Dairy Show welcomes Jersey breed judge from Down-Under

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This year’s Dairy Show will be hosting not one, but two national shows and welcoming a world-renowned breeder and judge to select the cream of the crop from the Jersey’s national competition entries.

Travelling from New Zealand to the Bath & West Showground, Somerset, Warren Ferguson will be following in his late father Don’s footsteps, who also made the long journey to the UK in the eighties to judge the Jersey Cattle Society’s national show.

The Fergusons are globally respected for their dairy genetics and accolades in the show ring, but perhaps uniquely known for their friendship with the late Queen Elizabeth II, who bought several Jerseys from the family and co-owned cows with them.

The Fergusons’ Ferdon herd is approaching its 75th anniversary and is made up of 220 milking cows run on 92ha in Otorohanga, North Island. Mr Ferguson and wife Michelle, explain that their aim is to breed functional cows with good production and type. 

“Our Jersey herd is known for good cow families and in more recent years we had great success with Ferdon Comerica Viyella, who did so well in the show ring, particularly at the New Zealand Dairy Event (NZDE),” he says. “She won Supreme Jersey five times and Supreme Champion three times. She was an incredible cow that deservedly got Queen of the Decade at the NZDE.”

So what will catch Mr Ferguson’s eye in the Dairy Show arena? He says he will be looking for a cow that’s “good in type and with a great mammary system.”

“I am looking forward to judging in the UK,” he adds. “I feel very honoured and privileged to be invited to judge at the show. I’m also looking forward to meeting new people and catching up with old friends.”

As well as the two national shows on Wednesday 4 October, over 55 showing classes will take place on the day, including showmanship and calf classes.

All this action will be preceded by the sold out dairy industry dinner the evening before, where the Dairy Industry Award will be awarded to someone who has gone above and beyond for the industry. This year’s award will be presented by Lord Falmouth, joint president of the Royal Bath & West Society, alongside the show’s chair, David Cotton.

At the dinner, there will be an opportunity to buy raffle tickets in aid of this year’s chosen charity, Forage Aid. A charity that helps farmers, whose feed or bedding supply has been disrupted by extreme weather or unfortunate events, by sourcing and distributing stocks with the help of donations from the farming community. Their work will strike a chord with farmers on the Somerset Levels.

“We are delighted to welcome Warren to the show as well as all our other judges joining us this year,” says head of shows, Jess Chiplen. “And we are, of course, thrilled to be supporting Forage Aid at this year’s dairy industry dinner with it having had such a tremendous impact on the livelihoods of many dairy farmers here in the South West.”