Breed championships are a common practice on both regional and national level in most cattle-rearing countries. Owning a national champ bull or cow is no doubt a massive honour, but what about owning a world champ bull or cow?

Having the world’s best cattle in one show ring is, of course, massively impractical. The Champion of the World breed championship series found a way around this on its mission to crown the best bull and cow of each breed across the globe.

The competition was first held in 2012, when 2 breed championships were held with 54 entries from around the world. The first breeds to take part were Angus and Herefords. PJ Budler, organiser of the competition series, explains that this competition typically runs from 1 December each year. “The winners of each breed are announced as the judging is completed. Remember, this is not an interbreed competition, but several breed championships held separately.” This year, the competition saw 1000 entries from 16 different breeds and 77 countries.

Animals can qualify for the competition by winning the national breed championships in its country. In the cases where there is no national championship, the results of the most prestigious or biggest championship are used. In the case where no championship is held, the highest price bull and cow at the national auction qualifies. Lastly, societies can nominate a bull or cow.

After trying to create a competition where a photograph, video and dataset of the animal are entered, the organisers realised that this was not practical as all cattle-rearing countries around the world did not follow the same methods and have the same possibilities. “We therefore decided that one well-taken photograph constitute an entry.”

This, of course, is not the most scientific way of judging cattle, says Budler. “It is however not an easy-to-win competition as the animal has to tick quite a few boxes. “The animal has to be the best in its country, must be in good condition and well prepared and the photograph has to be well-taken. The judging process further legitimises the competition.” Budler explains that judging is first done on a regional basis. The world is divided into four regions, Asia and Africa (Including Australia and New Zeeland), North America, South America and Europe. Judges are selected from a country within the region. Each year the country the judges are chosen from, is rotated. “The judging process is structured in such a way that we will never have the same combination of judges and never have the same set of countries judging. This means that it is very difficult to manipulate the outcome of the championships. A regional winner is selected in each breed and these winners, the top 4, are judged by a final set of judges to determine the Champion of the World.

According to Budler, the goal of the championship series is to create awareness around cattle breeding and rearing. “We also want to create community and goodwill among the different breeds as well as breeders of the same breed in different countries. Another very important goal of the series is to promote trade between countries. The best of all is the recognition that it gives to extremely hard- working farmers.

The championship series also wants to make the public more involved in the cattle industry. “That is why members of the public can complete judging sheets on the various websites and choose their winner. The sheets are not considered when the winner is chosen, but it is very interesting for the public to see how their choice compares to that of the judges. “This year, we received 22 000 judging sheets.” Public participation is further enhanced by a very prominent social and online media presence. “A Facebook page is created for each breed championship. These pages have 157 754 members in total.” Click here to view the various Facebook pages.

South African pride

The South African cattle industry can be proud of having quite a few breed champions of the world on this year’s list of winners.

The Santa Gertrudis bull, Breede Ace BR 140016 of Raymund de Villiers’ Santa-Rey Santa Gertrudis Stud near Sannieshof, did not only take local top honour as the 2018 Hinterland National Interbreed bull at ALFA 2018, but was also crowned as the Champion of the World Santa Gertrudis bull for 2018. Taking silver and bronze was the USA and Australia respectively.

The Hinterland National Interbreed cow, crowned at ALFA 2018, also excelled in the competition. The Simmentaler Miss World silver medalist was Dipsie PJO 12-65 of the ChrisMar Family Trust’s Taaibosspruit Simmentaler stud near Lichtenburg. The gold medalists were Ireland and Mexico respectively.

Albert Loubser, co-organiser of ALFA, explains that it is very good news for the local cattle breeding industry that both the male and female Hinterland National Interbreed champions excelled in the international competition. “If our national champs are also crowned as some of the best cattle in the world in their breed, it shows that our cattle breeding industry is not only in line with that of the rest of the world, but is also one of the best in the world.”

Click here to read more about the Hinterland National Interbreed championship.

The Simmentaler Champion of the World bull is a South African bull, Von-Adel Tokan, of Nico Venter’s Von-Adel Simmentalers near Ventersdorp.  Silver and bronze were taken by the Czech Republic and Canada respectively.

The Limousin Champion of the World bull is Xourel Rainmaker of Derick le Roux’s Xourel Limousins near Lichtenburg. Silver and bronze were taken by Scotland and Canada respectively.

A Beefmaster bull from Alzu Beefmasters took the silver medal in Beefmaster/Droughtmaster Champion of the World competition. Mexico took gold and the USA bronze. The Beefmaster/Droughtmaster Miss World bronze medal went to BOS 2618 of Bos Blanco Beefmasters near Kroonstad. The gold and silver medals were taken by Australia and Mexico.

The Brahman bull, HOT 1486, of Linde du Plessis’ Brandwater Brahmans near Fouriesburg took the silver medal in the Brahman Champion of the World competition. Paraguay took gold and Mexico silver.

The Simbra bull, Corzel CHD 1371C of Cornelis Derksen’s Corzel Simbra stud took the silver medal in the Simbra champion of the world competition. The USA took gold and Colombia bronze.

The Hereford champions of the world have not yet been announced, it was however confirmed that a South African Hereford bull, Locheim WDW 14-113 of Philip de Waals’ Locheim Herefords, is one of the top 4 bulls selected for the final round of judging.

South African bulls have collected 7 medals since the inception of the competition in 2012. – Marike Brits, AgriOrbit