Stock judging teams are top of the chops in College Challenge

Reaseheath’s stock judging teams beat off opposition from land-based colleges and universities nationwide to take first and third places in the College Challenge at the East of England Smithfield Festival, Peterborough.

The hotly contested competition, entered by 22 teams from 12 colleges including Newton Rigg, Askham Bryan, Moulton, Brooksby Melton, Derby, Shuttleworth and the College of West Anglia, tested the students’ skills at selecting livestock and carcases which would bring the greatest commercial return.

The teams had to judge pens of finished lambs, breeding ewes and breeding beef heifers and a selection of lamb carcases, then carry out a silage assessment and feed analysis before presenting their placings and reasonings to the judging panel.

Despite a very early start, our team of Libby Turner, Charles Hodgson and Will Thomas (Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture) and Will Leese (Level 2 Diploma in Agriculture) excelled in all five tasks to take the top spot, closely followed by Matthew Kidd, Dieter Kayley, Tom Hull and James Hodgkinson (Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture) in third place. The teams were supported throughout the day by fellow student and team mascot Eden Gray, who also helped with coaching and pre-competition preparation.

Apart from their rosettes and prizecards, our students came home with a total of £400 in prize money which will be spent on new stock coats and other equipment for next year’s show and stock judging teams. In the same competition last year our teams came fourth and eighth.

Needless to say the atmosphere was electric on the way home, with lecturer James Bickerton taking everyone to Macdonalds to celebrate!

A very proud James, who teaches beef production to the teams and primed the members for the competition, said: “The students were a great credit to the college, both in their general behaviour and in the way they tackled what is a very demanding competition. I couldn’t have been more delighted!”

The Smithfield Festival showcases some of the country’s premier livestock and the day’s event also included seminars, demonstrations and career based learning opportunities.

Our picture shows our prizewinning teams celebrating in the show ring.