Winning 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 inter-breed pairs and heifer champion classes give a much better insight into overall quality of the herd, says judge James Warren.
He will be judging both 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.
He says: “I have Guernsey, Jersey and Holstein cattle, so I will be looking at the merit of each animal based on its breed.”
In pairs, he is looking for uniformity and balance between the two animals which demonstrates good breeding within the herd.
“Pairs can really show uniformity in a way a single animal cannot. Exhibiting a bred pair of excellent cattle is much harder than pulling out one good animal to show.
“I want to see a good udder on heifers. I am looking for an animal with plenty of strength, longevity, youthfulness and balance overall The heifer needs to demonstrate she has a good future ahead.”
Mr Warren believes the commercial aspect of animals on show is of particular importance.
He says: “I want to see animals which will last and are commercially appealing; an animal which 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 October 7.
“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 five times.
He says: “I would really like to be showing myself again next year, as it is a good opportunity to showcase hard work put in at home.
“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 excellent cattle to get there. It makes the hard work worthwhile.”
10am-11am: Rumen monitoring with the farmBolus, by Micron Bio-Systems
11.15am-11.45am: Cow clinic – Lameness and cattle handling, by Steve Paul, in association with the National Association of Cattle Foot Trimmers
11.45am-12.30pm: Presentation – The Dairy Industry Vet of the Future
12.30pm-1.15pm: Cow clinic – Artifical insemination and fertility, by George Collins, in association with Alta
1.30pm-2.30pm: NFU in the South West
2.30pm-3.30pm: Cow clinic – Mastitis, by Peter Edmondson