The inaugural National Young Show Stars event, which took place in association with The Three Counties Agricultural Society on the 1st and 2nd April at the Showground in Malvern, has been hailed a huge success for the livestock industry.
The event saw more than 100 young farming enthusiasts between the age of 8 and 24 showcase their skills in marketing and presentation, livestock preparation, handling, auctioneering, butchering and general knowledge of the industry. Commenting on the event, chairman Neil Lloyd said: “For year one, the event has blown our expectations. The aim all along has been to be young people at the front of an event, as on so many occasions they’re last on the running order at a show and should be given the profile and credit they deserve.
“With more than 50 sponsors for the event, trade stands, universities and colleges in attendance and teams and individuals entered from all corners of the UK and overseas from Canada, it’s cemented itself as a headline event in the farming calendar.”
Three Counties Agricultural Society President Lord Cobham echoed Mr Lloyd’s thoughts by saying: “The fact so many keen, young, farming enthusiasts are under one roof suggests there is plenty of scope for this event and the future of this industry. We really need to back our farming future and look forward to watching this event grow in the future.”
The highlight for sure was the beef rings with 20 teams entered and competition taking place all day. Having been judged on their clipping and presentation techniques by Stockport-based Nairn Wyllie, stockman for Boden and Davies Charolais and Limousin Sportsmans herd and Robert Clarke, stock manager for Shadwell Estate’s Aberdeen-Angus herd, Suffolk, with Herfordshire-based Bridget Borlase of Sacombe Simmental herd fame stepping up to the challenge of judging the ring craft section.
Having been tight on the scoring throughout the course of the judging, the British Blue team of the “Blue Bandits” came through on winning form. Consisting of Millie Hendy, Stephanie Dick and Issy Hartley, this team was sponsored by the British Blue Society and Farmers Guardian with the cattle being supplied by Andrew and Becky Bishop. This team will now head to Canada in November as their prize and will compete at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.
All three members regularly show cattle at regional and national shows with 18 year-old Issy Hartley the youngest member of the team. She was reserve Young Handler at Great Yorkshire Show 2013 and helps with the family’s 50-head Pendle herd of British Blues.
Joining her was Stephanie Dick, 20, from Stirling, Scotland, she has three Aberdeen-Angus, eight Limousins and three British Blues under her own Stephick prefix and regularly helps the family’s Ronick herd. Last year Steph travelled with teammate Millie Hendy to Agribition in Canada. Millie herself can often be found on the halter of winning stock and has shown successfully for the Boddington herd of Simmentals. She also finished third at the NBA’s Young Show Stars Challenge 2013.
Runner up in the beef was the Canadian team, headed by Jack Oates, Hailie Conley and Courtney Walker with cattle being loaned by Paul and Kirsty Westaway of Melview Farming. Meanwhile, in third place was the Black Stars team of Welsh Blacks, sponsored by the South Wales Welsh Black Breeders Club. This team consisted of Henry Thorpe, 18, Angharad Davis, 16, and Ben Reynolds, 18.
Emerging top in the dairy section was the Jersey Girls team of Sarah Howie, Andrea Vale and Zoe Clear who were sponsored by UK Jerseys.
The team have all had previous success at the All Britain All Breeds Calf Show, Zoe, 15, started showing at just seven years old and clipping at eight and alongside her school work helps on the farm. Showing cattle under the Pierrepont, Discovery and Stonebridge prefixes, she has won showmanship championships at Surrey County, New Forest, Bucks County and Edenbridge Shows.
Team mate Sarah, 17, is studying a level three extended diploma in Agriculture at Reaseheath College and enjoys showing her family’s Jerseys at national and local shows including UK Dairy Expo and the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show. Sarah’s highlights include winning her class at the All Breeds All Britain twice, finishing honourable mention on one occasion as well as winning reserve interbreed handler at Edenbridge and Oxted Show. Andrea Vale, 23, studied agriculture at Harper Adams before moving home to work on the family farm. She is also a keen young breeder taking part in many Holstein and Jersey Young Breeder competitions and in 2014 won champion British Friesian Showman at the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show.
Dairy judges Glyn Lucas and Ross Murray very impressed with the skill and enthusiasm of the competitors. Glyn commented: “I was very impressed with all the competitors, they showed a good understanding of the dairy cattle, marketing and promotion. I think this event has a promising future and will only go from strength to strength.”
Runner up in the dairy section was the Holstein team from Askham Bryan College team of Rosie Howarth, Helen Craggs and Ellie Chew. Sponsored by Askham Bryan College they prepared and showed Holstein calves from the college.
Competition was strong in the pig lines with the scores changing throughout the course of the various judging criteria, but coming out on top form was the “Spotty Trotters” team from the Gloucester Old Spots, which consisted of Sarah Whiteley, Ella Kirtley and Oliver Lightfoot.
Sarah, 18, works at home on the family farm where they milk 20 Jerseys to provide milk for their ice cream business. They also run 150 commercial breeding ewes and 20 pedigree Gloucester Old Spot sows.
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, 12, is still at school and in her spare time helps the Whitley family show. Oliver is 16 years old and a keen young farmers member, his family run a herd of Gloucester Old Spot sows for meat production, but also showing.
Runners up here were the Massey Divas, a team sponsored by Massey Feeds and consisted of Grace Bretherton, Aimee Jeeves and Emily Mulkeen. Third place was the Three Muskateers.
Clive Roads of McCartneys auctioneers had a strong task ahead of him in the auctioneers challenge and hitting the headlines after a thorough judging process was William Alexander of N W Auctioneers. William impressed Clive throughout the competition with his skill set, knowledge of the industry and his selling ability as he captured a strong crowd at the end for the live auction.
William started with NWA 20 months-old as a fieldsman and trainee auctioneer and in January this year he won the Dick Harrison Trust Award for top first year student in the Livestock Auctioneers Association.
Coming in second was Richard Barron of Voyce Pullin Markets, while in third place was Jack Lilwall who was sponsored by Hartpury College.
The “Heads Up” team, sponsored by the Bader Face Welsh Mountain Sheep Society took top honours in the sheep challenge and consisted of Aled Groucott, Christie Joseph and Elin Havard.
Aled Groucott, 20, is a full time herdsman at Trostrey Holsteins where they milk 180 cows through three Lely robots. He also keeps a small flock of Badger Face Welsh Mountain and Beltex alongside the family flock of South Wales Mountain Sheep. Aled has four years of trimming experience including show trimming for Bishop’s Beltex, Sams Blue Texels and Nantyderi Blue Texels and in 2013 he won the Wales YFC lamb trimming competition at the Welsh Winter Fair. His highlights in the show ring include winning the Torwen Badger Face Welsh Mountain championship at the Royal Welsh 2014 and Countryside Live butchers lamb champion in 2013.
Elin Howard is the youngest member of the team at 18 years old and is still in sixth form at school and lives on the family beef and sheep farm. She is a keen young farmers member and is the chairman of Wales Young Farmers youth forum. Along with her sister she owns 50 Badger Face Sheep and enjoys showing throughout the summer.
Christie Joseph is 23 and works full time on the family mixed farm of 60 Limousin bred-suckler beef cows and 1600 breeding ewes which include pure flocks of Texel, Brecknock Hill and Badger Face Welsh Mountain run alongside the commercial flock of Suffolk x Welsh. Throughout the summer Christie shows the family’s Badger Face and Brecknock Hill sheep at 12 to 15 shows including the Royal Welsh where in 2013 he won the Native Hill and Upland Championship with a Badger Face ewe. Alongside showing he is also a very active Young Farmers member taking part in all competitions including Stock Judging and lamb trimming.
The Heads Up team took the lead above the “Ewe Blue Crew”, which was sponsored by the Blue Texel Sheep Society and consisted of Sam Froggatt, Megan Watkins and Chris Davies, while in third place was the Hampshire Down team of Harry Middleditch, Milly Bersey and Stephen Short.
There may have only been two competing in the butchers challenge, but the standard was so close with just four points between the two competitors at the end of judging, but taking top spot was 17-year old Ben Greenfield. Sponsored by the Texel Sheep Society, Ben is based in Leicestershire and works as a farm worker on the home run where they run 1000 Texel cross ewes. Ben runs an on farm butchery operation where he puts through 40 lambs a month for boxed lamb, Farmers Markets and restaurant clients.
Commenting on the judging procedure, judge Michael Alford of Stillmans Butchers, Cullompton said he was particularly impressed with the quality of the butchers in the competitions. “The standard of the competitors today was incredibly high and I’d be happy to employ either of them. Both the winner and the runner up have different areas of expertise, but on the day it was the quality of Ben’s display that set him apart as a winner.”
Runner up was 22 year old local butcher Ben Morton. Ben took on his own butchery business, which specialises in premium, native beef just shy of a year ago. He supplies local garden centres and children’s nurseries and has plans to expand the business.