Commercial dairy and beef farming has been at the heart of Cheshire farming for centuries, with land and stock passed down the family. The Royal Cheshire Show once again is hosting dozens of cattle classes, designed to showcase the finest the county (and beyond!) has to offer.
We took some time out of the excitement of show prep to catch up with one of our long time show supporters, committee member and producers, Paul Gerrard, who talked to us about the blood, sweat and tears that go into producing a show animal.
“From an early age I have always had a keen interest in showing both dairy and beef cattle. I was fortunate enough to have farming backgrounds on both sides of my family, one being a commercial dairy/beef farm and the other being a pedigree dairy and beef enterprise, which led to my interest in the Show ring. From just 3 years of age my Grandpa and Uncle encouraged me to take up showing the prize winning animals that they were producing for their business. It taught me fantastic life lessons such as responsibility, integrity, dedication and record keeping skills. The encouragement I got from my Grandpa and my growing experience led me to start my own pedigree British Blue herd and pedigree Holstein Friesian herd from scratch under the prefix of Antrobus that is continuing to grow.”
Paul’s passion shines through as he goes on to talk about the year round effort that goes into producing high quality show animals and getting them into the ring on the day.
“It starts with a dream, then an aim and then reality. You are producing an animal to be viable to your business whether you are producing milk or breeding a bull for a beef enterprise. Having an animal that walks well for you and is polite is the ultimate aim. The dream is to produce an animal, which will do this and provide you that red rosette at the show.
Having a prize-winner in your herd gives you huge credibility which people really aspire to, and is the best advert for your business.
Ultimately the show is your shop window there are many opportunities from finding buyers for your progeny, embryos, possibility of sires being chosen for semen sales and cattle exports. Having a good marketing strategy when exhibiting brings a big boost to your profile and income and is an important part of this showing experience.
The Show is a huge spectacle for your herd and its surprising how much the cattle enjoy it and show themselves off. At the end of the day its key to remember it’s the taking part that counts, the judge’s word is final and your time will come. Showing cattle can be hard work but for me it’s a fun and rewarding experience. So why not have a go.”