Saturday 22nd July 2017
Cattle and Sheep
Over the past ten years since the traumas of foot and mouth disease, the cancelling of the show and all the horrendous sights you will remember around the North of England particularly, this section of the show has grown in strength, both with the quality of the animals shown and the numbers.
In 2010 we had the most cattle at the show for many years, but about 90% of the animals are beef type animals, the type used to put meat on the plate in front of you on a Sunday.
It is an unfortunate reality that the numbers of dairy cattle within the Aire Valley is now about 10% of what it was 30 years ago, and this is reflected at the show. The cost of making milk and the low return from it has sadly made many farming families give up what they have known for generations and stop the production of your daily pinta.
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We are however, lucky that some of those who continue also attend the show and give you a slight insight to the type of animals that they carefully produce and nurture for this purpose. The breeds we see in this area are mainly the Holstein, generally black and white, up 6 feet tall at the shoulder, and capable of producing about 40 – 50 pints of milk per day.
They are derived from the smaller British Friesian, popular a few years ago, and crossed with Canadian blood to breed the taller leaner higher producing British Holstein we see today. Another more traditional milk producing breed on show will be the Dairy Shorthorn. A red and white animal often a roan colour are still popular, and are seen throughout England.
The beef animals on show will have just as greater contrast, form the European breeds such as Belgian Blue, Blonde D'Aquitaine, Limousin – the most popular by number in the UK, with their double muscling, to the more traditional Hereford with its characteristic white head, and possibly the jet blackness of the Aberdeen Angus.
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