but to fully understand the benefits they need to be read in conjunction with the Igenity Results Key for Beef which can be found on the Igenity web site –

Briefly the profiles use a score of 1-10 with the values in between reflecting the relative difference expected in animals compared to contemporaries with an Igenity Profile score of 1. Higher scores are not necessarily better i.e. the lower the score for Residual Feed Intake, the less the animal needs to achieve the same gains, but most traits e.g. Average Daily Gain, the higher the better. As an example, if Animal A has an I-Score of 7 for Average Daily Gain (in effect 0.25kg/day), and Animal B has an I-Score of 3 (in effect – 0.06kg/day); and if Animal A gains 1.55 kg/day, then it is predicted that Animal B will gain Animal A’s gain less the I-Score equivalent difference (0.25-0.06=0.19kg/day), giving Animal B an Average Daily Gain of 1.36kg/day.

The following table gives the Igenity results from selected Suncrest cows and bulls, and shows averages for each trait as compared with an average result from a Canadian Galloway breeder, and the whole of the USA.

At a glance Table 1 shows that Suncrest’s cows score a much lower Residual Feed Intake (IScore 3.9 or 0.59kg/day) than the North American average (I-Score 5.7 or 1.0kg/day), requiring on average 0.41kg/day less for the same gain than their N. American counterpart. In addition Suncrest herd’s Average Daily Gain (I-Score 5.9 or in effect 0.20kg/day) exceeds the North American average (I-Score 5.3 or 0.16kg/day) by 0.04kg/day, (with minimal hard feed supplements).

The table also shows that Suncrest’s Carcass Quality traits (Tenderness, Marbling and Percent Choice) compares favourably with the North American average, as generally does the Carcass Composition and Maternal & Reproductive traits. See Tables 2, 3, 4 & 5 –comparing Suncrest’s distribution (My Animal Distribution in tables) for traits – Residual Feed Intake (RFI), Average Daily Gain, Tenderness & Marbling, with that of USA Galloways (Benchmark Group Distribution in tables) respectively.

More importantly when comparing the Igenity Scores of Suncrest’s Sire/Dam matings with the I-Scores of their progeny, a significant improvement in most traits is noticed, thereby validating Suncrest’s herd selection and mating programme (see Table 6).

Table 6 shows that whilst the Residual Feed Intake I-Score for the progeny is greater than those of their Dam (a negative), the Average Daily Gain is the same as or an improvement on both parents. Carcass quality of progeny shows an increase in Tenderness over that of both parents, and progeny have a higher I-Score for Marbling and Percent Choice than their Dams. Meanwhile Carcass Composition traits for the progeny are the same as or an improvement on their Dams, and the four Maternal & Reproductive trait scores of the progeny are an overall improvement on the average scores of both parents.



Unfortunately Suncrest’s parent to progeny sample is small at this stage, as a lot of the progeny had been sold prior to doing these Igenity Profiles. Plans are to have the Profiles done for replacement heifers, a new Stud Sire, and this year’s crop of calves, thereby providing a larger, and more significant database, thus allowing more conclusive results and better information for breeding decisions.

However whilst the parent to progeny sample is small, definite improvements are evident, and the Igenity profiles, coupled with an assessment of animal structure, physique, temperament and a number of performance measures, will enable better decisions into the future on which Dams & Progeny should be held or culled, and which Sires should be used over which Dams.

In summary, the Igenity Scores are now being used to provide more informed herd management decisions, in conjunction with other selection criteria. The I-Score traits most important to Suncrest’s herd and farming operation are now being selected, and more weight is being placed on the traits considered most relevant to Suncrest’s herd improvement objectives.

World Galloway Congress – Canada, 2012 and USA farm visits – Oct/Nov 2012

Karen and Bob took the opportunity for the third time to represent Suncrest Stud and New Zealand at a World Galloway Congress, this time held in Guelph, Toronto, Canada from 2-6 October.  

The Congress is held every second year, with each member country getting a chance to host the Congress about every 20 years.  The New Zealand delegation this year comprised Barry McAlley, Ray Cursons, and Karen & Bob Curry and the location was very pertinent to New Zealand as it was from Canada that White Galloway semen was first imported into New Zealand to start the nucleus of the first White Galloway herd.

The meeting was particularly interesting this year with the introduction of an open forum session following the normal round of Country Reports. This session was lively and stimulating and was well chaired by Canadian Chairman John Mcllwraith, especially bearing in mind that there is not always international agreement on many of the topics covered. Nevertheless at least they were addressed and the way is set for more open and frank discussions at future Congress. A highlight of the meeting was the presence of Patricia Pruitt, author of ‘The Chronological History of Galloways in North America’ and her extensive knowledge on the subject. She was selling the last few copies of her book, a copy of which was purchased by Bob & Karen, and now treasured.

At the Congress newly elected President Georg Menke, announced on behalf of the BDG German Galloway Society, an invitation to everyone to attend the next World Galloway Conference to be held in Wildeshausen, Central Germany from 2-7 September 2014. It was further announced that the following 2016 Congress would likely be hosted by Scotland.

The meeting was followed by the Congress Dinner and in true Scottish tradition the Haggis was piped in with each delegate holding their country flag on a ice-hockey polo-stick, ski pole or similar.

As is mostly the case at these occasions the informal discussions and on-farm or ranch visits were the most interesting and beneficial part of attending the Programme. The programme included numerous farm visits and attendance at the Erin Fall Fair, which hosts a large cattle show. A number of good friendships were started and old ones rekindled, and many useful contacts were made throughout the programme.

It was certainly good to meet sister Canadian breeders ‘Suncrest Farms’ and Bob & Karen took the opportunity to present the owners Clay & Kathy Salter with their NZ ‘Suncrest White Galloway Cattle’ LED light caps. Suncrest Farms, Ontario have been a big part of the White Galloway breeding scene in North America and they do very well at the shows throughout Canada and the USA.

Suncrest Stud of the Southern Hemisphere meets Suncrest Farms of the Northern Hemisphere – Clay Salter & Bob in both North American hats (left) and Kiwi hats (right).

A huge thanks must go to co-organisers John & Lee Mcllwraith, and Chad & Colleen Card for their wonderful hospitality, and congratulations on the running of such an interesting and successful Congress Programme.

Following the Congress Bob & Karen took the opportunity to visit a number of Galloway breeders in the USA, firstly visiting Uphill Farm near New York who have recently purchased semen from both Suncrest Stud Sires (see August 2012 News article).

Then south to Virginia to stay with Charles & Marilyn Barnes, White breeders, who came to NZ for the 2008 Congress and stayed at Suncrest NZ for a few days after.  They farm ~500 acres in the west of the State and manage another farm in West Virginia; and were an inspiration to Bob & Karen with all their daily activities associated with milking by hand, raising cattle, forestry, client deer-hunting and self-sufficiency that they got up to.  Both in their 70’s, Charles & Marilyn either grow or make just about everything served on the table and lead incredibly active lives, including riding around the forestry tracks and inspecting stock on mountain bikes.  They also have a very catchy email address with the words “IFARMUEAT”.

Then it was on to Dick and Lisa William’s Stonesthrow Farm in South Carolina.  Dick and Lisa also attended the 2008 Congress in NZ and stayed a few days with Bob & Karen afterwards.  They too have a lovely property and specialise in Belted Galloway breeding using AI and embryo transfer to recipient mothers – generally Angus-Hereford crosses, and produce some impressive registrable progeny, which have done very well at the shows, and subsequent sales throughout the USA.

After Dick & Lisa’s Bob & Karen took Jon & Sylvia Bednarski up on their offer at the Congress to stay with them on their farm in Kentucky. Jon is President of the Belted Galloway Society in the USA and runs two farms fattening Bellted Galloway for the meat market, taking the operation right through to table cuts for the customer, and selling the meat in their own store associated with their large storage unit business. Jon also sells log cabins and their house is a grand example of how log construction can be refined into a stunning home in every respect.

Jon accompanied by Sylvia, have undertaken to visit every state in the US and write an article on a selected Belted Galloway breeder in each state. Their articles are published in their Society’s periodical magazine (US Beltie News) and are a wonderful insight into the diversity of breeders and their various farming operations throughout the USA. To date they have visited 20 states and plan to complete their mission during Jon’s term as President.

After chasing music at Nashville, The Grand Ole Oprey, Memphis and Gracelands Bob & Karen visited two White Galloway breeders (Dawson & Debbie Masters & Dawn & Erick Swensson) both near Dallas, Texas and then travelled on up to Debbie & Dean Vance’s DD Ranch near Boulder, Colorado, with the biggest registered White Galloway herd we saw (~30 head). All breeders visited were most welcoming and hospitable! even at short notice, and were keen to show Bob & Karen their stock.

Debbie & Dean have another interest apart from renovating their stately old home – that is wine-making and what a wonderful job of it they do with buying in local grapes and producing exquisite wine on a very small scale, winning many awards at the local amateur wine maker competitions.

The remainder of the trip was more tourist orientated, apart from catching up with relatives in both Canada and the USA. All in all a most interesting and stimulating insight into how other people farm and produce very good cattle on hardly any grass, using plenty of grain and other supplementary feed.

Became tourists in Canada and the USA.

Suncrest Stud Exports Semen to USA – August 2012

Suncrest Stud confirmed that their first order of licensed export semen into the USA arrived at Uphill Farm in New York State in August 2012. The semen from Suncrest Stud Sires Suncrest Arctic Bayley and Whisperings Jasper will be used to diversify the bloodlines for long time respected White Galloway breeder – Uphill Farm.

Whilst in the USA recently, Karen & Bob visited Uphill Farm to meet with staff and see the stock with which the semen will be used. Uphill Farm has a long tradition of showing in the USA and their bloodlines have been used widely throughout North America.

It is exciting to see New Zealand bloodlines exported to North America, not far from the source of the first White Galloway semen which was imported to form the nucleus of the White Galloway herd here in New Zealand.

Karen & Bob with Mary Stephens

Stepping down as Councillor on the Galloway Society of NZ – April 2012

Karen Curry of Suncrest Stud represented the Wellington, Horowhenua, Manawatu and Wairarapa regions as Councillor at the Galloway Cattle Society of New Zealand’s Annual General Meeting and Stud Tour which was held in Nelson on 24 March 2012.

At the meeting which was attended by 34 members it was announced that Karen was standing down from her position as Councillor for the Lower North Island regions, having served out her 3-year term on the Executive. Karen advised that she was not seeking re-election but was more than happy to help the Committee out as and when appropriate.

Both Karen & husband Bob have served time as Society Councillors and three highlights during their time have been:

  • Organisation and management of the AGM, Virtual Show and Stud Tour in the Lower North Island in 2010.
  • Introduction and implementation of the Virtual Show which has proved to be a popular and successful event, held in conjunction with the AGM and annual dinner.
  • Liaison with prominent German White breeder Methtild Bening and co-ordination of New Zealand White Galloway breeders’contribution to Professor H H Swalves (Martin-Luther University) research programme on the inheritance of colour in White Galloway Cattle (ongoing).

Both Karen & Bob have continued to play an active part with breeders in the Lower North Island and are always available to help out with local Society projects where and when necessary.

It is their hope that through the co-operation with the German research programme that some useful findings may emerge which can be used to improve breeders understanding of colour genetics and assist with future selective breeding of White Galloway cattle.

Colour patterns in White Galloway Cattle (photo courtesy R & S Dyson)

Galloways thrive in record snowfalls at Suncrest – August 2011

White Galloway Cattle thrived during a record snowfall at Suncrest Stud. A polar blast straight off the Antarctic ice shelf brought an extremely cold, moisture laden air stream north to New Zealand producing snow down to sea level as far north as Auckland (first snow since 1939), and record snow depths to much of the North Island. At Suncrest, snow depths reached ~20cm, and snow lay on the ground for five days, the heaviest dump for many decades (estimated to have a return period for the area of 1 in 50 years). This is in contrast with most years when only a flurry of snow falls in the Mangaroa Valley and a light dusting is seen on the hills for a day or two.

Snowfall at Suncrest Stud

So this was the first real test of the resilience of the Galloway herd at Suncrest to heavy snow. Apart from the fact that the snow completely covered the pasture preventing grazing, the Galloways thrived in the record low temperatures, their double coat insulating them well against the elements. A noticeable difference between the Galloways and a Friesian cow grazing with one of the herds, was that the Galloways had 2-3cm of unmelted snow on their backs whilst the Friesian had none and was clearly feeling the cold, demonstrating the superior insulating properties of the Galloway’s coat.

The following pictorial gallery shows the conditions which the Galloways endured so well, undoubtedly with thanks to their Scottish Highland heritage, not to mention some feeding out! Fellow Galloway breeders in the South of New Zealand, who experience snow conditions more often, and for much longer, can testify to the Galloways ability to withstand and seemingly enjoy extremely cold conditions.

White Galloway Cattle thrived

In contrast, January last year Bob & Karen stayed with Colleen & Dion Smith on their White Galloway Stud at Womboota, near Euchuca, outback Australia. Here White Galloways, whilst enduring drought conditions with daily maximum temperatures in excess of 45 degrees C, were seen to be doing really well, demonstrating that the Galloway can handle an extremely wide range of climatic conditions.

In contrast, White Galloway in searing heat – outback Australia

Suncrest Stud Exports Semen to Australia – August 2011

Suncrest Stud signed a contract with Semex Pty Ltd Australia on 4 July 2011 for the export of semen from its Stud Sires – Suncrest Arctic Bayley and Whisperings Jasper to Semex’s base in Melton, Victoria, for distribution to White Galloway Cattle breeders throughout Australia.

Semex Pty Ltd’s General Manager for Australasia – Jim Conroy advised he was keen to list the two Suncrest White Galloway bulls to Semex’s beef breeder catalogues and to actively market the semen through their companies various publications and promotions.

This will be the first White Galloway semen to be listed in Semex’s catalogue and Semex’s International Beef Programs Manager – Myles Immerkar advised that he has had international enquiries for White Galloway semen.

Suncrest Stud Offers White Galloway Semen for Sale Internationally – July 2011

In conjunction with the collection of semen suitable for export to South Africa, Suncrest now holds a stock of export licensed semen from their two White Galloway Stud Sires – Suncrest Arctic Bayley and Whisperings Jasper:

Suncrest Arctic Bayley (HBN – 12574)
click for 5 gen pedigree (PDF is required)
or here for Suncrest Arctic Bayleys stud page
Suncrest Arctic Bayley (HBN – 12574)
click for 5 gen pedigree (PDF is required)
or here for Whisperings Jaspers stud page

The semen from these two bulls is licensed for export to all countries except EU and China, and is now being made available for sale to all other countries except South Africa.

Suncrest Stud commented that due to the extensive testing undertaken to achieve the high level of international licensing for the semen, the straws were more likely to appeal to the international market.

For all enquiries please click here to link ad on Web site – Stock for Sale page.

Suncrest Stud Exports Semen and Embryos to South Africa – June 2011

It all got started with a phone call one December morning in 2010. Dave Draper, a South African businessman was visiting New Zealand for a week with his son who was undertaking rugby coaching in the Manawatu/Hawke Bay regions. Dave had been watching the Suncrest website from his home in Durban and had obtained approval from the South African agriculture authorities to import Galloway cattle from New Zealand. South Africa had imported Standard Galloway cattle in the past, but apparently the blood lines had all been out-crossed with other breeds. However, the fact that South Africa had already had Standard Galloways in the past paved the way for South African Government approval to re-import Galloways, with Dave & Lauren Draper preferring the White and Belted type.

Interestingly Dave explained that their preference for the White and Belted Galloway was partially based on their distinctive colour patterns, and the fact that they would not be as prone to cattle rustling as they could be easily identified. He explained that they farm in a high stock-theft area, and the thieves drive the cattle over a vast area of mountains in the Southern Drakensberg, into Lesotho. The distinctive belt of the “Belties” and the brilliant white of the “White Galloway” means they are too easily recognisable and therefore traceable. He also explained that the thieves do not steal cattle with short legs (such as the Dexter) as they cannot drive them over the mountains quickly enough.

However Dave did err towards the taller type of Galloway as they could run faster if confronted by wild predators in the region, although he commented that unfortunately nothing can outrun the cheetah or the occasional leopard that comes into the area, but as these occurrences are rare they have to learn to live with them.

Other characteristics the Drapers were looking for was the Galloway’s gentle nature. They explained that there are many small holdings in South Africa with the Government hoping to implement a further ~50,000 subsistence farming plots this year alone. A naturally polled animal that is gentle, and thus unlikely to push down fences, and create havoc on a smaller plot, was therefore highly enticing. The Galloways ability to survive quite happily in the colder regions, and to rely on their double coat of hair in winter, and not to accumulate “backfat” as most breeds need to do in winter, was also an intriguing option. The area Dave & Lauren farm suffers from very cold winters and this double coat means 20-25% less food intake in cold weather. For Lauren, it was an easy choice – they are quite simply “beautiful”, and she fell in love with them from the Suncrest web site.

So Dave rang from where he was staying in Palmerston North and enquired whether he could travel down that day and view the Suncrest stock in person. Fortunately Bob & Karen did not have any other pressing commitments that day, so 2 hours later Dave was on site viewing the stock and good conversation was had on a wide range of topics. Dave obviously liked what he saw, and following his meeting with Robyn How at the Tararua Breeding Centre, rang back to say he wanted Suncrest to source two bulls (Suncrest Arctic Bayley and one other) for semen collection; and two heifers for embryo collection, each being as diverse in pedigree as possible.

The requirement for semen from two bulls was based on the programme being able to use existing non-exportable straws from the semen bank over the eggs from the two heifers, thereby obtaining two sets of unrelated embryos which, with the semen from the two unrelated bulls, would sustain a five-year breeding programme in South Africa. Fortunately the South African authorities gave their approval to use the non-exportable semen in the programme on the basis that the biological material in the form of semen was being exported within the embryos, and not as straight semen.

Suncrest Arctic Bayley (HBN – 12574)
click for 5 gen pedigree (PDF is required)
or here for Suncrest Arctic Bayleys stud page
Suncrest Arctic Bayley (HBN – 12574)
click for 5 gen pedigree (PDF is required)
or here for Whisperings Jaspers stud page
Lifestyle Dayna (HBN – 12713)
click for 5 gen pedigree (PDF is required)
Tuibrook Candy (HBN – 14174)
click for 5 gen pedigree(PDF is required)

So the programme began in earnest, and after much vet testing and quarantining, the two heifers were trucked off to the Kiwi Embryo Co near Hastings, Hawke Bay; and the two bulls to the Tararua Breeding Centre, near Woodville, North Wairarapa, to embark on their respective collection programmes.

Both collections went well with good numbers of frozen embryos (100%) collected from Dayna and Candy respectively; and semen from both bulls being of ‘excellent’ quality, and both cows and bulls were subsequently returned to Suncrest after being away for about 4 months.

All the genetic material is being exported to the Drapers in South Africa by Tararua Breeding Centre, and Bob & Karen wish Dave & Lauren well with their nuclei of genetics, and all the very best with their breeding programme.

Suncrest are proud to have been a part of this significant and very exciting development programme.

During his visit, Dave invited Bob & Karen to undertake an on-farm (In South Africa) progress inspection once calves were on the ground. Both are naturally excited about this, and are looking forward to the opportunity to inspect the resulting progeny, rekindle the good friendship made, and witness the beginnings of the first White Galloway herd in South Africa!

Suncrest attends Auckland AGM & Stud Tour – April 2011

April 2011 saw Karen & Bob of Suncrest Stud attending the Society’s 2011 Annual General Meeting, Stud Tour and Virtual Show in the Auckland region during the weekend 8-10 April.

The Friday saw 30 members and friends enjoy the day with Carl Fenton on Waiheke Island, inspecting amongst other things, the Church Bay Belted Galloways. The Church Bay tour was laid on in style with 6 Gators and 2 quad bikes for transport around the farm, where amazing vistas could be taken in of the landscape and surrounding Hauraki Gulf. Kindly hosted by Carl, Karen & Bob travelled to the Island the day before to help organise the day, and with their 7-seater Patrol, assisted with transporting delegates to and from the ferry and around the Island.

Galloway Society members line up ready for the Church Bay farm tour on Waiheke Island.
Driver Bob Curry; co-pilot Pat Clinton; with Ron Smith providing the sometimes necessary balance.
Delegates at Church Bay Farm, Waiheke Island.

Saturday morning saw the coach depart from Auckland visiting studs enroute to the overnight venue Warkworth, where the AGM and second Virtual Show were held. The Virtual Show, introduced by Bob & Karen the year before, was once again a great success with the number of entries up considerably from the first year.

Sunday’s programme included more stud visits enroute back to Auckland, wrapping up a very interesting and enjoyable weekend. Congratulations to the organisers for a very well run event and a big thanks to the studs who provided food and refreshments.

World Galloway Congress – Danmark – 2010 and German farm visits – August 2010

August 2010 saw Bob & Karen travelling to Europe to attend the World Galloway Cattle Congress hosted by The Galloway Association of Danmark at the Hotel Pejsegarden in Braedstrup from 31 August to 4 September. They, together with Barry McAlley, NZ Delegate and President of the Galloway Society of New Zealand, attended the conference along with delegates and attendees from most of the Galloway breeding countries of the world.

World Congress Delegates

Activities commenced with a welcome and official opening, then followed reports from each of the organisations represented. The general theme through the reports was that most countries were experiencing increasing membership and registrations. At the meeting of the Governing Council John McIllwraith from Canada was elected President and George Menke from Germany, the Vice President. The procedure is that the next country to host the Congress (every 2 years) is elected President, and the one after that (4 years) – Vice President
The following day involved a bus tour visiting breeder’s farms and other places of interest including the Mols Institute which pioneered the use of Galloways to graze conservation areas. This was followed by the official dinner in the evening. Many faces were familiar from the 2008 Congress in New Zealand and often it was like picking up from where things were left off 2 years ago.

The next three days were spent visiting more farms and conservation areas, a historic inn, a bull testing station and a restored medieval village. The tour included a visit to Aro an off-shore island, where the mode of transport was stock trailer on the back of a tractor, bringing new meaning to travelling cattle class!

…bringing new meaning to travelling cattle class!

On Aro a herd of Galloway were seen grazing large tracts of conservation lands, and a lone Scottish piper was seen playing his bagpipes much to the delight of the many “scotties” on the tour.
In Danmark, Galloways have been very successful in meeting strict requirements for grazing conservation areas, and this coupled with their ability to graze outside in winter makes them a popular beef breed and their owners well subsidised for their efforts.

White Galloways grazing a conservation area on Niels & Sonja Nielsen’s farm in Danmark

Big thanks must go to the Danish breeders for stepping in at short notice to host the Congress, their hospitality and friendship was wonderful and no doubt many who attended will be looking forward to attending the 2012 Congress to be held in Ontario, Canada. See you there!

Breeders from Germany, Austria, Australia & NZ being hosted by Judith, Johannes & Lucas Bock of Galloways von Buchenau.

Once Danmark was known as the country to host the 2010 Congress, several German Galloway breeders who attended the 2008 Congress in Auckland, offered to host Bob & Karen, first in the Hessen (central) region of Germany before the Congress commenced, and after the Congress in the Schleswig-Holstein (north-east) region. A full programme of stud visits was arranged in the Hessen region, the wonderful hospitality extended by some – particularly Horst Kraft of Galloways vom Bechtelsberg, making for very long but extremely interesting days – sometimes not getting back to lodgings until after mid night. Then it was off to a different area early the next morning for more interesting farm visits. Hospitality also extended to travel by road to and from the Congress in Danmark, accommodation, and numerous meals and entertainment in breeders homes. A similar programme was arranged in the Schleswig-Holstein region, this time visiting mainly White herds arranged by our wonderful host Mechthild Bening of Galloways Vom Bebensee fame, who prepared a comprehensive itinerary and background booklet of all the studs visited.

Much discussion was had about breeding programmes and in particular issues relating to White Galloway colour patterns. Mechthild is working with researchers on a science project looking into the genetics of the various colour patterns (strong black points, faded points, black Whites, and a variety of other markings) entitled “Inheritance of colour in cattle breed White Galloway”.

Within the breed Galloway, different lines, characterized by their colour and often referred to as distinct breeds, are found. These lines are predominantly Red, Black, or Belted Galloways. The line White Galloway is rarer. White Galloways are white to creamy in colour and bear black markings on muzzle, ears and feet. Sometimes also other parts of the body are spotted and / or the desired markings, especially of the feet, are lacking or are over pronounced. It is well known that progeny from matings of animals exhibiting the desired phenotype may not at all show this phenotype or are even totally black in colour. Hence, it would be desirable to obtain a highly accurate knowledge of the mode of inheritance of colour and colour patterns and of the individual genes that are involved.

The prime researcher – Prof. Swalve of the University of Halle in Germany has written an article updating what has been done so far in the research project, and is looking for international co-operation to broaden the database on colour genetics. An approach is to be made to the Galloway Cattle Society of NZ seeking the co-ordinated co-operation of NZ White breeders and already the folk at Suncrest Stud are working with Mechthild on this.

A brief outline of the project follows:

Inheritance of Colour in the Cattle Breed White Galloway

Prof. Dr. Hermann H. Swalve
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg

1 Introduction
Within the breed Galloway, different lines, characterized by their colour and often referred to as distinct breeds, are found. These lines are predominantly Red, Black, or Belted Galloways. The line White Galloway is rarer.

White Galloways are white to creamy in colour and bear black markings on muzzle, ears and feet. Sometimes also other parts of the body are spotted and / or the desired markings, especially of the feet, are lacking or are over pronounced. It is well known that progeny from matings of animals exhibiting the desired phenotype may not at all show this phenotype or are even totally black in colour. Hence, it would be desirable to obtain a highly accurate knowledge of the mode of inheritance of colour and colour patterns and of the individual genes that are involved.

2 Colour inheritance in cattle
In general, coat colours in mammals are governed by a whole series of genes and also by non-genetic influences. A well-known gene is the MC1R gene which is responsible for the basic colours red and white. Other genes are known as “diluting” genes which can lighten up the colours and again other genes are responsible for spotting and other colour patterns. The distribution of spots can be due to even more genes or be regulated by nongenetic factors.

The level of knowledge on the inheritance of coat colours and its patterns is different among the breeds of cattle. Summarizing, it can be said that, in cattle, the number of causal genes which are clearly identified on a molecular level is very low. Hence, there is a high demand for research.

3 Colour inheritance in White Galloways
Despite the fact that the mode of inheritance of colours and markings in White Galloways up to now is mostly unclear, it is attempted to fix rules, e.g. for registering animals in herdbooks, according to their colour. The basic rules of inheritance suggest that matings of animals with “perfect” colours and markings will yield the highest probability of obtaining offspring with the same colours. However, it is also quite clear that this strategy is not always successful and also it has to be decided what to do with animals with “perfect” colours and markings that are offspring from parents that not at all show these “perfect” characteristics. Hence, there is a specific demand for further research in the White Galloway breed.

4 The project
Mrs Mechthild Bening, Bebensee, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, took the initiative to suggest a scientific project dealing with the mode of inheritance of colours and markings in White Galloways with the aim of fully unravelling the genetic background. The project is consisting of two components:

  • Analysis of the mode of inheritance based on pedigree data and phenotypic records. For this purpose, recording sheets and an Excel template have been set up. Firstly, living animals should be recorded as long with their ancestors so that deep pedigrees will result. The recording of influential ancestors with all their offspring is of utmost importance. This data will be used for a pedigree analysis and if possible and depending on the suitability of the data, a segregation analysis will be carried out. Based on phenotypic records and genetic relationships among animals, a segregation analysis attempts to analyse and statistically check the possibility of inheritance due to individual genes and their variants (alleles). This can be done without any molecular testing. This work is carried out by the group of Prof. Swalve at the University of Halle.
  • Conditionally on the results of the pedigree analysis and segregation analysis, i.e. if there are significant results pointing to a Mendelian inheritance, the second part of the project can be initiated. This part consists of the search for causal genes and their variants on a molecular basis. For the molecular analysis, blood samples or in exceptional cases also hair samples of the animals which have been identified as especially important will be subject to an extraction of their DNA. This project part will also use comparative genetics, i.e. a comparison of DNA sequences and / or functional genes across breeds and even species. It can be assumed that comparisons with genes that are causal for colour inheritance in horses will be helpful in this part of the study. The work will be carried out by the group of Prof. Brenig at the University of Göttingen. In the past, the research group of Prof. Brenig has been involved in the characterization of the MC1R gene in cattle on an international level.

5 Support from the breeders is necessary
The project can only be successful if it is supported by the White Galloway breeders. The initiative of Mrs Bening is a good start. The work of recording of phenotypes and the collection of corresponding pedigrees should initially focus on large families including all offspring even if individual animals may not have been actively used for breeding. In the molecular analysis, influential parents will be especially important.

The Project and How to Get it to Work
Hermann H. Swalve; Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany;

The project

Not very much is known about the genetic background of the inheritance of colours and markings in cattle and especially within the Galloway breed. In White Galloways (WGA) the desired phenotype is an animal which is creamy-white, except for ears, muzzle, and feet. The underlying genotype is unknown. A phenotype in general denotes what you see whereas a genotype is made up of variants of genes, called alleles, for one gene or even a large number of genes. It is the task of animal geneticists to uncover the links between genotype and phenotype.

A general rule is that chances to obtain offspring with ideal colour and markings are higher if parents of the desired phenotype are mated. But the result is not guaranteed. This is so because some alleles maybe dominant while others are recessive and new combinations of alleles may come together in the offspring.

Confusion exists whether the breed White Galloway indeed is a breed or just a phenotype. This may lead to even more confusion whether an animal with perfect colour and markings can be registered as a White Galloway even if its parents are not “perfect” or vice versa, i.e. the question of whether a White Galloway with offspring in different colour and markings can still be a registered White Galloway. The answers to all these questions are yet unknown. However, preliminary data points to assume that the White Galloway phenotype is indeed the result of a distinct genotype. The objective of the project is to scientifically solve the “WGA-mystery”, i.e. to unravel the mechanisms of colour inheritance in White Galloways.

The background

The project was initiated by Mrs Mechthild Bening, Bebensee, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, who is a prominent White Galloway breeder in Germany. Together with Prof. Swalve from the MLU Halle data recording sheets were developed that resemble the collection of information in a herdbook file. Mrs Bening currently is recording all animals of her herd, living or dead animals. This number will amount to approximately 225 animals (calves) and include all pedigree information. As several generations of animals will be involved, it will be possible to follow putative paths of inheritance. However, more herds should participate.

The recording sheets

Two different paper sheets and also respective Microsoft Excel-Sheets have been developed. One refers to every animal used for breeding. On this sheet, the most crucial information is the number, birth date, sex, sire, dam, and the colour coding. Once stored in a computer data base, it will be possible to link genetically related animals. Another sheet should be filled out for every cow that has been used for breeding and refers to all her calves. This second sheet is necessary since all calves, even though they may not have been raised for breeding and possibly show a “wrong” colour, will provide valuable information through their colour coding.

The analysis

The data will be used by Prof. Swalve for a genetic analysis on the most probable modes of inheritance for the WGA colour/marking. Based on this analysis, also a molecular analysis may follow.

“White Galloway calves showing common colour pattern variations in Germany
(courtesy M Bening of  Galloways vom Bebensee).”

“White Galloway calves showing common colour pattern variations in New Zealand – 
from left:- under-marked,or faded points; middle:- black; and right:- very  well marked. 
(courtesy R & S Dyson of Stoneybrook Stud in Taranaki).”

Suncrest Stud hosts AGM Stud Tour & Inaugural Virtual Show – April 2010

April 2010 saw Karen & Bob of Suncrest Stud (both Councillors representing the lower North Island members of the Galloway Cattle Society of NZ), hosting the Society’s 2010 Annual General Meeting, Study Tour and Inaugural Virtual Show.

Suncrest’s Grace enjoys a good old rub from delegates

The event was held over the weekend 24-25 April and commenced with members gathering at the White Heron Lodge in Wellington on the Friday evening where a brief Council Meeting was held, registrations were completed and delegates generally socialised. All delegates were provided with a “goodie” bag comprising farming magazines, torches, calculators, caps, beanies and drink bottles generously donated by RD1; tea bags from Bell Tea; calendars, vouchers & coupons from Tui Breweries; and pads & pens from the Bank of New Zealand. These were well received, and surplus stock was auctioned at the AGM dinner to offset some of the costs, helping to make the weekend more affordable for delegates.

Saturday morning saw the coach depart Wellington for the Hutt Valley, the first stop being Bob & Karen’s Suncrest White Galloway Stud just north-east of Upper Hutt. Delegates inspected the Suncrest herd and gave good feedback – some commenting that they had never seen a group of such well marked Whites, others being impressed with their quiet temperament, and one that they were a “very happy herd”. Following inspection of the Suncrest herd, morning tea was provided, the wild venison sausage nibbles and Suncrest White Galloway meatballs, proving particularly popular.

The tour then moved up through the Wairarapa visiting a number of other, mainly Belted Galloway studs, stopping at the Tui Headquarters (major sponsors) for lunch, before visiting the Tararua Breeding Centre near Woodville where a live semen collection demonstration was given using a steer as a tease.
Then it was on to the Travel Lodge in Palmerston North – the venue for a further Council meeting, the AGM, Dinner and the Inaugural Virtual Show.

The virtual show is a relatively new concept first trialled in New Zealand by the Highland Cattle Association. Bob & Karen were so impressed with the virtual show concept that they decided to introduce it into the Galloway Society’s 2010 AGM programme as a trial. With a virtual show, cattle are entered for showing simply by providing photographs for judging in the respective classes. Three photos of each entry were provided and each entry was judged, prior to the results being announced. The winning entries were then placed in a PowerPoint presentation, which was shown in conjunction with the prize giving, at the Society’s AGM dinner.
The pro and cons of a Virtual Show are as follows:

  • animals shown need not be in show condition
  • saves preparation and showing time
  • saves transport and showing costs
  • saves showground costs
  • allows greater participation and numbers of entries
  • allows social gatherings around prize-giving
  • allows national and/or international participation


  • faults can be hidden or not shown e.g. hooves in long grass
  • success can be dependent on quality of photograph
  • animal movement and temperament is unable to be judged

Because this was a trial show Bob & Karen decided to put the three Galloway breeds (Whites, Standard & Belted) into the same classes. Entries were invited for the normal eight gender / age show classes and these were judged into the normal – four champion classes and two supreme champion classes, the respected judge – Graeme Clinton, of Okiwa Stud fame, being instructed to ignore colour pattern difference and judge the cattle purely on their conformation. This included for example ignoring dirty rear ends. The results showed the judge succeeded, as there was a good mix of the three breeds in the winning classes, and more than one of the winners were definitely in paddock condition! A special thanks to Judge Graeme, & Pat Clinton for doing such a wonderful job!

Much fun was had on the night with Graeme Clinton as Judge, wife Pat as Ring Steward, and Karen (ribbons & trophies) & Bob (slide show presentation & commentary) as Gate Stewards. Graeme was asked to comment on each of his choices and invariably commentary led to the cattle’s rear end and meat producing qualities. This theme was particularly funny when putting the ribbons around some of the female owner/breeders at the presentation and was later in the programme consummated with all attendees lining up in a row on a farm, and presenting their rear ends with Graeme waving his judging stick at the line-up …

Delegate’s face on…
… and Delegate’s rear ends being judged!

Following the prize giving the fun continued with the auctioning of surplus goods donated by the sponsors. Bob was auctioneer, and was finding getting bids on the first few lots was harder than pulling teeth but as the auction proceeded folk got into the swing of things and lots were generally hotly contested in the bidding. Such was the spirit in the end, Karen as Cashier, was collecting sums far exceeding what was bid, with the generosity of the winning bidder often either rounding up, or not wanting change. As a result supplementary funds were raised to offset costs, and a good night was had by all!

The following morning (Sunday) saw the group travelling down through Horowhenua and Kapiti visiting more studs and doing a bit of retail therapy at the Otaki factory outlet stores. Then it was back to Wellington and the Airport for final good-byes.
In summary, Delegate Katie Bradly wrote an article on the week-ends events for the Galloway Gazette – 2010 Issue #2, and in it she wrote:

  • “Our first visit was to our wonderful hosts for the weekend – Karen & Bob Curry and their ‘Suncrest White Galloway Stud’…”
  • “I would like to say a big thank you to the Committee, especially Karen & Bob… Congratulations on a great job”.
  • “I would urge anyone and everyone to come along to next year’s conference. There is so much to see and so much to learn. We had a wonderful weekend and met some wonderful people”.

So see you at next year’s AGM in Auckland!

World Galloway Congress – New Zealand 2008

The Galloway Cattle Society of New Zealand had the privilege of hosting the 2008 World Galloway Congress in Auckland from 1-2 March 2008.  Delegates from 8 countries attended the 2-day Congress which was followed by a 3-day farm tour of selected North Island studs.  Bob & Karen attended the Congress Proceedings and accompanied the delegates on their North Island farm tour down to Wellington, and then had the honour of hosting the visitors at their Suncrest Stud on the final leg of the tour.  Many ideas and techniques were traded with the delegates, very useful feed-back and support was received on the Stud’s herd management and breeding programme, and some excellent friendships and networking resulted. Many thanks to the organisers and all who were involved.

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