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Thursday 19 October 2017

Video: ‘Judging is fine but you can make a few enemies at it’ – How to judge top weanlings

Chris Johnston on his farm in Fivemiletown.
Chris Johnston on his farm in Fivemiletown.
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

Chris Johnston farms a 95ac suckler farm with his father and brother outside Fivemiletown, Tyrone.

In 2013, he started a scanning business as he wanted a new career partly because lack of land means he can’t increase his herd size.

And if Chris, who appeared on Rare Breed, wasn't busy enough he also judges cattle at agricultural shows in his locality.

"Judging is fine but you can make a few enemies at it," Chris says, "Some people are grand they take their place, others take it a bit sick.

"But at the end of the day it is only my opinion," he stresses.

With commercial cattle, Chris says he focuses on correctness. "Feet, legs and all the rest and with commercial cattle the colour comes into it too," he says.

He also says he doesn't like to view the cattle or meet the farmers before the show.

"I don’t really like to go down to view them first because with me working around the country I know a lot of the people and the less you speak to them the better.

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"In this show I could have even bred some of the calves through AI so the less I’m down there the better. I just leave it to the judging when I see the calves for the first time," he says.

Chris travels across Ireland scanning cows, goats and sheep. Chris also does AI and embryo work he estimates that he scans 20,000 sheep and 90,000 cows a year.

According to Chris, the scanning business and farming work well together. It does take planning though, he says.

"I generally do the work early in the morning and late at night."

But he's a farmer at heart. “I love keeping my own cattle it’s a way of life. I pass no remarks.

“I enjoy getting out at nights working with my own cattle. I'm looking at cows every day but I still enjoy working with my own stock.

“I don’t know that I would like to see anyone else farm our own ground either. It’s a big advantage to look after your own ground."


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