A&P shows bringing back cattle classes

An aerial view of the Wanaka A&P Showgrounds during the Wanaka show grand parade on Saturday.
The Upper Clutha (Wanaka) show is also running cattle classes, the same as it did last year
Several southern A&P shows committees are reintroducing cattle classes for the first time following the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak two years ago.

While some show committees chose to exclude cattle classes completely, others held on-farm competitions instead, to eliminate any contact between animals from different herds spreading the disease.

New Zealand Royal Agricultural Society southern regional committee member Rob Hall said each show committee made their own decision about whether to hold cattle classes.

‘‘We know a bit more about M. bovis than when we started. We know what is involved and know more how to control the disease,’’ Mr Hall said.

He said those committees who decided to run cattle classes would insist on strict biosecurity measures, including ensuring each animal was kept separate from the others, to minimise risk.

‘‘We know that M. bovis is an easy bug to kill and is spread by bodily fluids like blood, urine, semen, faeces and saliva.’’

Southland A&P Show secretary Tabitha Hazlett said it would be holding on-farm competitions, which also ran last year.

‘‘We are going to have one stud bringing heifers and calves for the young judges and young handlers competitions to the show itself,’’ she said.

The Skedgewell family, of Tuatapere, will be bringing stud animals to the show.

West Otago is holding cattle classes, with limited numbers and no entries will be taken on the day.

The Wyndham A&P Show will also have a cattle class this year.

Gore has no dairy cattle classes, and has yet to decide whether beef cattle will be included.

The Upper Clutha (Wanaka) show is also running cattle classes, the same as it did last year, and will also be hosting the World Hereford Conference Young Breeder competition in March.

There were no cattle classes at the Waiau show last year, and the committee was undecided whether they would be included in the next one.

However, Winton intends to run both dairy and beef classes.

It has been two years since they were last held.

South Otago A&P Show cattle convener Katy Button said this year would be the first time in two years it would have cattle classes.

The first year it had significant flooding at the same time as the show and last year the cattle classes were cancelled because of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak.

She said all the Otago shows were reintroducing beef and dairy cattle classes to their schedules, following advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries.

‘‘The key points were to improve biosecurity at shows, mitigate risks, keep cattle from different herds separate, sterilise milking equipment between uses, and ensure full Nait compliance,’’ she said.

The Central Otago, Mt Benger, and Lake Hayes shows have never held cattle classes.

yvonne.ohara@alliedpress.co.nz

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