Show Season - 2011
Last winter was not good for anyone keeping pigs; the extreme cold over the Christmas and early January period took its toll. Due to shortage of space and the sharp rise in feed costs and straw shortages we decided not to run on any January pigs for potential showing.
We had kept 3 Large Black July born pigs, a boar and 3 gilts, but no Middle Whites for showing. We did, however, agree to buy a weaner Blackie gilt from someone with our bloodlines who was selling their pigs, so that was one January at least, so our show team seemed very short on numbers this year.
This was until the British Landrace arrived…
Discussions had taken place the previous August when we went to stay with Steve Loveless in Dorset and he agreed to sell us a breeding unit of 2 gilts and an unrelated boar. They made their show ring debut at the Edible Garden Show in March this year. We had agreed to help man the stand for the 3-day event and as there was a BPA meeting the day before they were brought up from Dorset and stayed on the stand. It was nice to see some modern pigs at such an event to show the growth rate difference, and the difference between the traditional and modern breeds. We had a Rally December born boar (Twinkle), a Cordelia November born gilt (Poppy) and 2 Vega January born gilts (Lily and Rose).
Our first show was Newark. They don’t have senior boar or January classes so we were limited to what we could take. We were very disappointed with the show. It is common knowledge amongst the pig exhibitors that the organisation leaves a little to be desired, and numbers of exhibitors have reduced dramatically in the last few years. With this in mind we should have known not to expect too much, but it is very annoying when classes are changed or amalgamated in strange, illogical ways and prize money withheld that differs from what the schedule states. It is such a shame for this to happen, it seems that the livestock sections – or maybe the pigs – are not valued as an attraction for the public and just seen as a financial strain on the show. Fortunately all other county shows do not have this attitude and the livestock sections make a valuable contribution to what is usually deemed an agricultural show.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom at Newark though, we did get Landrace champion with Sunrise Cordelia 2065 and the boar Sunrise Rally 2070 went on to qualify for Pig of the Year.
Next was Stafford Show. As this was closer to home and with extra classes we took two trailer loads. This time we took 3 breeds, although we only had Finnington Captain (the boar that did so well last year) to show in the Middle Whites all year, as there are not senior boar classes at all the shows he does get left behind sometimes. We did well at Stafford, 3 breeds and 3 Breed Champions! The Landrace January gilt, Sunrise Vega 2087 (Lily), was Breed Champion and went on to qualify for Pig of the Year and Young Pig of the Year. She was also Reserve Any Other Modern Breed Champion. Captain was Middle White Breed Champion and our July Large Black boar Finnington Majestic Eagle was Breed Champion in the Large Blacks. The Large Black boar qualified for Pig of the Year and Captain went on to take Reserve Supreme Champion.
Lily the Landrace did well again at Cheshire, Breed Champion again and Reserve Any Other Modern Breed Champion (we just never quite managed to beat that nice Hampshire gilt belonging to John Sutcliffe). Finnington Majestic Eagle was Large Black Breed Champion.
At Yorkshire, the Finnington Majestic Eagle did very well; he was Male Champion and Reserve Breed Champion. He went on to become Reserve Male Interbreed Champion. Our little bought in January gilt Borsdane Blackie 51 was Reserve Female Champion. The Landrace did well, the January’s were 1st and 3rd in a strong mixed class and Poppy was 2nd in her class.
Great Eccleston was very close to Yorkshire, Captain was able to be shown there having been left behind at Yorkshire. He did extremely well taking Supreme Champion. The Middle White Champion of Champions Final was also held there on day two. We won it for the third year in succession, this time with Captain.
The next show was a new one for us, we had been told what a good show Anglesey was but never quite got there. This year we made the effort. We were not disappointed, and we were made to feel extremely welcome. Lily was Landrace Champion and Captain was Middle White Champion. The Large Black January gilt was Reserve Any Other Traditional Breed Champion. Captain went on to take Supreme Champion pig, beating a very nice Welsh gilt.
Lastly we were at Hatfield. Having qualified Lily for Young Pig of the Year we had to go down and take a few. This year they put on a special Senior Male Interbreed class, so Captain had another outing – and he won it. Lily was again Landrace champion and we had good results with the other Landrace in strong mixed classes with the Welsh breed. Captain, on his last outing before we retired him from the show ring was Reserve Breed Champion.