The Melplash Agricultural Society’s annual Young Farmers Dairy Stock Judging competition was held at Manor Farm, North Poorton by kind permission of Messrs. Fooks and Simon and Lauren Goringe. Ten teams entered from the following Young Farmers Clubs: Wedmore, Beaminster, Sherborne and Marshwood Vale.

The judges for the evening were father and daughter, Terry and Becky Cox from Sturminster Newton. For every breed of cow, there is a “True Type Model” which is the ideal cow.  The competitor must keep this in mind as they assess each animal.  They need to look at functional traits such as good legs and feet leading to good locomotion, a well attached udder with enough width and height to hold the high milk yields expected, with a body capacity sufficient to support the milk and a growing calf. 

Working in teams of two, the Junior Young Farmers are tasked to assess four cows whilst the Intermediates and Seniors assess six cows and place them in order, best to poorest, giving the reasons for their decision. They then present their findings to the judges in atwo-minute presentation giving both a description of what they have seen and comparisons between the animals. The judges then mark them using a complex marking system to who marks them using a complex marking system based on accuracy of observation and comparisons.



1st and Winners of the Melplash Agricultural Society Junior Shield – Millie Carson and Grace Wilcox - Wedmore YFC

2nd – Enya Hayball and Harry Curtis, Beaminster YFC

3rd – William Fooks and George Goringe - Beaminster YFC


1st and Winners of the Melplash Agricultural Society Shield – Joanna House and Lauren

Hutchings, Marwood Vale YFC

2nd – Elizabeth Bell and Emily Bell, Wedmore YFC

3rd – Sophie Raymond and Swatridge, Beaminster YFC


1st and Winners of the Francis W Hunt Trophy – Jasper Love and Henrietta Love, Sherborne YFC

Best Newcomer – George Goringe, Beaminster YFC

Highest Placed Individual – Elizabeth Bell, Wedmore YFC


The prizes were presented to the winners by the Melplash Agricultural Society President, Michael Fooks, who was proud to host the event (as one of the Fooks Brothers). The Society Chairman, Philip Hardwill thanked the competitors for taking part, Fooks Brothers and Simon & Lauren Goringe for hosting the event, Terry and Becky Cox for undertaking the judging, the stewards for all of their assistance throughout the night  Fooks and family for providing the refreshments.Philip commented that the Young Farmers stock judging competition had, as an ex YFC member, always been a very important fixture in the Melplash Agricultural Society Calendar. He was very impressed by the high standards shown by the competitors.The competition was particularly poignant this year as the Francis Hunt Cup, presented to the winners of the Senior class, celebrated the 50th anniversary since it was first presented to the Society by Mr F J Hunt (the grandfather of Philip’s wife - Sarah Hardwill) in memory of his son (and Sarah’s uncle) Francis Hunt, after whom Francis Fooks, one of the evenings’ hosts, was named.