About the herd
The history of Longley Whitebred Shorthorn herd starts in 1977. At that time I was farming in my home county of Yorkshire at Ashday Hall Farm with the Iomroll fold of Highland cattle.
I had been involved for many years in a crossing program to find the perfect suckler cow and so it was in 1977 I bought my first Whitebred Shorthorn bull (Nether Oakshaw Tom). It turned out that this was the best thing I had ever done. The resulting Whitebred Shorthorn cross Highland female had capabilities far in excess of anything else I had worked with.
In 1980 I moved to Longley farm in Morayshire and increased the Highland fold to 120 cows, most of which were crossed with the Whitebred Shorthorn bull. With the increase in acreage, I also retained 70 of the Whitebred Shorthorn cross Highland heifers to form a most profitable arm of the business.
During this time, because of many factors, but mainly the export trade in pedigree Galloway cattle, Whitebred Shorthorn numbers plummeted and it became apparent something had to be done to safeguard the breed.
So after using many Whitebred Shorthorn bulls, I made the decision to become a Whitebred Shorthorn breeder. In 1996 I attended the Murtholm dispersal sale, managing to secure representatives of all six Murtholm families, thus the Longley herd of Whitebred Shorthorns was born.
After being part of the second highland clearances, which forced us out of Longley Farm in Morayshire after a tenancy lasting 33 years, with no explanation as to the cause, and completely without warning, we had to somehow rebuild the whole of life.
Our Iomroll fold of 150 highland cows, which was founded in 1962 had to be dispersed. This left our Longley Whitebred Shorthorn herd homeless.
With the breed on the point of extinction, being categorised at the time as Critical by the RBST, we felt we must try and find a new home for them.
With few or no farms on the market at the time, half of the herd were saved by Morrisons who started a new herd of Whitebred Shorthorns at Dumfries House, and HRH the Prince of Wales taking some for his estate in Wales.
Just in the nick of time to save our remaining cows, we found Sunnyside Farm, Cleish, Kinross which was purchased in July 2012, and is now the new home of Longley Whitebred Shorthorns.