A unique contest is being launched to test the skills, knowledge and abilities of teams and individual young beef farmers at this year’s National Beef Association (NBA) Beef Expo.
This inaugural competition, The Future Beef Farmer Challenge 2015, is the first of its kind in the UK. It is being run, in association with EBLEX, the Charolais Cattle Society, XL Vets and Thompsons of York, as part of the beef industry’s showcase event at York Auction Mart on Wednesday May 21st.
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 Open Challenge is for individuals aged between 16 and 36 who can enter on the day.
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.
On announcing details, NBA director, Chris Mallon, said: “There really is no competition like the Future Beef Challenge anywhere else in the UK and we’re delighted to both launch it as part of NBA Beef Expo 2015 and for it to become an integral part of annual NBA Beef Expo events in the future.
“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.”
All entrants will be required to visit the four exhibition stands around the NBA Beef Expo site, where their expertise will be tested. The British Charolais Cattle Society 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 Charolais Cross Salers, which have been chosen because they are representatives of today’s British Beef Industry.
The Charolais Society’s David Benson said: “The Challenge is designed to test beef farmer business skills and knowledge in detail. We are looking for the next generation of progressive beef farmers and the different tests that entrants will face on the day have been designed to assess their overall understanding of the industry.
“Technology and science are becoming more important to the beef industry, and a good knowledge of new developments in the sector will be vital in helping the next generation to move their farms forward.”
The EBLEX challenge will look at breeding and genetics. Competitors will be asked to compare the EBVs of six bulls and select the most appropriate choice in different scenarios, including for us on first time heifers, breeding your own replacements and for producing beef.
XL Vets has set a multiple choice health questions test, covering a range of issues including the biosecurity measures to turn a farm into a fortress against viruses and disease.
Finally, Thompsons will test entrants on their nutrition knowledge, asking them to identify seven straight feeds, four forage silages and decide whether each is primarily a source of fibre, energy or protein.
Giving further background Steve Dunkley, senior regional manager from EBLEX, said: “The Future Beef Farmer Challenge is designed to identify a number of forward thinking, younger beef farmers that we as industry organisations can get behind, support and help develop.
“There is a tremendous calibre of young farmers out there and I am sure that the winners of these competitions will be advocates for the industry in the future.
The winning team will be awarded the NBA’s Duke of Northumberland Trophy and the winner of the open class will receive the NBA Frank Momber Memorial Trophy. A range of other prizes for first, second and third places will include Yorkshire Show Tickets, a voucher to attend workshops organised by EBLEX and XL Vets, Farmskills, plus goody bags.
Teams interested in entering must pre-register by May 7 by contacting the EBLEX Northern Office on 01904 771214.