Last Sunday I headed up to Worcester Cattle Market with a few other members of my Young Farmers club for the Worcestershire Young Farmers Stockman of the Year competition. As many of you know, my one previous stock judging experience from last year (which you can read about here) wasn’t all that successful. So it won’t surprise you to hear that I did not sign myself up for this competition, it’s just what you get when you don’t turn up to a meeting!
Anyway, I turned up ready for my young stockman of the year competition with my shirt, tie, white coat, freshly showered wellies (go and check out my Instagram if you don’t know what I’m talking about!) and all of the other things you need for stock judging. However, we got there and it was decided that we didn’t have enough members for a junior team, hence I was promoted to the senior stock judging team.
The first task of the day was the animal health and husbandry questionnaire which was definitely a challenge despite the fact that it was multiple choice! Once I had completed that it was on to the stock judging… The four classes we were judging were dairy cows, butchers cattle, finished lambs and butchers pigs. I had only ever judged breeding ewes so it was all new to me! I enjoyed judging the dairy cows the most and definitely had the most to say about them.
The first ring I had to judge was butchers cattle, then finished lambs, butchers pigs and finally dairy cows. I surprised myself with how much information I was able to come up with for my reasoning…
At the end of the day, we managed to come 7th out of 12 which we were quite pleased with as we aren’t a team of experienced competitors.
If you get the chance to be involved in a stock judging competition I would definitely recommend it as it helps you to develop your understanding of livestock and the requirements for the current market. Not only that, but it also helps to develop your presentation skills and encourages you to make observations and decisions under time pressure. It is something that I think everyone in YFC should have a go at!
If you are interested in joining your local young farmer’s club you can find more information from the NFYFC here.