Counting the days until the Dairy Show

It’s less than a week until the South West’s largest farming event – so what can visitors expect from their visit to the Dairy Show on 2 October?

With over 300 trade stands, a packed seminar programme and top class livestock competition there is something for everyone, explains head of shows Alan Lyons.

“We have nearly 3.7 acres of trade space, making the event a genuine ‘one stop shop’ for visitors to meet milk buyers, feed suppliers, AI companies and consultants.

“We also have an extensive showcase of agricultural technology, veterinary science and pharmaceutical advances, making for a valuable day for beef and dairy farmers alike.”

In the showing rings, more than 300 cattle will compete for top honours, with some world class judges on hand to identify the cream of the crop.

Flying in from Canada to judge the Jersey classes – including the Jersey National Show – is Jeff Sayles, who has judged throughout Canada and the USA and will be judging in Australia at the end of October.

“My family has been involved in showing and judging for generations,” he says. “When you have a good cow it’s an effective way to promote their strengths and allows for future breeding – the more you breed for type and production the more efficient the cow is 365 days a year.”

Judging the interbreed heifer and pairs is Graham Bell from Crewe, Cheshire, who brings a wealth of experience with him, while Iwan Thomas from Neath, Glamorgan, will be judging the Guernsey classes – including the National Guernsey Show.

“I attend shows all over the country; it’s an honour to be asked.”

This year’s seminar programme will be focussing on housing design and internal features, which can make or break animal welfare and productivity.

Featuring a huge range of the latest research and technology, the seminars will help all producers – whether dairy or beef – to make the most of their existing or new buildings.

Speakers include Louise Clarke, ruminant manager at Alltech, who will explore how £1 in every £3 spent on farm is wasted – whether through feed losses from field to rumen, poor fertility, or poor housing design.

She will discuss Alltech’s new Navigate programme, which offers free site visits and assessments to every dairy farm in the UK. “If farmers can be more efficient, resilient and sustainable then that’s of benefit to the whole industry,” she says.

Duncan Forbes, dairy research director at Kingshay, will be discussing how technology can enhance stockmanship and optimise cow welfare and productivity, with delegates invited to see the recently opened South West Dairy Development Centre adjacent to the showground.

Following this will be Matt Sellers and Mike Bryan from the Galebreaker Group, exploring the importance of providing natural ventilation and controlling humidity within livestock buildings.

And concluding the programme will be Mike Steele, director of technical services at Micron Bio-Systems, in a talk examining the factors influencing average age at first calving, and what this means for future milk value.

As ever, the show kicks off with the Dairy Industry Dinner on the preceding evening, at which delegates will discover the winners of the prestigious Dairy Industry Award and Dairy Vet of the Future.

“As a forward-looking show, it’s only right that we recognise the brightest and best dairy vets for the future,” says Mr Lyons.

“And it’s equally vital to celebrate the experienced movers and shakers who contribute so much to the industry. This is a fast-paced sector and it’s more important than ever to network with leading farmers, manufacturers and consultants who can help to put your farm on the map.”

  • The Dairy Show will be held on 2 October at the Bath & West Showground. Schedules for show classes are available online, and advance saver tickets can be purchased from
  • The Dairy Show is registered with Dairy Pro and current members and those who join at the event will get their attendance registered on their personal development record and receive 2 Dairy Pro points.