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Since the early times, agricultural shows have played a significant role in the evolution of livestock. The first steps in selection by humankind were done by judging the animals on appearance and this should not be forgotten or underestimated.

Ideally appearance and performance should be integrated, because stud animals cannot be sold on their performance figures. The ideal combination for a superior stud animal is visual appeal, good performance and a reputable pedigree. Shows and judging are valuable resources in this regard and should not be negated by ignorance, scepticism and unwillingness to accept the facts.

Although shows are not the only marketing tool for breeders, it is a powerful marketing platform that provides excellent exposure and publicity for the herd, a breed and even a specific animal.

Shows offer the breeders the opportunity to interact with other breeders and experts to exchange management and breeding ideas and to familiarise themselves their breed and the needs of the industry. At shows breeders can evaluate the animals of other breeders and compare them to their own, observe how the animals are judged by experts and hear the judges' comments and reasons for their choices and grow wiser in the process.

A further underlying value of showing for breeders is that many breeders' societies aim to improve the general quality of livestock in South Africa. It should be realised that animals that meet the breed standards and even better the standard are more likely to be efficient producers on the farm.

The two most important steps for breeders, particularly beginners, who want to participate in shows, are the selections of the animals and the subsequent preparations for a show. This includes training animals to be handled via halter and ensuring the animal is in peak condition by feeding.

Healthy competition and the drive to win are, after all, the cornerstones of progress and should be embraced by serious breeders who aim to improve their own stud and exhibit their successes.

For more information please contact Paul Bester 0836276899 or 01539958377 or e-mail us at grootboom@zz2.biz

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