It was a lifelong passion for cattle farming that saw veteran farmer Dr Karl Wellington walk away with 13 awards at the recently held Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in Clarendon.
Wellington’s YS Farms, located in St Elizabeth, won 13 trophies, a major achievement for the top Jamaican farmer, now 81 years old, who has been competing at Denbigh since 1988.
“I have been competing with my own animals for almost 30 years. This year I went with 13 cows,” Dr Wellington shared as he expressed his excitement at the achievement.
He contributed the high standard and performance of his animals to the technical expertise received from Nutramix veterinarians, as well as to the consistent use of Nutramix feeds and Kalvolac milk replacer.
“The performance of my animals at Denbigh has been enhanced by using Nutramix feeds. I have been a Nutramix farmer for nearly 15 years and I haven’t changed,” said Dr Wellington.
Dr Wellington has contributed to nation-building for over 60 years. His professional training has distinguished him as the animal geneticist and livestock development researcher largely responsible for the development, maintenance and conservation of Jamaica’s four cattle breeds — the Jamaica Red Poll, Jamaica Black Poll, Jamaica Brahman, and Jamaica Hope.
Originally from Hanover, Dr Wellington worked with the Ministry of Agriculture for 25 years, before spending the following 15 years as director of agriculture at Alcan. It has been 34 years since he began to fully focus on his own business — the YS Farms in St Elizabeth, where he continues to be actively involved in cattle breeding.
“I do a hands-on operation. My thrust is to emphasise on quality standards in cattle and that’s the main reason why I take the animals to Denbigh each year,” Dr Wellington revealed.
In the early 1950s, he entered the Knockalva Practical Training Centre in Hanover on a three-year full scholarship. He was later granted a transfer to the Jamaica School of Agriculture, and in 1962 he received the first Jamaica Independence Scholarship to read for a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus, in Trinidad.
In 1968 he completed the first PhD in Livestock Science to be awarded by the University of the West Indies.
He received the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) in 1993 and in the same year, he was awarded the Silver Musgrave Medal for Animal Science. In 2013, the International Biography Centre in Cambridge, England, conferred Wellington with the honorary Doctorate of Letters. Three years ago at the annual Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show 2014, the Jamaica Agricultural Society awarded him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In the same year he was invested with the Order of Jamaica.
Dr Wellington’s expertise, knowledge and reputation as an academic, scientist and cattleman is well known in countries as far away as India, Australia, England, North America, Mauritius, South Africa, New Zealand, Panama, among others.
“I’ve always been committed to doing a job and doing it well. I have been interested in agriculture since I was a teenager and I’ve continued to be involved in things that I enjoy, one of which is working in animal genetics, which began long before my time,” Dr Wellington stated.
Dr Wellington shared his hope for the future of cattle breeding in Jamaica.
“I would like for it to get back to what it was prior to our Independence in 1962. Today the cattle population is not what it used to be.”
The 13 awards won by Wellington’s YS Farms at Denbigh 2017 were:
The Robert Levy-Ivomec Perpetual Challenge Cup; the Kalvolac Challenge Trophy for Champion Beef Calf; the Jamaica Livestock Association Supreme Feeds Trophy (Supreme Champion Beef – Female; West Indies Alumina Company Jamaica Breeders Cup; West Indies Alumina Limited Cup (Champion Jamaica Red Poll Bull – Senior); the Brigadier David Smith Memorial Trophy (Champion Jamaica Red Poll Bull – Junior); National Commercial Bank Cup for Champion Jamaica Red Poll – Female; Jamaica Red Poll Cattle Breeders Society Cup (mixed lot of five animals under five years); Jamaica Red Poll Cattle Breeders Society (Calvin O’Sullivan Trophy lot of three bulls); Jamaica Brahman Breeders Society Championship Cup (Champion Bull – Senior); Hi-Pro Feeds Champion Cup for Supreme Champion Beef Heifer; the Agricultural Development Corporation/Major BC Burke Perpetual Challenge Memorial Cup (for Champion Polled Brahman Bull); and the Richard & Betty Wates Trophy to encourage exhibition by smaller herds within the Jamaica Brahman Breeders Society.