Teen cattle farmer is winning international plaudits for his Aberdeen Angus herd
With a ruthless competitive streak, an eye for a winner and a determined work ethic, a Norfolk cattle breeder is stockpiling trophies and attracting international attention – all at the age of 16.
Robbie Moore started his Fenland herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle in September 2013 when he was just 12 years old, after winning his first pedigree heifer in a draw for the finalists of the breed society’s youth development programme.
His first bull, named My Prize, became a champion at the Royal Highland Show – a significant title for the Scottish breed – and the bull’s progeny have won many trophies this year including the Queen’s Prize Perpetual Challenge Trophy for the best beef animal bred and shown by a Norfolk exhibitor at the Royal Norfolk Show.
Now the teenager, from Pott Row, near King’s Lynn, is taking calls from overseas breeders, keen to make use of the award-winning genetics within his growing herd, currently 14-strong, but with ambitions to push it up to 100 animals.
“You are always thinking about what you are doing next,” he said. “You start young, you know what you want to do when you are older, and you can start to build up to it.”
Robbie will start an agricultural apprenticeship at Easton and Otley College in September, after finishing his studies at Springwood High School in King’s Lynn, where he lost several days of schooling due to his livestock show commitments.
“They (the teachers) didn’t like it,” he said. “They didn’t know what I was doing it for. All the other students talk about football or rugby, but I don’t really have time for that. For me it was either cattle or tractors. It has always been like that since I won that first heifer.”
Despite his age, the young farmer has developed the confidence to trust his own judgement – a good example being the young bull he is currently training, despite being told by more experienced stockmen that it is too aggressive for the show ring.
“I don’t listen to them,” he said. “If someone says not to take it out, I will take it out and find out myself what it will be like when you get it in a halter.
“It is a bit feisty, but it’s fine. It is growing on well, and it will be at a show in Peterborough at Christmas.”
Robbie has grown up around farming, with his parents Rodger and Natasha and brothers Ryan, 18, and Mason, 10, all involved in the family farm, which also comprises a 280-strong commercial suckler herd. Mason is already demonstrating potential in the show rings, having scooped a prize at the Wayland Show while handling a two-year-old Angus cow.
In May, Robbie and his mother were invited to Texas after his bull qualified for the Angus Champion of the World – but she said his hard-won successes in Scotland, triumphing over many more established breeders, were his most notable achievements so far.
“If you can sell a bull to Scotland, you’re made,” said Mrs Moore. “It is like trying to break America if you’re a pop singer – and he has sold two now.
“A man in France is starting his own herd and is interested in buying four embryos. So Robbie is getting internationally renowned –– it is amazing to be selling this kind of genetics at his age.
“You need to be able to see the potential in an animal and you have to put the hard work in. He has got a natural eye for it, but he also spends hours and hours training them to walk right and stand right.”
Mrs Moore said her son’s achievements had also inspired other young farmers across the country.
“There are a lot of people who have seen what he is doing and all of a sudden you see them at a show with a cow,” she said. “There are a few herds that have popped up because they have seen Robbie doing so well. We see it all over the country.”