SOUTHLAND’S A&P show was forced last year to cancel the cattle section for the first time in its 150 year history, but this year it is back with a difference – none of the cattle will be judged at the show itself.
Instead of the cattle coming to the show, this year the judges will be travelling across the Southland countryside to judge the cattle in their paddocks.
Cattle section marshall Rob Hall said because of the Mycoplasma bovis disease, the show’s cattle committee had decided to take judging to the farms.
A&P Show president Paula Bell praised the cattle committee for making it happen.
“This year the cattle committee have worked incredibly hard to organise the cattle section, which will be judged on-farm.”
Historically there have been about 150 cattle – dairy and beef – entered into the show, but organisers believe that with the on-farm judging there may be even more entrants this year as farmers will not have the problems associated with getting their beasts to the showgrounds.
“Having the cattle section being judged on-farm also opens up further opportunities for breeders who might not normally show cattle.”
Mrs Bell described the on-farm judging as exciting.
“There has been an incredible amount of work go into making the section happen and we are fortunate to have such a dedicated group of breeders on our cattle committee.
“We now want breeders to support them and our show by entering what is a first for the Southland A&P Show.”
Show media spokeswoman Tabitha Hazlett said judging would take place in the week before the show opened.
She did not believe the cancellation of the cattle section last year had had a major impact on attendance, with the exception that possibly some of the cattle exhibitors had not attended the show.
This year will mark the 150th celebration of the beef and dairy sections at the show.
Prize-giving for the cattle section will still be held at the Donovan Park showgrounds on March 2. Entries for the cattle section close on February 10.
The show will not be totally devoid of cattle as there will be a junior handler competition at the show, with one breeder’s cattle available for entrants, who will be taught the ropes from some committee’s experienced cattle showmen.
Last year organisers put up an exhibition showcasing the history of cattle farming in Southland.
This year there will also be a craft market where various items will be on sale, including the photographs from a local photographer, homemade fudge and designer children’s clothing among others.
Mrs Hazlett said there will be two stages at the show – one where the prize-giving will take place and another will be the community stage where local performers, such as Highland dancers and singers, could showcase their talents.