The On Farm Competitions are one of the main historic bases that the Royal County of Berkshire Show was founded upon. It was designed to help promote better and increased food production and still serves this purpose today by providing an opportunity for local farmers of Berkshire and the surrounding area to show their work and to learn from other farming set ups.
How it Works
Typically the on farm schedule comprises of 39 different classes, including the Best Farmed Farm and Best Livestock Farm. Classes run annually from April through to September.
The year starts with the planning of how we judge the 39 classes throughout the year, firstly by selecting the judges and stewards. They are chosen by the On Farm committee members and they are usually judges who have judged from other regions so are familiar with the process.
Next, a schedule of the classes we want to run for the year is circulated in March to all farmers, new and existing, in Berkshire and the surrounding areas. Farmers then have the opportunity to submit their entry forms by the end of April. The reason the farmers take part and put themselves forward to be judged is to get feedback from an outside person on how they rate as a farmer compared with their neighbours.
Judging the Competition
Judging starts in May, and all the judges would have been allocated a number of farms to visit, and the following is what they assess:
– Productive grass to make quality feed with few weeds
– Herds and flocks: based on their commercial value to the butcher
– Clean and even crops that look like they will produce a good harvest
– Management of the entire farm, to include crops, staff and physical assets
– Margins you see on the edge of fields. The judges look for a variety of things but mainly how the crops will either give protection through the winter or provide winter food
– What feed value standing maize will produce when harvested for livestock or increasingly Anaerobic Digester use
– Harvested crops are judged on the Saturday morning of the Show in September, in the Produce Tent. The judge looks to see the quality of the final crop, whether it be a bale of hay, bag of silage or threshed grain
The results are partly announced at the annual BBQ in June, after the arable crops have been judged but before the whole farms are judged.
Further results from all the classes are announced at the Prize Giving on the Sunday morning of the Show in the Presidents enclosure.