Dunbia was proud to sponsor four young farmers to travel to New Zealand earlier this year to represent the UK at the World Hereford Conference. An international event hosted every four years, the UK Hereford Youth team, in conjunction with the Hereford Cattle Society were chosen to compete against countries from around the world. The four successful candidates were selected after attending a range of workshops around the UK and included Sophie Harvey (24), Ryan Coates (27), James Ludgate (29) and Matthew Rollason (24) of Dunbia. During the summer of 2019, Dunbia Sawley welcomed 16 young breeders to take part in a series of practical sessions that included selecting prime animals for slaughter, before following them through the factory and grading the finished carcases as part of the selection process.
Just before the COVID-19 lockdown was enforced, the team arrived in New Zealand and visited Hereford studs around the North and South Islands to compare breeding programmes with to those in the UK. The main event saw the team going head-to-head against six other countries in various challenges. These included everything from fencing, butchery, business planning, genetic selection and animal health. At the end of the week, the team competed at the Wannaka Show, where ring etiquette, clipping and public speaking skills were put to the test. James Ludgate was later selected as Reserve Overall in the Young Handler competition.
After returning home, Matthew said “the trip showed us how different world markets and geography had a direct influence on the traits pedigree breeders were selecting for. This commercial focus will be really important for UK breeders post-Brexit, where an emphasis on efficiency will likely have greater importance throughout the supply chain. We plan to utilise this knowledge in shaping the breeding policies within our own herds in the future. On behalf of the Team, I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to Dunbia for their generous sponsorship and for making this amazing travel opportunity a reality”.