Livestock Farmer Focus: Matthew Cole notches up a win at the Devon County Show

Suddenly we have emerged from one of the harshest and longest winters for a long time to a fireball of ridiculously hot weather.

The poor cows don’t know what’s hit them, only last week they were still looking for feed to warm their bellies and now they are too hot to contemplate eating. Let’s just hope the temperature settles down to normality and we do get “some” rain, although I have to be careful what I wish for as I get married this month and I am sure Gemma won’t thank me if I publicly wish for rain and it arrives.

Devon County Show is always a landmark in the calendar and draws a line in the sand between winter and summer. I was showing my usual consignment of Whiteface Dartmoor sheep and stayed at the show for its duration in my luxurious Ifor Williams horse box. I was pleased to win reserve breed champion with a pair of ewe hoggs and beat my arch rival and good friend Phil in the process.

I liken the Devon Show to a mini festival – dozens of farmers turn up to the show with great expectations, many of whom you haven’t seen since the show last year. Once the business end of the show is done and dusted, as you can imagine, many of the exhibitors retire to the bar to discuss the judging. Fortunately, the only people the judges have to please are themselves.

The show for me is a great release valve at the end of a long winter and a great opportunity to have a good catch up and trade farming war stories from the past year. Rest assured there is always someone who has had a bigger disaster on the farm than you.

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