Young Aberdeen-Angus enthusiasts impress judges at Youth Development Programme National Final

Young Aberdeen-Angus enthusiasts impress judges at Youth Development Programme National Final


The 2016 Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society’s weekend event, which incorporated the National Final was yet again a close fought competition between all three age categories, with judges giving particular praise to the younger end of the competitors.

Taking place at the East of England Showground, Peterborough, some 35 finalists gathered from across the UK and Ireland for a series of morning workshops and seminars with the afternoon seeing the competitive end of the weekend as the juniors, intermediates and seniors who have qualified from workshops held in the summer excelled in areas such as stock judging, clipping and dressing and ring craft. The senior finalists, who were all competing for the chance of a world Angus study trip of their choosing, also took part in a panel interview.

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Leading the way in the seniors was 21-year old Ruth Perry, from Cranbrook in Kent. A solid front runner throughout all categories, Ruth has come through the Kent Young Farmers rankings and has been showing for a number of years for the Warrenho team of Rob Bishop and family and off the back of the knowledge gained started her own herd with the purchase of a Balmachie-bred female in Stirling last year.

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Commenting on Ruth’s win, Society chief executive and senior interview panel judge Johnny Mackey said: “It was great to see someone who has progressed throughout the YDP over the last few years do so well this year. A confident young lady on all topics of the Aberdeen-Angus breed, I have no doubt in that Ruth will be an exemplary ambassador for the Society both at home and overseas.” 

Coming through as winner of the intermediate section was 18 year-old Andrew Adam, Angus, Scotland. Andrew has shown great improvement year on year in all things YDP. Coming from a successful pedigree enterprise at Newhouse breeding Limousin and Charolais cattle, as well as his own flock of Blue Faced Leicester sheep, Andrew is yet another avid Aberdeen-Angus fan as he stepped in to the ring at Stirling in February as a shadow youth judge and then established his herd with a heifer purchase from the Tonley herd.

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Commenting on Andrew’s performance throughout the competition, clipping and presentation judge Boomer Birch said: “The intermediate section was incredibly strong with a lot of young talent throughout the category and Andrew held his own throughout the section. He showed good knowledge and spent the time to assess his animal and chose his products wisely before he started preparing.”

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Meanwhile, in the juniors 10-year-old Grace Denning from Somerset impressed the judges in all areas. For such a young Aberdeen-Angus fan, her stock judging presentation was incredibly strong giving clear and concise reasons, commented master judge Roger Long.

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Equally, ring craft judge Matthew Goulding was incredibly impressed with her. “She had a tricky heifer who played up at the start of the class, but she handled her well showing great confidence and skill.”

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The weekend final also included a number of technical seminars in the morning including topics such as grass quality and management and carcass cuts and selection. All YDP workshop attendees were invited and some took the chance to attend the workshops and compete in the stock judging competition for further experience.

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East London-based Brandon Brocket hails from a city farm background and was pointed in the direction of the YDP when he took a lambing assistant post in Macclesfield. Having attending the South East workshop in the summer, 18-year old Brandon felt the weekend event was the perfect opportunity to meet like minded, young stock enthusiasts and further his experience.

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“I’m currently studying for my Level 2 in Animal Care at Caple Manor in Crystal Palace alongside my work on the City Farm, but I’ve big aspirations of moving out of the city and taking a stockman’s job on a farm. I love all things livestock, particularly sheep and cattle and the workshop was a great opportunity for me to get hands on experience.”

Adding her thoughts to the weekend, YDP co-ordinator Gayle Bersey said: “Every year the final weekend event delivers my expectations of these youngsters. It’s great to see the real young ones take on the challenge of competition just as much as it is to see some of those who have worked their way up the age categories go on and impress the judges. A particular thank you must go to the team at East of England for hosting this year and the many workshop speakers, judges, stewards and helpers who all made the weekend yet another great addition to the YDP calendar.” 

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Section results:

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Stock judging

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1st – Grace Denning, Somerset

2nd – Kirsty Campbell, Scottish Borders

3rd – Andrew Hamill, Northern Ireland

4th – Lottie Hill, Somerset 


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1st – Andrew Hamill, Northern Ireland

2nd – Kerris Richards, Cornwall

3rd – Grace Denning, Somerset

4th – Lottie Hill, Somerset 


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1st – Kerris Richards, Cornwall

2nd – Grace Denning, Somerset

3rd – Kirsty Campbell, Scottish Borders

4th – Lottie Hill, Somerset 

Overall Junior Winner – Grace Denning 

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Stock judging

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1st – Holly Lutkin, Norfolk and John McCulloch, Perthshire

2nd – David Rea, Northern Ireland

3rd – Andrew Adam, Angus

4th – Shona Andrew, Ayrshire


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1st – Holly Lutkin, Norfolk

2nd – Maddie Clarke, Norfolk

3rd – Donald MacLean, Hampshire

4th – Andrew Adam, Angus 


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1st – David Rea, Northern Ireland

2nd – John McCulloch, Perthshire

3rd – Andrew Adam, Angus

4th – Grace Cruickshanks, Ayrshire 

Overall Intermediate Winner – Andrew Adam

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Stock Judging

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1st – Ashleigh Fenwick, Yorkshire

2nd – Ruth Perry, Kent

3rd – Georgina Laws, Yorkshire

4th – Jake Sayer, Somerset 


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1st – Thomas Blackburn, Lincolnshire

2nd – Ruth Perry, Kent

3rd – Georgina Laws, Yorkshire

4th – Eoin Cummings, Perthshire


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1st – Thomas Blackburn, Lincolnshire

2nd – Callum Smith, Ayrshire

3rd – Angus MacLean, Hampshire

4th – Mark Wattie, Aberdeen 

Panel Interview

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1st – Calum Smith, Ayrshire

2nd – Georgina Laws, Yorkshire and Ruth Perry, Kent

3rd – Ashleigh Fenwick, Yorkshire

4th – Jake Sayer, Somerset 

Overall Senior Winner – Ruth Perry 

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Public Speaking Competition on Sunday – Andrew Adam and Angus MacLean

Junior Print marketing on Sunday – Lottie Hill and Archie Jeary