Young Limousin Breeder Richard Priestley of Hill Top Farm, Denholme, Bradford represented the British Limousin Cattle Society at the Canadian Western Agribition Show held in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, 18-28th November 2011. Having qualified by placing highest in the 17-21 age group at the Young Limousin Breeders’ Club (YLBC) Annual Stockjudging Competition held at this year’s Royal Highland Show, Richard joined a multi-breed group of young breeders in a British Team to take part in the 4H International Judging Competition – the Canadian equivalent to Young Farmers.
The stock judging competition itself set the challenge of selecting the best out of 12 different classes of stock which included Dairy Heifers, Milking Cows, Bred Beef Heifers, Market Steers, Halter Bull Calves with performance figures, Commercial Bulls, Light Horses, Market Heifers, Market Hog Barrows, Breeding Gilts, Beef Heifers and Draft Horses. Said Richard: “This was quite a test as the most I have ever judged at YFC is four classes in a day. We also had to give eight sets of oral reasons on the classes.”
At the Awards Breakfast the following day, Richard was placed a very creditable sixth out of 59 entrants in the individual competition, the best a UK young breeder has ever achieved. A clearly delighted Richard said: “This was much better than I was expecting given the fact the cattle are so different to what we have in the UK. The Canadians are looking for a more easy-care animal with sound legs and less muscling, with emphasis being placed on the colour of both meat and fat. The fat cattle have more finish about them and less shape, compared to the continental commercial cattle in the UK.”
Judging aside, the youngsters had the opportunity to meet interesting and experienced people from the beef industry worldwide including Canada, America and Eastern Europe. According to Richard, who runs his own pedigree Limousin Airedale prefix as well as helping with the family’s Brontemoor Herd, the Canadian Limousin and other continental breeds are more like native UK Angus and Hereford Cattle.
During their time at Agribition, the UK group also got to see a Speckled Park Sale, a Bison Sale which topped at $20,000 and the Club Calf Sale which is the equivalent of UK commercial show calves. Other highlights included an International Evening in the Regina Casino, a trip to John Deere, a visit to the Ranch Rodeo as well as further farm visits. These included Borderlines Feedlot with 12,000 cattle, a ranch with 400 Angus cows running on 9,000 acres, a purebred Charolais herd and a 200 cow commercial unit also farming 7,500 arable acres. “It was incredible to see the scale of farming inCanadaand discover that the cattle are outside all year round, despite the freezing conditions – the temperature dropped to minus 30c the week we were there but, unlike in theUK, life carried on as usual,” said Richard.
He added: “Agribition is one of the best things I’ve ever had the opportunity to do, and I’d like to thank our chaperones Jim Barber and Robert Johnstone who gave up their time to organise the trip and take us. Finally, a big thank-you also to the British Limousin Cattle Society and all of the sponsors for helping to make such a memorable and enjoyable trip.”