Something to celebrate
ROYAL SHOW: Record sheep entry and first Boer goat competition
MORE than 1 600 animals will be competing at the 2011 Royal Show, which celebrates its 160th anniversary this year and which is South Africa’s oldest and largest mixed agricultural show.
The numbers are being attributed, in part, to the fact that the Royal Show is hosting four national championships — for breeders of Hereford cattle and Ile de France, Suffolk and Hampshire Downs sheep.
The record sheep entry of 660 animals, the largest entry for two decades, includes 35 white Dorpers, who will be travelling from Limpopo to compete — the first time that white Dorpers will be taking part, spokesperson for the sheep section, Mike Moncur said. And Ile de France breeders will be showing in numbers this year with more than 170 animals entered for the national championships.
“It’s going to be an unbelievable show,” Moncur said. “Animals of some of the top studs in the country will be here.”
The sheep section will also be hosting a Boer goat competition for the first time, during which more than 100 animals, some of which will be travelling to Pietermaritzburg from the Northern Cape, will be judged on May 27.
In the cattle section, in addition to the Voermol Hereford National Championships, there will be competitions for the Pinzgauer, Pinzyl, Santa Gertrudis, Brahman, Angus, Limousin, Simmentaler, Simbra, Braunveih, Huguenot, Holstein and Jersey breeds.
The competitions in both the sheep and cattle sections will conclude with the inter-breed judging and the announcement of the 2011 supreme champions. The best sheep on show will be revealed at the Sheep and Wool Expo venue on June 1, while the prizes for the best cattle on show will be handed out in the main arena on June 2, following the Gold Cup parade of champions.
To complement the competitive cattle section, classes for around 200 commercial heifers — to be judged on functionality and performance — will take place for the third consecutive year, on the final weekend.
Farmers can also look forward to the Royal Show carcass competition, one of the best red meat auction events of its kind in the country on June 1.
Having achieved world record prices in past years (R3 000 per kilogram for the winning lamb carcass in 2007) and with more than 200 entries expected, competition will be keen.
In line with Royal shows elsewhere in the Commonwealth, 2011 will see the breed societies given marketing and branding exposure via an expo, sponsored by the Land Bank, which aims to provide current and potential breeders and commercial farmers with pertinent information, and to inform and educate visitors to the show.
Another attraction is the Sheep and Wool Expo, which is in its 12th year and will include displays of alpacas, indigenous goats, various sections of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), daily sheep shearing and lots more.
Last, but not least, South Africa’s young farmers have the chance to shine in the Youth and Future Farmers’ Show, which takes place on May 29.
The Royal Show takes place at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg from May 27 to June 5.
Last year’s Wool and Sheep Expo at the Royal Show. Fat and flourishing — two Boer goats stare haughtily at the camera.
The sheep section will be hosting a Boer goat competition for the first time this year.