The National Young Stars event, sponsored by the Allflex Group, which took place in association with The Three Counties Agricultural Society on 23rd and 24th March at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, has been hailed a huge success for the livestock industry for the second year running.
The event saw more than 140 young farming enthusiasts between the ages of eight and 24 showcase their skills in marketing and publicity, clipping, trimming and presentation, ring craft, auctioneering, butchering and their general knowledge of the industry.
Commenting on the event, chairman Neil Lloyd said: “In just two years this event has cemented itself as a showcase for young talent in this industry. The aim all along has been to put young people at the forefront of a farming event and give them the profile and credit they deserve.
“The event has grown considerably with the addition of a headline sponsor in the form of the Allflex Group, which the event organisers are indebted to for their valuable support. Equally, the sheep and dairy challenges have both more than doubled in entries which bodes well for future growth,” he added.
The most eagerly contested section was undoubtedly the beef competition with 18 teams entered, including an exchange team from Canada, and competitions taking place all day for judges Mark Phillips, Fraser Cormack and Jimmy McMillan to deliberate on. And having been among the top two throughout the course of the judging, the British Limousin Cattle Society’s team, Limmy Lads, came through on top.
Consisting of John Graham, Andrew Adam and Tom Illingworth, this all Scottish team are all breeders in their own right with John hailing from the Burnbank herd, Andrew from Newhouse and Tom from the Glenrock and Eagleside herds, with the cattle supplied by the Dinmore herd in Herefordshire.
John, who works at home as well as for National Milk Records, was the 2015 Highland Show stockman of the Year and has been a member of the Glasgow Herald winning team over the four years he has competed. An avid Limousin breeder, the family farm is also home to 1000 sheep, of which 40 are pedigree Blue Faced Leicesters owned in conjunction with brother James.
Tom, who also works at home on the family farm, is also a keen showman and has been on the halter of many winning cattle for the Illingworth family under the Glenrock and Eagleside prefix. At just 14 years of age he was winner of the British Limousin stockjudging finals and was also part of the winning team for Scotland in the Anglo Irish stockjudging competition in 2013.
Meanwhile, Andrew works at the family farm where the Adam family run pedigree Limousin and Charolais cattle, alongside Andrew’s own recently established Aberdeen-Angus herd. Himself a winner of the Young Limousin Breeders Young Handlers competition in 2015, Andrew also won the Young Handlers competition at the Royal highland in 2014 and is currently studying agriculture at Oatridge College.
The Limmy Lads will now head to Canada to compete at the Royal Winter Fair, Toronto, in November, as part of their prize.
Continuing the Scottish theme was the runner up beef team in the form of the Black Beauties team made up of Aberdeen-Angus enthusiasts Gemma Wark, Mark Wattie and Seonaid McLaren. This team were sponsored by Highland Wagyu with cattle provided by Jeremy Price of the Oakchurch herd.
Emerging top in the dairy section for the second year running was a Jersey team, this time represented by Emily Davis, Abi Marshall and Becky Walters.
Competing under judges Brian Weatherup and Steve Miller, this winning team, which was sponsored by the Jersey Cattle Society of the United Kingdom, will also be joining the winning beef team on a flight out to Canada.
Emily, who is currently at Uffculme School, also helps out with the family’s 200-cow Rivermead Jersey herd. An avid show exhibitor from the age of three, she won a grand total of nine handler championships last year and took part in a national clipping competition, winning best novice.
Becky works for her father clipping and preparing dairy cattle for markets, classification and shows. She’s been showing for 12 years and has also spent some time in America and Canada. She has her own herd of pedigree Ayrshires and Brown Swiss under the Hawkswood prefix, alongside the family herd of Ayrshires, Jerseys and Dairy Shorthorns.
Meanwhile, Abi, another keen young show woman has been showing for five years and won eight championships last year including supreme champion at the Exeter Calf Show.
Runners up were the British Friesian Breeder’s Club sponsored team British Friesian Youth, consisting of Kyle Ledger, Jess Mills and Andrea Vale, while third place went to Zoe Clear, Joshua Etteridge and Sarah Pye, representing Jersey Youth.
Competition in the pig lines was once again strong with a representation from a much younger group of exhibitors with only one entrant being 18 or older. Taking the top spot for the second year running was the Gloucester Old Spot team, The Three Oinkers, consisting of Sarah Whiteley, Ella Kirtley, both from Harrogate and Oliver Lightfoot, Hartpury, Glos.
Sarah works at home on the family farm where they milk Jerseys to provide milk for their Birchfield ice cream business. They also run 150 commercial breeding ewes and pedigree Gloucester Old Spots and Saddlebacks.
Since 2008 she has helped her family show their pigs across at county and local shows with the highlights including winning reserve supreme pig champion at East of England and Northern Area champion at the Great Yorkshire Show 2014. Ella is still at school and in her spare time helps the Whitley family show. Oliver is a keen Young Farmers Member, his family run a herd of Gloucester Old Spot sows for meat production through the on-farm butchery, but also showing.
Runners up were the Massey Divas, a team sponsored by Massey Feeds and consisting of Grace Bretherton, Charlotte Ashcroft and Eve Ashcroft, while in third place were the Globetrotters, consisting of Harry Arden, Daniel Middleton and William Bemand, a team sponsored by GLW Feeds.
Blue Texel Sheep teams were out in the force in the sheep section with two finishing in the top three of the sheep challenge. Leading the way under judges Jonathan Long and Pat Greaney were We’ve Got The Blues, a team made up of Chris Davies, Angharrad Francis and Rhys Francis. They excelled in all areas of the competition with judge Pat Greaney commenting they were the most consistent throughout, showing a thought process to every element of the competition.
Brother and sister Rhys and Angharad Francis run pedigree Jacobs, Zwartbles and Blue Texel sheep at home in Carmarthenshire. Angharrad has won the young handlers section at the Royal Welsh Show in three consecutive years, while Rhys has won the sheep trimming competition at the Welsh and now trims for other breeders in the region for shows and sales. Both avid young farmers, Angharad works for Cogent as a beef advisor and Rhys works at home on the family farm.
Meanwhile, Chris Davies, Brecon, farms at home with his parents while studying in his final year Walford and North Shropshire College. Alongside the family’s Texel flock, Chris established his Beaconsview Blue Texel flock in 2012.
Runners up were the Charollais Sheep Society’s team, consisting of Victoria and Grace Sercombe and Andrew Thomas of the Charollais Young Stars, while in third place was One Sheep, Two Sheep, Blue Sheep, again supported by the Blue Texel Sheep Society and represented by Aled Groucott, Rhys Cooke and Megan Watkins.
Newark Livestock Market auctioneer Paul Gentry had four keen young gentlemen in front of him for the young auctioneer challenge, but it was Drew Patrick from Hexham and Northern Marts that came through as winner on the day.
This is the first time Drew has put his auctioneering talent to the test as he is currently a trainee auctioneer and fieldsman having previously worked for ABP at Ellesmere. “I joined Hexham in May last year so thought this was a fantastic experience to further my skill set and learn from talented auctioneers such as Paul Gentry and steward Clive Roads.”
Runner up here was James Wotton representing Greenslade Taylor Hunt, while in third place was Robert Bailer, again from Greenslade Taylor Hunt.
There may have only been two competing in the butchers challenge, but the standard was close with just 20 points between the two competitors at the end of judging. Taking top spot was Brady Bowman, apprentice butcher from Bates Butchers of Atherstone.
Runner up was last year’s winner Ben Greenfield from Leicestershire, who was sponsored by the Texel Sheep Society.
Young Butcher Challenge
1st, Brady Bowman, sponsored by Bates Butchers of Atherstone
2nd, Ben Greenfield, sponsored by the Texel Sheep Society
Young Auctioneer Challenge
1st, Drew Patrick, sponsored by Hexham and Northern Marts
2nd, James Wotton, sponsored by Greenslade Taylor Hunt
3rd, Robert Bailer, sponsored by Greenslade Taylor Hunt
Young Pig Challenge
1st, The 3 Oinkers (Ella Kirtley, Sarah Whitley and Oliver Lightfoot), sponsored by Gloucester Old Spot Pig Breeders Association
2nd, Massey Divas (Eve Ashcroft, Charlotte Ashcroft and Grace Bretherton), sponsored by Massey Brothers Feeds Ltd
3rd, Globetrotters (Harry Arden, Daniel Middleton and William Bemand), sponsored by GLW Feeds Ltd
Young Sheep Challenge
1st, We’ve Got The Blues (Chris Davies, Angharrad Francis and Rhys Francis), sponsored by the Blue Texel Sheep Society
2nd, Charollais Young Stars (Victoria Sercombe, Andrew Thomas and Grace Sercombe), sponsored by the Charollais Sheep Society
3rd, One Sheep, Two Sheep, Blue Sheep (Aled Groucott, Rhys Cooke and Megan Watkins), sponsored by The Blue Texel Sheep Society
Young Dairy Challenge
1st, UK Jerseys (Emily Davis, Abi Marshall and Becky Walters), sponsored by the Jersey Cattle Society of the United Kingdom
2nd, British Friesian Youth (Kyle Ledger, Jess Mills and Andra Vale), sponsored by British Friesian Breeder’s Club
3rd, Jersey Youth (Zoe Clear, Joshua Eteridge and Sarah Pye), sponsored by the Jersey Cattle Society of the United Kingdom
Young Beef Challenge
1st, Limmy Lads (John Graham, Andrew Adam and Tom Illingworth), sponsored by the British Limousin Cattle Society
2nd, Black Beauties (Gemma Wark, Mark Wattie and Seonaid McLaren), sponsored by Highland Wagyu
3rd, Black Stars (Henry Thorpe, Angharrad Davis abd Ben Reynolds), sponsored by South Wales Welsh Black Breeders)
To view more images check out the event’s Facebook page.