Family says there’s no business like show business

MANY QUESTION the value of showing pedigree animals at the plethora of summer shows, but one Worcs family says it reaps considerable benefits.

Showing not only promotes the breed of stock you exhibit, but it also raises the profile of your own enterprise in the eyes of your customers, both pedigree and commercial, reckons Wickhamford-based Derrick Daffurn.

“We’ve been showing Charollais sheep for about 20 years and it has brought many benefits,” says Mr Daffurn, who runs the Elmwick flock. “Notably, a higher profile for our flock and, consequentially, higher prices for our stock.”

When Mr Daffurn began showing Charollais in 1984, it was mainly with the aim of promoting the breed. “We had a breed that was largely unknown in the UK and, to a certain extent, was looked on unfavourably.

“We first showed in 1984 and have been at it ever since. Showing has definitely increased the profile of the breed and has also given us contact with commercial customers.”

Now, with the breed firmly established, Mr Daffurn says attention has turned to promoting their own flock. “We need to promote in order to sell.”

And it has proved to be a shop window for the flock, with a number of breed and interbreed awards coming its way this year. This year the flock picked up three interbreed championships with one shearling ewe, Elmwick Diana, and also took reserve interbreed honours at the Royal Show. “These awards are pleasing in themselves, but more pleasing is the improved sales they bring.”

This year the flock has sold 72 ram lambs into pedigree and commercial flocks and has also staged a joint production sale of females. “Our in-lamb shearling ewes averaged 810gns, while the ewe lambs averaged 400gns. But show success led the way among the ewe lambs, with a lamb which had stood top of her class at two shows this summer achieving 950gns.”

Mr Daffurn says the same is true of several other female sales he has attended this year. “Without doubt it’s been the show animals that have been the pick of this year’s female sales for most breeders.”

On the male side, showing is also drawing new customers to the flock’s tups. “This year about half our customers have been new buyers,” says Mr Daffurn. “It is showing and the publicity it generates that has brought these customers to us. We”ve even been selling rams from the shows. If we hadn’t shown, it would have been much more difficult to make a name for ourselves.”

And although showing has its associated costs, such as entry fees and the time taken away from home, he believes they are far outweighed by the benefits.

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