Eoin Lynch (Team Leader), Sinead Conry, Michael Barrett & Katie Brady represented Ireland at the World Hereford Conference in Queenstown New Zealand from 7th – 14th March 2020 and competed in the Young Handlers Competition. The Team competed against the best teams from around the globe including; New Zealand (2 teams), Australia (2 teams), USA, Denmark, UK & Sweden.
The week began for the Team with a day of team building activities with the other 8 teams including laser tag & go-karting.
The next day was down to business with module competitions including; Butchering, genetics & essay writing at Waiau Herefords. The crew were given a guided tour of the stud & competed in a quiz to end the day.
Monday kicked off at Monymusk Herefords with a farm tour followed by the Stock & Fleece judging competition before joining the Conference Welcome Reception. Each team had to deliver their reasoning behind their judgements.
Tuesday, the focus was creating & presenting a powerpoint on the ‘Rural/Urban Divide’ – an issue facing each country today. Each team were allocated the same amount of time to compile their points & then they delivered their findings & solutions to the entire group. The winning team then went on to present to the entire Conference; well done to team USA for a very interesting & unique Presentation. Each of the teams than joined the conference attendees aboard the TSS Earnslaw and onto Walter Peak Station for a gala dinner.
Wednesday was somewhat of a ‘Free’ day for the Young Handler teams – each of them went jet boating on Lake Wakatipu in the morning along with some free time to exlpore Arrowtown – an old time Mining town. In the afternoon they travelled to join the conference at Locharburn horned Hereford stud for a demonstration of scanning for intramuscular fat & a talk from Allflex tagging representatives on the use of their monitoring systems to improve the health & welfare of stock. The teams then traveled onto Wanaka to prepare for the rest of the week.
The focus of Thursday was stalling the heifers, choosing heifers for showing, preparing the heifers for showing & the clipping competition in the Wanaka showgrounds. This was a great opportunity for the teams to get hands on, delegate responsibilities and showcase their talents & skills. Each team clipped the heifers according to home cultures & it was fantastic to see the differences between each country. Again, each team had to deliver the reasoning behind the areas they clipped on the heifer.
Friday was D-Day – Wanaka A&P Show. Each Young Handler prepared their heifer & walked them in the show ring in their allocated class. There were 4 classes with 1 member from each team in each class. The Standard of the Young Handlers was very high & each of the Young breeders were very even in their skills & capabilities. This made for an interesting competition and a very hard job for the judge. The day finished off with the Hereford classes & prize giving.
Team Ireland worked hard all week – showcasing their talents, home culture & passion along with experiencing new tasks and learning new skills.
The team were a credit to both themselves and the Society & proved to be true ambassadors for Irish Herefords. This was an invaluable experience for our Young Breeders & they have made memories and friends for life along with learning new skills and learning about Herefords around the globe. The Irish Hereford Society would like to say a huge thanks to Slaney Foods International for sponsoring the team and making this dream a reality for each of them.
Well done to Team New Zealand on winning the Young Handlers Competition 2020.
The Society are hopeful this will be the beginning of something great for the Young Hereford breeders of Ireland and open up more opportunities for Young Irish Breeders.
Credit is due to all in the New Zealand Hereford Society, New Zealand Hereford Prime, Boehringer Ingelheim, PGG Wrightson, Allflex & all behind the scenes for pulling out all the stops and making this an incredible & opportunistic competition for all young Hereford breeders.
A huge thanks is extended to all who sponsored & supported the Irish Team along this journey including; Slaney Foods International, Clippers Ireland, Ballyjamesduff Co-op, Farm Wardrobe, Grianan Herefords, Gurteragh Herefords, Peter O’Connell, Cork Marts (Bandon), Balleen Herefords, Tynan Meats, Thomas Duffy (Macra na Feirme President), all Irish Hereford breeders. & all behind the scenes.