National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

21 November 2017

The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) celebrated its 20th year of hosting its national stockjudging final at Staffordshire County Showground during the English Winter Fair at the weekend (18-19 November).

Twenty one teams from across England and Wales judged and gave reasons for beef and lamb live and carcase in the first of NFYFC’s national finals of its 2017-18 competitions programme.

It was the second consecutive year that Herefordshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (FYFC) was declared the overall winner. The team made up of Polly Aubrey, Lee Thomas, Megan Phillips and Andrew Bennett scored the highest marks in all areas of the competition and won the much-coveted John Spear trophy.

This trophy is one of four trophies that were given to NFYFC back in the 1950s when the stockjudging competitions were first held at the Royal Smithfield Show in London. The official presentation of awards was made by William Bedell from the Smithfield Club and Robert Madders, the Chairman of the English Winter Fair committee.

One Herefordshire team member, Andrew Bennett, celebrated a hat trick of wins as he also won first place in the Senior category for judging Lamb live and Carcase and, along with Megan Phillips, won The Smithfield Trophy. Andrew, 20, from Dilwyn YFC, was delighted with the result.

“Yorkshire seemed to be taking a clean sweep so we were very shocked when the results were read out and over the moon when Herefordshire were announced the overall winners. A huge thank you to our trainers John Hanson, Roger Williams and Tom Bennett.”

Andrew said his stockjudging experiences have helped him grow in confidence since he joined his YFC four years ago.

“At school I was very nervous with presentations in front of a class of 20,” said Andrew. “But by being involved in Young Farmers and presenting to the judges at stockjudging, it has given me confidence and I’m quite happy to talk in front of the whole school now!”

The annual competition encourages YFC members to judge two groups of live cattle and two groups of beef carcases. They must place a group of four cattle and carcases in order of merit and give reasons. They are also asked to judge two classes of live lambs and two classes of carcases.

The carcases were provided by Bradshaw Bros, the beef from the exhibitors and the lambs from Madders & Johnson.

The competition is supported by AHDB Beef and Lamb, Rutland Electric Fencing and the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society.

Katie Thorley, AHDB Knowledge Transfer Senior Manager, said: “We support the NFYFC’s national final of stockjudging competitions because selection for slaughter is a vital part of stockmanship. To maximise returns it is important to know your market and produce animals to hit their specification.”

NFYFC members are currently being offered Meat for the Market training with AHDB to help improve these skills.

Richard Whittington, part of the AHDB selection team, was a judge over the weekend and said: “As judge of the NFYFC national senior stock judging competition I was looking for the competitors to have an understanding of modern day market requirements. I'm pleased to say they showed me this particularly in the carcase section. The standard was high and a good advert for YFC and the future of British farming.”

Former YFC member Richard Gardiner, Lecturer and Programme Manager in Agriculture at Newton Rigg College, was also a judge and was equally impressed with competitors.

“Thank you to NFYFC for asking me to judge – I had two very enjoyable days. The quality of the judging was of a very high standard and a credit to all the competitors who took part and a wealth of knowledge was shown for both the live and carcase judging."

A YFC supper, sponsored by Bagshaws Agriculture, was held on the Saturday evening with more than 90 YFC members, judges and stewards attending.

The 2017-18 first place winners:

Intermediate Beef - Live & Carcase 1st Place: Tom Barley Yorkshire B

Senior Live Beef and Carcase: Harriet Wilson, Staffordshire A

Intermediate Lamb Live & Carcase 1st Place: Anna Elgie, Yorkshire B            

Senior Lamb Live and Carcase: Andrew Bennett: Herefordshire A

The Mark Madders Trophy, awarded to the County Intermediate team with the highest score (Beef and Lamb): Tom Barley and Anna Elgie, Yorkshire B

The Bob Williams Trophy, awarded to the County Senior team with the highest combined score, beef and lamb: Harriet Wilson and Jonathan Wilson, Staffordshire

The Smithfield Trophy for Beef Live and Carcase awarded to: Rebecca Dennis & Steven Crimp, Devon C and Robert Mollatt & Harriet Wilson, Staffordshire A

The Smithfield Trophy, presented for Lamb live and carcase: Megan Phillips and Andrew Bennett, Herefordshire A

The John Spear Trophy, awarded to the County with the overall highest marks: Polly Aubrey, Lee Thomas, Megan Phillips and Andrew Bennett , Herefordshire A

For the full list of winners and final placements visit our results page.  

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