Meet the farmer - Paul Gerrard
PUBLISHED: 12:52 01 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:52 01 June 2017
Paul Gerrard discusses the work that goes behind producing high quality show animals
Many impressive farm animals will be taking centre stage at this year’s Royal Cheshire County Show, all in the hope of winning a red rosette. The iconic agricultural event, which takes place on June 20 and 21, will see hundreds of bulls, cows, pigs, horses, hens and goats among other farm creatures being proudly exhibited at the Tabley showground. The lucky prize winners from the cattle and shire section will then take part in the Grand Parades of Champions in the main ring, which is sponsored by Delamere Dairy, a principal partner this year.
The dozens of cattle classes, designed to showcase the finest the county and beyond has to offer, always draw large crowds of spectators. Commercial dairy and beef production has been at the heart of Cheshire farming for centuries, with land and stock passed down the family. One Cheshire farmer, long time show supporter and committee member, Paul Gerrard, has revealed the huge commitment that goes into producing a show animal.
‘From an early age I have always had a keen interest in showing both dairy and beef cattle. I was fortunate enough to have farming backgrounds on both sides of my family, one being a commercial dairy/beef farm and the other being a pedigree dairy and beef enterprise, which led to my interest in the show ring’ said Paul, who after encouragement from his Grandpa and Uncle, took up showing the prize winning animals that they were producing for their business from just three years of age.
‘It taught me fantastic life lessons such as responsibility, integrity, dedication and record keeping skills. The encouragement I got from my Grandpa and my growing experience led me to start my own pedigree British Blue herd and pedigree Holstein Friesian herd from scratch under the prefix of Antrobus that is continuing to grow.’
It’s a year round effort that goes into producing high quality show animals, one that culminates in getting them into the ring on the day. Paul says that having a prize-winner in your herd gives you huge credibility, which people really aspire to, and is the best advert for your business.
‘It starts with a dream, then an aim and then reality. You are producing an animal to be viable to your business whether you are producing milk or breeding a bull for a beef enterprise. Having an animal that walks well for you and is polite is the ultimate aim. The dream is to produce an animal, which will do this and provide you with that red rosette at the show. Ultimately the show is your shop window. There are many opportunities, from finding buyers for your progeny and embryos, to the possibility of sires being chosen for semen sales and cattle exports.
‘The day is a huge spectacle for your herd and its surprising how much the cattle enjoy it and show themselves off. However it’s key to remember that it’s the taking part that counts, the judge’s word is final and your time will come. Showing cattle can be hard work, but for me it’s a fun and rewarding experience.’
To learn more about the various classes and animals that will be on display at the Royal Cheshire County Show, taking place June 20 and 21, visit www.royalcheshireshow.org