All eyes on…

2008-05-23 00:00

FOLLOWING last year’s astonishing prices realised for the champion (R3 000 per kilogram) fat lambs in the Royal Agricultural Show (Ras) carcass auction, the question on everyone’s lips is, can it happen again?

Mike Moncur, chairman of the sheep section, told me that he doesn’t want to tempt fate.

“Two years ago when the fats lambs sold for R600 per kilogram I thought we couldn’t do better, then last year happened,” he said.

Judging of the fat lambs gets under way on May 25 with weighing and mouthing and live judging. Block-test judging will be done at the abbatoir on May 27 and the champion carcasses will return to the showgrounds on May 28 in time for the auction in the food hall.

Judging for the best beef carcass on show begins today with weighing and mouthing. Live judging takes place tomorrow with the block-test judging at the abattoir on May 26. The champion carcasses return to the showgrounds for auction in the food hall on May 28.

The 2008 Royal Show promises to be competitive in the show ring with around 1 000 animals, some from as far afield as the Northern and Western Cape and Mpumalanga, travelling to Pietermaritzburg to compete.

And while there is no cattle national championship this year, the sheep section will see two nationals — the Hampshire Downs and Suffolks.

There will also be an increase in the number of Merinoes participating in the show, a sale of sheep on May 28, and for the first time there will be an indigenous goat competition for emerging farmers on May 30.

The latter event is being held in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and may be expanded in future years to include Nguni breeds.

Judging of the beef cattle gets under way on May 26 with the Brahman group and breed-plan classes.

Brahman female classes will be judged on May 27, as will the Angus, Dexters, Simmentaler and Simbra classes. May 28 sees judging in the Brahman male classes as well as in the Hereford, Limousin, Santa Gertrudis and Sussex sections.

Judging in the dairy section kicks off with the Swedish Reds and Short horns on May 27 and with the Jersey, Ayreshire and Holstein classes on May 28.

The interbreed competition and judging of the Standard Bank Supremes and Standard Bank Gold Cup will take place on May 29, before the presentation of the trophies in the main arena.

Judging in the sheep section gets under way on May 26 with the Dorper, Border Leceister and

Ile de France class-es. The Hampshire Down Nationals and Suffolk Nationals take place on May 27, as does judging in the Damara classes. On May 28 it’s the turn of the Merinoes as well as the judging for the Standard Bank interbreed and Supremes.

Aligned to the sheep section, the Ras hosts South Africa’s premier wool and fibre expo, which includes an exhibition of endangered (small) livestock — courtesy of the Agricultural Research Council — sheep shearing demonstrations, spinning and various related retail outlets.

On the equipment side, virtually all agricultural tractor and implement distributors in KwaZulu-Natal will again have displays at the show.

And farmers can expect to receive news regarding Voermol’s new developments and application advice. Voermol’s agents will be available to assist farmers at the Voermol stand, along with Jan Ludike, Voermol’s sales manager for the Eastern Region.

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