Beef Expo 2016 to host Future Beef Farmer Challenge

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For the second year a unique contest is being held to test the skills, knowledge and abilities of teams and individual young beef farmers at this year’s National Beef Association (NBA) Beef Expo.

The Future Beef Farmer Challenge was launched in 2015 and was the first of its kind in the UK. This year the NBA are encouraging beef farmers aged 36 and under from across Northern Ireland to take part.

The challenge will be run in association with AHDB Beef and Lamb, Carrs Billington, XL Vets and Derbyshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs, as part of the beef industry’s showcase event at Bakewell Auction Mart on Friday, May 20.

Entrants can take part either as a team or as an individual. Teams must pre-register their entry and The Team Challenge is open to teams of two to four members, aged from 16 to 26. The Individual Challenge is for individuals aged between 16 and 36. Applications must be made in advance by either completing the form on the NBA website or by contacting the AHDB Beef and Lamb Northern Office on 01904 771214.

All will face four challenges at four sponsored stands, where they will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of breeding and genetics, cattle health, nutrition and cattle selection for slaughter.

The winning team will be awarded the NBA’s Duke of Northumberland Trophy, and the winning individual will receive the NBA Frank Momber Memorial Trophy.

NBA Director, Chris Mallon, said: “We were delighted with the success of Future Beef Farmer Challenge last year which attracted a high level of interest from both individuals and teams. To move forward within the industry it is very important to have an in-depth knowledge of the beef sector at both a practical and a scientific level. This competition is designed to challenge both, and we are delighted that it is to become such an integral part of our annual NBA Beef Expo.

“Encouraging the next generation of progressive beef farmers is hugely important for the future sustainability of the industry, and it’s something we at the NBA are very keen to support.”

The Livestock Selection Challenge is to correctly classify four finished cattle using the EUROP grid. Points will be awarded for identifying the correct conformation and fat class. This challenge will use four steers, which have been chosen in conjunction with the Derbyshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs to be representative of today’s British beef industry.

The AHDB challenge will look at breeding and genetics. Competitors will be asked a series of questions and then asked to compare the EBVs of a number of bulls, and select the most appropriate choice in different scenarios.

XL Vets has set a multiple choice health question test, covering a range of issues including the biosecurity measures to turn a farm into a fortress against viruses and disease as well as the safe use of medicines.

Finally, Carrs Billington will test entrants on their nutrition knowledge, asking them to identify seven straight feeds and decide whether each is primarily a source of fibre, energy or protein and then four beef diets and there most appropriate use.

Teams interested in entering must pre-register by May 6th by either completing the form on the NBA website www.nationalbeefassociation.com/beef-expo/competitionsby contacting the AHDB Beef and Lamb Northern Office on 01904 771214.