No cattle section at two southern shows

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The cattle section will be missing from both South and West Otago A&P shows this year.

Due to the nationwide attempt to eradicate the disease Mycoplasma bovis, both show committees have decided it would be too much of a risk to run cattle sections.

South Otago A&P cattle convener and chairwoman of the Royal Agriculture Society southern district, Jackie Kelly, said it was not worth putting people’s livelihoods in danger.

“It would be heartbreaking if someone’s herd suffered due to bringing them to our show,” Mrs Kelly said.

Dairy companies were undertaking intensive testing of milk for signs of the disease. Results would not be available until November 15, Mrs Kelly said, just a week before the show.

“We just don’t know how many herds are going to have it.”

There would not have been enough time after getting the results to make a decision before the show, she said.

“It was sensible to make a decision now rather than leaving it up in the air.”

Mrs Kelly said although it was disappointing, and it would be only a small financial loss for the A & P association.

Organisers were planning to have a calf-handling day on a local farm in October. The calves from this day would be at the show for a special cattle showmanship class for young exhibitors.

West Otago A&P show president Craig Tomsett said they had made the decision to cancel both the cattle section and calf club at the November 17 show as conveners were not comfortable having them there.

It would have been “too stressful for both exhibitors and organisers in case something went wrong”, Mr Tomsett said.

As an alternative, they were encouraging children to bring lambs to the show and said there was already a strong following and sponsorship for the section.

Both West Otago and South Otago A&P organisers hope have cattle sections at their shows next year.

Tokomairiro A&P show organisers have provisionally decided to leave cattle in the schedule for their December 8 show, but they will wait for spring testing results to make a final decision.