Dorset County Show set for competitive farm produce after good summer rescues harvest
DORSET County Show is set for strong competition in the farm produce tent as a good summer rescued the harvest.
Matthew Keeping, chief steward of the farm produce section at the Dorchester show, said difficult conditions earlier this year looked like bringing a repeat of last year’s dip in grains and other crops.
But many crops had made a late recovery to ensure the farm produce marquee will earn its place as the heart of the show, being held at the Dorchester showground on Saturday and Sunday, 7th and 8th September.
Mr Keeping said: “We had an awful beginning because last autumn had so much wet weather and then we had snow in the spring and it was wet and cold.
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“Everything was about six weeks behind but the summer has been good. It’s all been slow but mostly good enough to have a good number of entries for the show this year.
“We were expecting a poor year but now it’s managed to be an average year in terms of quantity and quality – much better than I expected.”
He said visitors to the show would find entries in every class – unlike last year when no pulses were entered as desperate farmers were out harvesting over the show weekend trying to salvage something from their fields.
He said: “We have done more to promote the Dorset County Show this year and with the better weather at the time entries had to be in I think more people decided to do it.
“It might not be the most exciting tent on the show ground, but it’s part of the tradition of the show and countryside – it’s what it’s all about.
“The entries of grain are a bigger sample than at most shows – it means the overall quality has to be good to win.”
Mr Keeping added: “The only area we are a bit down on is kale and I think that’s because not so many farmers grow kale now.
“The hay is good – this has been a good year for hay and silage.”
Mr Keeping reported a good number of entries in the egg classes, reflecting the growing interest in keeping poultry in recent years.
He said: “We had all had enough after last year – it was terrible. Right now we’re already looking to next year’s crops.”