Author: Kerry Buttriss

Qualifiers extended for National Young Handlers Competition

Qualifiers extended for National Young Handlers Competition

The East of England Winter Stock Festival is excited to announce new qualifiers for its coveted title the Young Stock Person of The Year.

Covering a range of regions across the UK the competition has now added Surrey County, Royal Bath & West, Royal Three Counties and Westmorland to the existing list of 16 regional and county shows.

With sections for both beef and sheep young handlers the competition is open to handlers aged between 15 years and 21 years on the day of the qualifying show.

Once qualified, competitors are then invited to participate in the Grand Final at the East of England Winter Stock Festival on the 1st December 2018, East of England Showground, Peterborough. This prestigious Grand Final showcases the fantastic talents of the Young Stock Handlers and gives them an opportunity to show their skills in the main ring.

The whole day is designed to give young people knowledge and insight in the livestock industry but it also gives them the chance to gain experience from the other stockmen and women and to engage with the events primestock competitions, auction and activities which takes places over the 2 days.

“The Young Stock Person competition it’s one of our favourite events, it touches on our core objectives of education and its brilliant to see the handlers in the show ring gaining experience for the future.”

“Securing the new qualifiers this year is great and we are grateful to all the show societies who are able to host these for us. It’s a fun and friendly way to meet new people and expand your knowledge in the industry,” says William Haire Festival Show Director.

This year’s qualifiers start on the 12th May with both Nottingham County Show and Ayr County Show taking place, more information of all the other dates and further information on the competition can be found here.

Winter Stock Festival tenth anniversary triumph

Winter Stock Festival tenth anniversary triumph

A fantastic couple of days have been enjoyed by exhibitors and visitors of the tenth annual Winter Stock Festival which was held on the 1st and 2nd December at the East of England Showground, Peterborough.

Both days attracted an excellent crowd, with top quality commercial and pedigree cattle and sheep on show, as well as pigs, which were introduced to the event this year.

In addition to its popular livestock classes, the festival has become renowned for youth competitions and once again welcomed many enthusiastic young individuals for the hotly contested College Challenge and Young Stockperson of the Year final.

Pic cap: College Challenge Students

Commenting on this year’s event, show director William Haire said it had been a great success. “The quality of commercial and pedigree stock presented was superb and the pig classes were an excellent addition to our tenth anniversary festival. “The youth competitions were once again a major highlight, and the enthusiasm, knowledge and skill demonstrated by so many young individuals, fills me with confidence that our industry will be in safe hands in the future.”

Leading the way in the commercial cattle, was Beth and Luke Wilkinson and John Smith Jackson who took the supreme championship with Garned Model, a 14-month-old Limousin heifer. Reserve commercial champion went to Andrew Bishop with his home-bred British Blue cross heifer, Might Bite.

John Smith Jackson was also in the prizes on day two, and won the baby beef champion with home-bred Limousin heifer Dancing Queen, with Judy and Richard Fountain taking reserve with Jazzy Girl.

The top prize in the sheep section went to Robert Garth with a Beltex pair of lambs, with reserve going to Andrew Bishop.

Pic cap: Robert Garth

Reigning supreme in the newly introduced pig section was K and B Arden from Peterborough, who took home both the supreme champion pair and supreme champion single pig.

The final of Young Stock Person of the Year took centre stage on day two, with some of the country’s top young handlers going head-to-head.

Winning the Young Stock Person of the Year beef section was Thomas Martin from Norfolk, and Chelsea Bennett from Stafford took first place in the lamb competition.

Day two also saw an impressive display of pedigree stock take to the ring in the pedigree calf show. The interbreed pedigree calf championship was awarded to Meadowbrook Flossie, an Aberdeen Angus heifer from Mark Haistead, Norwich. In the interbreed group of three, it was the Lincoln Red’s that caught the judges eye and were awarded the prestigious Duke of Gloucester trophy.

Pic cap: Mark Haistead and family plus sponsor Charles Horrell and judge Dan Bull

“We would like to thank this year’s exhibitors and sponsors for their support and look forward to seeing them again at next year’s festival, which will be held on Friday 30th November and Saturday 1st December 2018,” concludes William.

Thermal imaging technology to be launched at Show

Thermal imaging technology to be launched at Show

In-line with the East of England Winter Stock Festival’s wider objective of helping producers respond to upcoming challenges in agriculture through innovation and collaboration, a range of new technology is set to be launched at this year’s event.

Held on 1 and 2 December at the East of England showground, Peterborough, the Winter Stock Festival will host the official launch of a range of thermal imaging technologies by Miracle Tech, including the first entry-level thermal imaging tablet available in the UK.

The technology, which is new to the UK market, has multiple applications, which include helping to pinpoint the cause of lameness which can prevent unnecessary antibiotic usage on-farm, explains Miracle Tech owner, George Coles.

“In 2014, I was introduced to the idea of using thermal imagery for lameness assessment and treatment, and implemented the technology on the 120-cow beef herd that I manage on the Northamptonshire/ Oxfordshire border,” says George.

The technology helps identify the source of lameness problems and ensures that the correct treatment can be given, explains George.
“The tablet can be used in the field, which means that a quick decision can be made on treatment method without the need to handle the cattle. Since implementing the technology, we have found that very often, cases of lameness don’t require antibiotic treatment and through identifying the actual cause, we have managed to reduce our antibiotic use to almost zero.”

As well as lameness treatment in cattle, the technology also has a range of other uses, says George. “The technology is highly versatile and can be used to determine when a cow is likely to calve, for monitoring bulling heat, and to identify early cases of mastitis. The tablet also has the bonus of being able to run other applications such as farm management programs.”

“I’m really looking forward to launching the technology at the Winter Stock Festival. The event, which is free to attend, attracts visitors from far and wide and is a fantastic platform for knowledge transfer.”

For more information on the thermal imaging products offered by Miracle Tech, please visit here or call George on 07751 414265.

Top industry experts lined-up for Winter Stock Festival

Top industry experts lined-up for Winter Stock Festival

East of England Winter Stock Festival has announced an excellent line-up of seminars for its 2017 event, with top industry experts scheduled to deliver the latest thinking in the agricultural sector.

Taking place on 1 and 2 December at the East of England Showground, Peterborough, the seminar programme reflects the events key focus of helping producers respond to the upcoming challenges in British agriculture, explains festival director, William Haire.

“With uncertainty hanging over the industry, collaboration is more important than ever, and we hope to unite the livestock and ancillary industries at this year’s festival,” says William.

Alongside the chance to see some of the best cattle, sheep and pigs in the country, visitors will have the opportunity to gain valuable information on the latest technologies and developments in agriculture, through seminars, demonstrations and trade stands.

Commenting on the line-up, William Haire says the seminar programme includes top speakers from AHDB and Dawn Meats Group. “Dr Liz Genever, AHDB senior beef and sheep scientist will be discussing the opportunities and benefits of livestock within an arable rotation.

“We’ll also be joined by Steve West, AHDB knowledge exchange manager for the South, to discuss the progress of the BVD free England campaign, and the steps that producers can take to help eradicate this costly disease,” he adds.

Using technical efficiencies and best practice to create a sustainable suckler herd will be the focus of Dawn Meats Group agriculture manager, Sarah Haire’s talk. “Sarah will be discussing the Newford suckler demonstration herd. A fully commercial farm, run in partnership with Teagasc, the Irish Farmer Journal and McDonalds, the herd has been set up to show how utilising technology and challenging traditional farming practices can ensure that the family suckler farm is viable,” says William.

The 2017 festival will also see the return of the highly successful careers in agriculture workshop, which will give graduates and young people the chance to discuss career options with representatives from leading agricultural companies. “We can all learn from each other for a stronger British agriculture and during this period of uncertainty, working together is vital to ensure we’re fully prepared. The Winter Stock Festival is an excellent platform for all sectors of the industry to collaborate and I very much look forward to welcoming faces old and new, to this year’s event,” he concludes.