Summer is over. The alpine farmers have moved back into the valley with their animals. The alpine summer has been good for the animals. But how good? The Engelberg cattle breeders hope to find an answer to this question in the first half of October. It is cattle show time. In Engelberg, this is traditionally the meeting place of the farmers with the non-farming population. Here a chat, there an expert discussion and again at another venue a look is taken over the shoulders of the experts who judge the animals on show with an expert's eye.
Cattle breeders can certainly be compared to a determined hiker. Once the hiker knows his destination, he looks for the most suitable path and thinks about the time available, the path conditions, the weather and also any fellow hikers who force him to walk at a certain pace. The same applies to livestock breeding. Here, too, a breeder must be clear about where the path should lead him with his animals. Those who pursue clear goals in cattle breeding will sooner or later be successful. Or else, he will remain a follower. Rational milk and meat production as well as the utilisation of the fodder available on one's own farm are the main concerns of a livestock farmer and are of utmost importance, especially in mountain areas like Engelberg.
So there they are on this October day - the best animals of the Engelberg cattle breeders, lined up according to category. The experts from outside regularly attest that the breeders are doing a good job. And what do the experts pay particular attention to? On the one hand, there is the foundation of the animal. The udder system, the position of the pelvis and finally the overall appearance are further evaluation criteria of the experts. The presentation of the animals in the ring is like walking on a catwalk. The cattle farmer is especially happy about a top place in one of the categories. And yet he knows that this is only a snapshot. The very next day, a competitor could be hired in front. Those are the rules of the game. But those who leave this completely cold are the animals themselves. They are grateful when the farmer shows up in time to milk the cows in the barn the morning after the cattle show. That is also part of a cattle show. No matter how long the festivities lasted on the breeders' evening.
Text & Pictures: Beat Christen