As my wife and I continue our journey to becoming farmers we end up doing a lot of things we wouldn’t normally do. Like visisting other farmers and their farms, going to City Farm, and like in this post, going to the Will County Fair. It has been a lot of fun and I didn’t realize learning about farming was going to be as much fun as it has.
Jay Mather owner of Royal M Farms emailed me awhile back and told us he was going to be at the Will County Fair with his Scottish Highland Cattle and wanted to know if we had an interest in checking it out. I emailed him back and said we would love to see him and his cattle again. We had never been to the Will County Fair and would like to see the whole process of how to show livestock at the fair. I also wanted the chance to see the different breeds of cattle that was going to be there and talk with some more farmers.
One thing I thought was interesting was the shower area for the cattle. Before you bring them to the show ring farmers give them a shower and then they brush them. All the cattle there had the cleanest and nicest coats of fur I have ever seen on cattle.
I got to talk to a few of the farmers by the cattle barns to see how they raise their cows and all of them there fed corn and other grains to fatten their cows for the fair. I was really impresed with was how big the cattle were. The farmers I talked to said the cattle they had brought to the fair was born this year. Some of these heifers where 1500 lbs and to me that is amazing, grass fed cattle take tiwce as long to have those gains. I also noticed, all the cattle there where heifers,and steers no bulls. Bulls must be unpredictible so they don’t have a catogory for them, at least thats my quess, I don’t know for sure and I didn’t ask.
The fair crowns a champion for each breed and then at the end brings out all the champions of each breed and crowns a Grandchampoin for the best overall cow of the fair.
This was the first year that the Will County Fair had Scottish Highland Cattle there. Jays young heifer won the crown for that breed and the judge had a few nice things to say about her looks. Jay also told me there was a lot of interest in the Highlands, with people taking lots of pictures and asking lots of questions about the breed.
This was a very warm day, espeacily out in the sun and I noticed the Highlands were panting it was so hot to them. None of the other cattle were doing this. I have said in the past this is the only thing that concerns me about this breed is their heat tolerance. Where my pastures are there is little shade and if I raise this breed I will have to make sure I have lots of man made shade for them.
In my next post I may have some big news about our farm.