Mycoplasma bovis has cast its shadow over the New Zealand Agricultural Show.
Over 3000 animals and exhibitors are on site, all vying for a prestigious ribbon and recognition amongst their peers.
Very determined competitors can be found amongst the younger entrants.
They give up weekends on the pitch or nights watching television to put in the months of preparation needed for a chance at winning a medal.
No one knows all this better than Charlie Herbert (14), son of this year’s president of the show, Chris Herbert. Charlie has attended the show since he was born and has competed in its cattle section since he was just five.
Charlie explains what he loves about being a part of the show community.
Q. When do you start preparing to ensure you and your animals are show ready?
A. Teaching the cattle to lead is the hardest part, so we start that in April! Every school holidays after that is spent working with them. We also have to keep an eye on dad and make sure he has our cattle in a good paddock so they are well fed and looking their best.
Q. What do you look forward to most about coming to the show each year?
A. Meeting loads of new people and spending time with others who share the same interests as me. The other breeders are always willing to help me out and provide advice. It’s the best place to learn from others and get better. The breakfast in the members’ marquee is also a highlight.
Q. What’s the biggest challenge about competing at the show?
A. Competition is so high every year and I am always competing against people with a lot more experience than me. But this is the best way to improve, learn from others and come back better every year. It makes me determined.
Q. What parts of the show are your family involved in?
A. My whole family is involved in supporting the cattle section and we get together with other committee members at working bees before the show. Mum helps get all the ribbons ready too. Dad is president of the show this year which is pretty cool. But mum and dad help us with exhibiting every year.
Q. If you were going to have a go at anything else at the show what would it be?
A. I’d like to be a steward to help the show keep going.
The New Zealand Agricultural Show is a three-day annual event, running Wednesday to Friday in November.
Canterbury Anniversary Day falls on the Friday of the show and is called ‘Show Day’. (Canterbury Anniversary Day falls each year on the second Friday after the first Tuesday in November.)
This year the New Zealand Agricultural Show runs from Wednesday 13 to Friday 15 November.
More info: https://www.theshow.co.nz