An interesting development as we move ever closer to recognition as a 'proper' emerging agricultural industry is the growth of Production or Composite classes at shows.
We had our first go at the Royal Adelaide Show this year. I'd call it a success, we put in three animals, got two firsts and a second and took home the overall trophy and broad ribbon for the event.
So, for anyone unfamiliar, how does it work?
Well, judging is a three stage process. Stage one is just like normal halter classes (though, in this case, there was no separation by colour, just by age and gender), the animals presented are judged on the same overall criteria as a normal show and points are awarded. Stage two sees the animals being shorn, the fleeces skirted and presented to the judge as a fleece exhibit.
In the final stage the animal is judged without fleece on with the points being awarded for conformation and structure.
Personally, I really like these classes for three reasons: first is that it concentrates on the commercial side of things, something that I want to see encouraged. Second and, more selfishly, it allows recognition of some animals that we would not enter in the main event; in this case a top girl with a damaged ear from an injury (perfectly within the rules to enter I know, but not a good look) and an ex-champion white male that has developed a small fawn spot. The third and probably most important reason is that, at a public show like the Royal, it is such a draw card - the visitors love it.