The Melplash Agricultural Society’s annual Young Farmers Stock Judging competition took place this year at Higher Sturthill Farm, Shipton Gorge by kind permission of Andrew and Helen Fry. It was attended by Young Farmers from Marshwood Vale, Beaminster, Ilminster, Sherborne and Puddletown YFC’s. The judge for the evening was farmer Mr David Sayer from Cannington near Bridgewater. David had a dairy of pedigree Ayrshire cows until he gave up milking 10 years ago; he now breeds Ayrshire heifers, keeps beef cattle and has a 100 ewes. He also visits farms and livestock markets clipping cattle in preparation for sale. A young farmer himself in the past he is still actively involved in the YFC movement; he is President of Bridgewater YFC and a Field Officer in Sedgemoor YFC.
The aim of the stock judging competition is to develop an interest and skill level of stock assessment in young people and this generation of farmers
“ Good stock judging skills are increasingly important in livestock farming.. if you don’t know the good and bad points of an animal you won’t be able to breed or buy stock well” said Judge, David Sayer.
Working in teams of two the Young Farmers were tasked to assess four dairy Holstein cows and to place the cattle in order of merit as to their suitability for milk production and breeding. They then had to present their reasons to the judge to justify their placings.
“Overall, I was impressed with the calibre and knowledge of the youngsters – in particular the way they presented their observations and choices to me… all good skills for building their confidence for the future life whether they continue their career in farming or not. ” said Judge, David Sayer.
1st and winners of the Melplash Agricultural Society Junior Shield- Jasper Love & Henrietta Love – Sherborne YFC
1st and winners of the Melplash Agricultural Society shield – Shaunna Knight & Luke Johnston – Marshwood Vale YFC
2nd: Lucy Wallbridge & James Wallbridge – Beaminster YFC
3rd: Ben Batstone & Harry Dibble – Ilminster YFC
1st and winners of the Francis W Hunt Perpetual Challenge Cup – Toby Wonnacott and Henry Cox, Puddletown YFC
2nd: Lucy Milne & Michael Crabb – Beaminster YFC
Best Newcomer: Jasper Love, Sherborne YFC
Highest Placed Individual: Shaunna Knight, Marshwood Vale YFC