25 December 1998

A dozen of the best fought it out at the fair…

THE very knowledgeable main ring spectators gave huge encouragement to the 12 YFC members competing in the Welsh Winter Fairs calf rearing competition.

The NatWest Bank-sponsored championships challenge members to rear a February or March-born beef calf and present it for judging at the December fair. Entrants can get interest free loans of up to £500 repayable when cattle are auctioned.

Points are awarded for detailed costings, the quality of the animals and the way they are prepared for the showring. Judging the 1998 parade was Denbighshire livestock producer Trebor Edwards, who is also a highly regarded tenor.

Judging started almost two hours late for the by then very nervous competitors, but Trebors showbiz background showed when he managed to put them at their ease without losing the theatricality of the occasion.

Like the butcher who earlier judged the supreme cattle championship, Trebors stockmans eye was attracted to a Limousin sired heifer. This time it was Kaye, reared by Tegynon, Powys, club member Steve Davies, which was selected as champion heifer.

When all the points were totalled Steve also took the overall championship. Later his achievement was further acknowledged when his 380kg entry was auctioned for £2.60/kg.

Runner-up was Lea Owen Jones from Caerwedros Club in Ceredigion. Her entry was Garmon Tydu, a Limousin cross steer that weighed in at 406kg. At the auction Lea saw her charge sell for £2/kg.

Later competition organiser Dianne Moore announced that a lamb rearing challenge would also be held at the next winter fair. Club members will be offered loans to buy and rear five lambs, and submit two of them for judging at the event.

As usual stock judging classes staged by the Wales federation at the fair attracted support from 13 teams. Some of the most enthusiastic were juniors enveloped in oversize white coats when they gave reasons for their placements.

Perhaps David Pursey of Hereford, who was the top under 16 butchers lamb judge, and Glamorgans James Tudor, who was first in the under 16 butchers beef section, will be showing stock they have reared at future winter fairs.

Stock Judging Results

Overall 1 Pembrokeshire (Andrew Lewis, Dylan Sandbrook, David and Edward Hartt, Graham Lloyd, Stephen John, Jodi Beecher and Jonathon Thomas) 27pts; 2 Gwent; 3 Montgomeryshire. Butchers lamb judging Carmarthen (Catrin Jones, Sioned Roberts, Rhys Jones and Robert Morgan).

Calf Rearing Competition

Supreme and heifer championship Steve Davies, Montgomery; reserve and steer championship Lea Owen Jones, Ceredigion; reserve heifer champion Chris Thomas, Carmarthen; reserve steer champion Meryl Morgan, Carmarthen; best stockman Susie Morgan, Pembrokeshire.