Winning the supreme championship at the Dairy Show is the pinnacle of competition – but the pairs and heifer championships are all about future profitability.
Often edged out of the spotlight by the supreme championship, the interbreed pairs and heifer champions give a much better insight into the overall quality of the herd, says judge James Warren. He will be judging both the pairs and heifer classes at this year’s Dairy Show, and will be looking for a showcase of future excellence as well as conformity within a herd.
A dairy farmer from Penzance, Cornwall, Mr Warren milks 290 cows across three breeds, so is well informed on what makes the best animal. “I have Guernsey, Jersey and Holstein cattle so I will be looking at the merit of each animal based on its breed.”
In the pairs he is looking for uniformity and balance between the two animals that demonstrate good breeding within the herd. “The pairs can really show uniformity in a way that a single animal cannot. Exhibiting a bred pair of excellent cattle is much harder than pulling out one good animal to show,” he says.
“I want to see a good udder in the heifers. I am looking for an animal with plenty of strength, longevity, youthfulness and balance overall,” he adds. “The heifer needs to demonstrate that she has a good future ahead.”
Mr Warren believes that the commercial aspect of the animals on show is of particular importance. “I want to see animals that will last and are commercially appealing; an animal that suits its purpose.” Shows should have a big influence on the wider commercial industry, which is why you want longevity and balance in show animals, he says.
Having done well showing his own animals at the Dairy Show in the past, Mr Warren is looking forward to judging on 7 October. “It is a privilege to be asked. It is a leading autumn show and a top dairy show, so there will be a high standard of cattle there. It is a good shop window as well, particularly from the commercial side.”
Mr Warren has plenty of experience judging as he has previously judged at the Welsh Dairy Show, and judged the supreme dairy championship at the Royal Welsh Show last year. In his showing career, he won the supreme championship at the Royal Cornwall Show in 2013 with a Guernsey cow, and has taken the Guernsey breed championship at the Dairy Show an amazing five times. “I would really like to be showing myself again next year as it is a good opportunity to showcase the hard work put in at home,” he says.
“It is a great feeling to win at the Dairy Show, as there are a lot of spectators and really good quality cattle to compete against. It is always a friendly show and to win a championship is a brilliant experience as you have beaten some very good cattle to get there. It makes all of the hard work worthwhile.”
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