THOUSANDS of pounds worth of bull semen are being offered as prizes in a 'spot the bull' competition for dairy farmers, writes Andrew Brown.
Readers of Farming News will be asked over the next three weeks to identify the fathers of six cows whose photographs will be displayed two by two in successive issues. All the fathers come from the Herdwise stud in Yorkshire, which is putting up as prizes semen from two foreign bulls it handles.
The prizes have been donated by Aquila Tradition Turbo, an Italian animal, and Art-Acres NB Oscar, an American. Both bulls have donated for the first prize-winner 25 test-tubes of semen, known to modern farmers as 'straws'. The second-placed farmer gets 15 straws from each bull, and the third-placed, 10.
An spokesman for the weekly newspaper said that Farming News expected about 5,000 entries for the competition. There will be two clues with every cow's photograph, to help identify the father; these he said, would make the answers obvious to any well-versed dairyman who had the sponsoring stud's bull-sire booklet.
One photograph, he said, was simply a close-up of an udder, which was a dead giveaway: 'Some bulls improve udders immensely: it's not just a teat at each corner; at one time there was sort of three-inch clearance off the ground, and now they are high-up off the ground.'