Monday 31 July 2023
Following the release of the Sustainable Farming Scheme earlier in July, the Welsh Government was being questioned by bodies such as NFU Cymru at this year’s Royal Welsh Show at Llanelwedd, with faces such as Gareth Wyn Jones posting on this topic throughout the week urging for the policy to be reviewed and made more accessible to the masses.
Despite this and an unseasonably cold and wet start to the first day at the show, the cattle shed was abuzz with activity. Bodies moving around beasts, coats brushed, finishing touches applied, and farmers doing what they do best – tending to the welfare of their animals ahead of a busy day.
As if by divine intervention, the rain stopped when the Herefords stepped into the show ring, and things continued to heat up. Under the watchful eye of Mr Des Kelly, Northern Ireland, the Hereford classes were thoroughly assessed and enjoyed. New to the Royal Welsh, Mr Kelly had been invited to judge previously with his debut delayed due to the pandemic. Mr Kelly, gave some insight into a judge’s perspective and explained what he was hoping to see.
“I came to the show hoping to see animals that weren’t unnecessarily pushed, with natural muscle, power and clean throughout. It was well worth the wait!” he said.
At the end of the Hereford classes, the animal leaving with the coveted Supreme Champion rosette and sash was Solpoll 1 Trailblazer, adding another championship title to his ever-increasing resume this season following his success as Supreme Male Champion and first within the Senior Bull Class on Monday. These wins come hot on the heels of Trailblazers’ recent wins as the Interbreed Champion at the Shropshire County show and reserve Interbreed Champion at Bath and West.
Tapped out by Des Kelly for his natural ability, proper form and power, this Northern Irish-bred bull, purchased for £10,000 from John and William McMordie, exhibited by L&L Bowen, is proving to be an exciting addition to the Bowendu herd, with his successes not limited to the bull classes.
His progeny Bowendu 1 Ruby took second prize later in the morning, scooping up both heifer born between January and March 2022 and overall female champion, following in her sire’s hoof prints in doing so. To add to an already strong start Ruby later in the week, claimed reserves in both the exhibitor-bred championship and the junior heifer interbreed beef championship, despite fierce competition.
Another well-decorated member of the Bowendu herd, Ruby is no stranger to the ring. Winner of the heifer born between Jan and March class at Shropshire County Show in May and a previous Christmas Calf Show junior champion.
Brought forward by Mr Kelly, he said ‘She had the style, lovely head, and a clean and nice power whilst remaining feminine’.
Having only been members since 2016, L&L Bowen, Nelson, Glamorgan are delighted to have gained success on home soil.
Another bull who took the ring by storm, earning seven titles throughout the four days, was Harveybros 1 Willy-The-Womanizer from G&S Harvey.
Born in March 2022 from father and daughter double act: George and Sophie Harvey, Willy’s success made the 345-mile journey from Blafron, Glasgow to Builth Wells worthwhile.
He sits comfortably in reserve supreme champion besides Trailblazer, following his win in bull born between Jan and April ’22 class, exhibitor bred champion, junior bull interbreed reserve champion, breed male reserve champion, and Elite Junior Bull champion.
“The junior bull champion, I really liked,” remarked Des Kelly “Long, clean, wide and carried width and power through the back end, which helped placed him as overall reserve champion.”
The trio have been familiar faces within the show circuit this season winning the junior bull class at The Royal Highland Show in June and male and junior male champion at the 2022 Agri Expo.
As the week drew on, Willy once again donned his show halter to re-enter the ring finishing the week on a high by seizing the junior interbreed native breed championship title.
Within the female breed championship, Kingsland 1 Starlet 22 was selected by Des Kelly as the reserve champion, revealing that there was a fine margin between first and second place.
“My reserve female champion was a smooth and correct heifer who was lovely through the shoulder and back”. He commented.
Brought to the show from Vaughan Farms, Kingsland, Herefordshire, born March 2022, this heifer, sired by 2018 Royal Welsh Show Supreme champion and Three Counties Show Male Champion Gouldingpoll. Another heifer moving from strength to strength, Starlet claimed reserve junior female at the Three Counties show in June.
The Kingsland herd saw further success, with Kingsland 1 Wolf achieving reserve champion within the junior bull championship. A half-brother to the reserve female champion, sire Gouldingpoll Moonshine has been stamping his progeny with the winning gene.
E L Lewis & Son brought Havenfield 1 Weston across the border to seek success in Llanelwedd.
Weston did not disappoint, winning his class bull born between Sep and Dec ‘21.
Bred by E L Lewis & Son, Weston is by Solpoll 1 Lawman the supreme champion at the Tullamore show in 2016 and 2017; grandsire is also Panmure 1 Henry.
Earning the red rosette for bull born on or after May 2022 was DE, ED & AL Jones’ Dendor 1 Atlas, one of the more local exhibitors. DE, ED & AL Jones have been members of the society since 1963, seeing multiple successes in the Christmas Calf Sales.
Dendor 1 Atlas’ half-sister, Dendor 1 Jano 23rd, sired by Pepperstock 1 Trigger, mirrored Atlas’ success in winning the junior breed heifer class.
The female classes started with a smaller but well-represented senior female class, seeing the daughter of 2019 sire of the year, SMH Kingsize 87K, Moralee 1 Ruth from Glynis and David Sherman, bred by Tom and Di Harrison, come out on top.
In the Heifer with calf or calf at foot class born between Jan and Aug 2021, third-generation Bromley bred Bromley 1 Thunya 953 caught the judge’s eye and proceeded to win the class.
From Studdolph Vogue lines, with bloodlines leading back to their original polled purchase in 2005, Dendor 1 Greta 5th, Studdolph 1 Vogue saw red with Mr Kelly tapping her out as the winner in heifer born between Sep and Dec ’21.
We caught up with Mr Kelly following the proceedings.
“I enjoyed judging the class. There wasn’t a bottom end within the classes, and there was good consistency throughout with animals parading well.”
Wednesday marked the beginning of the young handler classes, an opportunity for the future of the show ring to demonstrate what skilled and accomplished handlers we have coming up for the future.
The interest in Interbreed Young Handler Beef competition was magnified this year, with the attendance of celebrity judge Sara Cox, alongside her dad and long-time member/supporter of the breed Len Cox.
Drawing attention from media sources that would otherwise bypass the agricultural event, it was a fantastic opportunity to showcase to a wider audience the hard work and dedication involved in showing these tremendous creatures.
No stranger to the ring herself, Sara Cox’s excitement to judge the class was evident, prompting a short clip post alongside fellow BBC broadcaster and native Welsh man, Gethin Jones.
With her family having much to do with the Hereford society over the years, Sara, Dad Len and Brother Robert took the opportunity to visit old friends in the cattle sheds before taking up the position of judges in the cattle ring.
Represented by three teams of two handlers, the Hereford was well-represented in a class consisting of various other native and continental breeds. Following much scrutiny from Sara, handlers Cara Doggett and Ollie Garnett-Smith were chosen as the winners, sighted by Sara as they had the “extra 5% and sparkle.”
On the final day, seven Hereford members representing the UK Hereford Youth partook in the last of the young handler classes. The conditions were unfavourable, with some of the animals losing patience.
Despite the elements, the skilled young handlers kept their composure, and their hard work paid off.
Olwen Roberts placed third in the Junior Section. Findlay Soutter won first, Grace Denning third and Freddie Cloke fifth in the Intermediates. Ethan Brook took first, Cara Doggett third, and Harvey Clock placed seventh in the seniors.
At the end of these four exceptional days, we would like to congratulate all those who took part and made the event such a fantastic experience for all, as well as a big thanks to our sponsors Dunbia for their continued support.