Reaseheath’s stock judging teams were again under the spotlight during the College Challenge at the East of England Smithfield Festival, Peterborough.

Our teams, who last year took first and third places at the hotly contested competition, were this year filmed for a new BBC farming series which will be aired next year. The film crew also visited the campus a couple of weeks ago.

The College Challenge tests the students’ skills in selecting livestock and carcases which will bring the greatest commercial return. Team members have to judge pens of butchers’ lambs, breeding ewes, breeding beef heifers and a selection of lamb carcases, then carry out a raw materials feed analysis before presenting their placing’s and reasoning’s to the judging panel. It was contested by 30 teams from land based colleges around the country.

Reaseheath was this year represented by  Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture students (Team A) Will Leese,  Charles Dean,  Iwan Parry and Rob Morris and (Team B) Peter Cotton, Hannah Morgan, Anastasia Goldie and Jack Easom. Rachel Millward, Cerys Vaughn  and Edward Stubbs were travelling reserves and supported the teams throughout the day.

Although they just missed out on the higher placings this year, our highest placed team was awarded  just 15 points less than the winners (from a total of 450), an incredible achievement  taking into account the competition pressure, their filming commitments and a very early start!

Beef and sheep specialist James Bickerton, who coaches our stock judging teams, 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.  They were under added pressure to do well this year and really stepped up to the mark. I was very proud of them.”

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.