Countryfile favourite Adam Henson may be well known for his extensive farming knowledge, but his expertise in cattle is firmly in the beef camp – so he was keen to learn more about how dairy cattle are judged at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Adam visited the Ayrshire cattle classes to meet judge Mary Creek and see the competing cattle.

The Great Yorkshire Show was this year the setting of the World Ayrshire Federation Annual Conference 2024, with about 100 farmers from countries including Kenya, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and America at the show as part of a UK tour.

Adam said: “The breed originates from Scotland but there are herds all over the world now, as evidenced by the delegates from nine different countries here at the World Ayrshire Federation Conference.

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“It is a beautiful-looking animal – and many of the basics behind what makes it a good example of the breed to look for are the same in other breeds, such as the legs and back.

“I don’t have dairy at home so I’m not an expert, and it is great to be able to see what the judges are looking for today.”

Adam said it was fantastic for the Great Yorkshire Show to host the conference.

He added: “It is one of the best shows in the country. There is a huge turn-out of livestock and massive support from the farming community. It is just a fantastic showcase for the countryside and British farming.”

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Adam spoke to delegates from the conference, including Greg and Lil Klatt from Adelaide, Australia, who described the problems dairy farmers faced.

Mr Klatt said: “Dairy in Australia is definitely in decline. It is tough to make the numbers work, and land value where we are is high, so it is tempting for farmers to sell up.”

Adam also met judge Mary Creek, from Maryland, USA, who was judging the cattle in the showring.

She was judging the maiden heifers when she met Adam, and explained what made a good example of the breed.

“There are breed standards that we are looking for,” she said. “They are put in place to enable us to find the animals that have the most potential to carry the breed forward, live a long time and be productive.

“We talk about the frame, which is the legs and back, and lines in the head and neck.”