Herefordshire County Federation of YFC are celebrating winning the Farmer and Stockbreeders Trophy for the first time at NFYFC’s Dairy Stockjudging final.
The competition, which was held at the Great Yorkshire Show in July, and was sponsored by Kerbl/Rutland Electric Fencing, involved more than 80 YFC competitors across three age categories.
But it was Herefordshire that scored the most points to win the overall team trophy, as well as winning the Harold Jackson Perpetual Cup in the 28 and under category by Pontrilas YFC member Chloe Watkins.
Chloe who has been involved in YFC since she was 10 years old, grew up on a beef farm but developed a love for dairy cows through YFC.
Chloe studied Animal Science and completed a Masters in Livestock Science at Aberystwyth University and now works as a Genetic Services Consultant at Genus ABS.
“I have a passion for dairy cows through university and obviously now in my job as well. They’re just fascinating. In the job that I do, I work with a lot of data about cows and obviously with genetics trying to make the most efficient cows possible. There’s so much we can do with them and so much to learn about them,” said Chloe who recently married a dairy farmer and only returned from honeymoon two days before the national final. It’s also her first year in Pontrilas YFC – as she moved to a club closer to her husband’s farm on the condition that he also had to re-join.
Despite working in a role that helped her score top marks on the Linear Assessment side of the competition, Chloe credits her older brother with her stockjudging knowledge.
“My brother trained me from the age of 10. He did a lot of work with me. It took me a few years to get it right. I do owe him a lot for helping me when I was younger and getting me up to the level I am today,” said Chloe who has competed nine times in the national Dairy Stockjudging final. “It all comes down to reason giving and being able to potentially persuade the judge that you are right – even if you aren’t quite there.”
Chloe’s brother has helped train YFC. members at a club and county level and recently judged a mystery stockjudging challenge at the junior field day, where members had to give reasons on a set of four mixing spoons.
“It’s all about where you get your points from – the accuracy, the observation and the comparison and you can relate that to anything really,” said Chloe, who met her team mates George Clay and Isabel at county training earlier in the year.
The winning team also won a Dual Energiser Electric Fencing Unit, courtesy of sponsors Kebl/Rutland Electric Fencing. A useful bit of kit that Chloe’s husband has already been using.
Sean Mcmenamin, Area Sales Manager, Northern England, Kerbl UK, Rutland Electric Fencing, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to sponsor the young farmers in this competition. It’s great to see them and their efforts being rewarded. They truly are the future of British farming and we look forward to supporting them all in the future.”
The Farmers Weekly Trophy for the 16 and under category was won by Lauren from Devon who lives on a dairy farm with more than 200 cows. Liam Poyser from Staffordshire won the JS Clark Perpetual Challenge Cup for the 21 and under age group.
Liam who manages his own pedigree dairy herd of Holsteins said he has taken part in many dairy stockjudging competitions and was “thrilled to win” the intermediate competition.