A dedicated follower of the finest Herefords
The new Hereford society president Henry Dudley has had a lifelong interest in pedigree cattle, reports Martin Ryan
Although a lifelong career in banking took him to many corners of the country, Henry Dudley's thoughts were never too far from his native Tipperary and Hereford cattle.
A week ago, the Dovea man's lifetime interest in the Hereford breed was recognised by the Irish Hereford Cattle Society when they named him society president.
He takes over from his fellow Tipperary man Martin Murphy (Newport), who was the first member of the society to hold the office on two occasions.
"I was always interested in the Herefords and it was the obvious breed for me to get into after I retired from the bank," said Henry as he recalled setting up of his Lakelodge Pedigree Herd in 2002.
In 2000 he retired from AIB after a banking career that took him to several locations in the north-east of the country before finally arriving at Nenagh prior to his retirement.
Throughout his banking life his interest in livestock was well known to his colleagues.
"While they went off to play their golf, I usually went to an agricultural show to see the livestock - and in particular the Herefords," he said.
There was a natural leaning towards the breeds for him. His brother Trevor has a well-known Kilsunny Pedigree Hereford herd nearby in Dovea outside Thurles, which was established in the early 1990s and continues to exhibit some of the best of the breed in the country.
Henry's Lakelodge herd has had some considerable success both in the showring and in the sale ring including a number of exports to Northern Ireland and Britain.
The herd was founded on carefully selected lines mainly from his brother's Kilsunny herd, with an aim for quality rather than quantity - and to supply bulls and surplus heifers for sale to breeders and commercial producers.
Amongst the most notable herd achievements is the export of Lakelodge Storm 2nd, a Churchill Storm son purchased from Henry by a syndicate of breeders in the UK.
He has bred exceptionally well in several of the top herds there since his departure from these shores. Prior to export, he was champion at the Limerick and Nenagh Shows.
A regular exhibitor across the country, Henry had a string of successes with Lakelodge Queen Mildred 7th. Unbeaten at seven consecutive showings at agricultural shows, the Junior Female of the Year in 2014 was crowned Overall Heifer Calf Champion at Nenagh where the cream of the crop is exhibited.
Currently a member of the society's council, Henry was the Irish Hereford Breed Society's nominee for the Hall of Fame Award in 2015.
He has voiced concerns in relation to the difficulty in introducing new and diverse bloodlines which are so necessary to pedigree breeders given the volatility of the star system used in Irish cattle evaluation. The situation in relation to AI bulls in particular is creating major difficulties and confusion for participants in the BDGP scheme, he stated.
A stalwart member of the Irish Shows Association, he has served as chairman of the Munster Branch of the Irish Hereford Society.
His time and dedication given to the development of the Nenagh show knows no bounds.
Nenagh is now recognised as one of the top shows in Ireland on the Hereford calendar. The 2019 event will once again be on August Bank Holiday Monday and he is currently busily canvassing entries.
A tireless supporter of the Irish agricultural show, he has a deep appreciation for the work it does in striving for and achieving excellence in all aspects of country life from arts to crafts to poultry and horses - and particularly to excellence in cattle production.
He is very appreciative of the government support provided this year and last year to the Irish agricultural shows many of which are struggling to survive with crippling costs.
Of his ambition for his tenure of office during the coming 12 months, he said: "I hope to get to meet as many of the breeders as possible and look forward to getting to many of the agricultural shows.
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