French Connection at the Royal Cornwall Show

French Connection at the Royal Cornwall Show

The sheep section at this year’s Royal Cornwall Show will have a distinctly French flavour thanks to a double celebration for the Roussin sheep section.

Originating from Northern France, the 2014 show marks the 21st anniversary of the Roussin sheep breed first being shown at Royal Cornwall. Initially making its bow within the any other breed classes.  Quickly growing in popularity and in sufficient numbers, the Roussin breed secured their own classes. Hence this year’s show will be the 18th with a dedicated Roussin sheep section.

Roussin Sheep expert, Michel Duguesne, Royal Cornwall Show

Roussin Sheep expert, Michel Duguesne, who will be travelling from Normandy, France to judge the breed at the 2014 Royal Cornwall Show

Officiating at the first official Roussin classes were two French judges who oversaw a Cornish win as Fernley & Nancy Banbury from Padstow secured the championship. During the intervening years the breed has grown in strength, with numbers being shown increasing which led to the introduction of new classes at the 2010 show.

Fittingly in this celebratory year a highly respected French judge, Michel Duquesne, will be travelling from Normandy to preside over the Roussin classes at this year’s show (5 – 7 June).

The Roussin breed was created by crossing a native breed with Dishley Leicesters and Southdowns in 1926. In 1960 a Suffolk strain was introduced.  Its background means they are ideally suited to the South West as Russell Molyneux, chairman of the Roussin Sheep Society, explains:

“Having been developed in a coastal area of high rainfall and strong winds, the Roussin is versatile and can adapt to various conditions and management systems.

“So they are ideally suited to our rather changeable climate here in the UK and perhaps our region in particular.”

The first Roussin sheep were only imported into the UK in 1989, so Russell is looking forward to toasting the breed’s progress at the show.

“We are delighted that Monsieur Duquesne, accompanied by his daughter acting as translator, will be judging the breed at the Royal Cornwall Show this year.

 “We look forward to celebrating these milestones at the show and look forward to the breed continuing to go from strength to strength in the coming years.”

Well over 1000 sheep entries are expected at this year’s show, which also sees the Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders Association celebrating its 125th anniversary. The past three shows posted the highest sheep entries in the event’s 221 year history, with the record to date set in 2012 when 1250 sheep entries were received.

Sheep farming is an important part of the agricultural industry in the region. This is reflected with the unveiling of Mole Valley Farmers as a major sheep section sponsor at the 2014 show.

“The Royal Cornwall Show is one of the country’s leading agricultural shows so we are delighted to have increased our involvement by supporting the successful sheep section at the event, in addition to our continued support of cattle classes.

“We have a long history of being part of the show, it’s an opportunity to meet with our customers old and new and we look forward to enjoying another superb show in June.” Said Nigel Bond, events manager at Mole Valley Farmers.

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