“Entries have been flooding in from producers around the country, with new classes offering competitors plenty of chances to take home the silverware,” says head of shows Alan Lyons. “Livestock are a key part of the British economy, and to reflect the importance of commercial success, we have introduced two new cross-bred cattle classes and increased the number of commercial cattle classes.”
In addition, this year will see the best Dexter cattle in the country congregating for the Dexter Society National Show, while a new discipline in the Cattle Showmanship Competition will test competitors’ presentation abilities to the max – as having judged, prepared and shown, they now have to photograph their animal.
In the sheep lines, Portland, Primitive and Shetland sheep now have their own class, and young sheep handlers will have even more opportunities to show off their skills with five classes to choose from. “We are also hosting the Golden Shears Junior and Open Sheep Shearing Championships, attracting the best sheep shearers from across the country,” says Mr Lyons. “In addition, this year we are hosting the South West area qualifier for the National Young Farmers Clubs, leading to the final at the Great Yorkshire Show in July.”
A new class for veteran sows complements the veteran pig exhibitor prize, while in the poultry section there are classes for virtually every breed of large fowl, bantam, pigeon, duck, goose and turkey – and their eggs – you can think of, culminating in the Poultry Club Summer National championships.
There is also an orchard competition for cider and apple producers, with entries judged on tree health, tidiness, apple crops, pruning and the environment. Winners receive industry-wide recognition and get to host an orchard walk led by an industry expert in July.
“As ever we have secured some of the best national and international judges for our livestock and orchard competitions, and exhibitors will need to be at the top of their game to claim the prestigious championship prizes,” says Mr Lyons. “But the Show is also one of the friendliest on the circuit, with a wonderful Showmans’ Supper and live music going on into the night. With close competition, over £70,000 of prize money and a superb atmosphere it really is an event not to miss.”