Farming feature: Heather’s bitter-sweet victory at Stanfords’ Christmas Stock Show at Colchester

Heather Blythe tears up after her heifer took first place at the Colchester cattle market as she was sad to part with the cow. Heather Blythe tears up after her heifer took first place at the Colchester cattle market as she was sad to part with the cow.

Friday, December 6, 2013
9:46 AM

It was a bitter-sweet victory for stockwoman Heather Blythe as her heifer took the show champion rosette at Stanfords on Tuesday.

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The Colchester Christmas Stock Show was the end of the parade for her multi-award-winning beef animal, which was snapped up by Swanton Morley Butchers in Norfolk for £400p/kg, or £2,500 in total.

The producer, of Horsford, near Norwich, had seen the heavy heifer crowned champion at four shows, also including Heckington in Lincolnshire, Wayland and Aylsham since she started showing it in May.

“I’m really pleased,” she said as the tears fell. “It’s just the last one. I have thought a lot of this heifer, but she’s got to go now.”

It was sad, she said. “She’s been a really good servant for me.”

While husband, Graham, works in haulage, she looks after a herd of about 50 head of beef cattle, a job she has been doing for 40 years.

Judge Colin Byford praised the animal’s conformation. “It’s full of meat,” he said. “It’s just a typical champion beast.”

Fellow judge and Ipswich butcher George Debman described it as an “exceptional” beast.

“It’s all meat, nice shape for Christmas. From a butcher’s point of view, it’s obviously ideal.”

Back in the lamb pens, it was a 13-year-old novice producer who came away with the top sheep prize. Young Jack Byford of Little Clacton was at school on Tuesday, so wasn’t there to see his pair of Texels crossed with Beltex scoop the Perpetual Challenge Cup.

It was grandad Cyril Byford who picked up the trophy on his behalf.

“I have got a flock of Suffolks and he was helping me with them and he wanted his own so I bought him 10 ewes and he’s gone on from there,” he said.

Cyril’s cousin, Colin Byford, also Jack’s grandfather added: “I should think he’ll be over the moon.”

Judge John Coleman said it had been “a very good show of sheep - one of the best I have seen here.”

Mr Debman bought the pair for £165 each.

As it was small business week, it was “rather apt” that among the vendors and buyers of the winning animals were a small butcher, small abattoir, small producers and that the event was held at a small livestock market, he said.

CATTLE XMAS SHOW

Stanfords reports 122 prime cattle included an entry of 40 cattle in the 8 show classes. The quality was generally superb and a credit to all those regular supporters of this market. The heavy steer and heifer classes were quite exceptional and could have been shown anywhere. The show’s cattler classes came before two regular buyers at this centre – Colin Byford of C J Byford & Son Wholesale Butchers, Little Clacton, and George Debman of Cliff Road, Ipswich who had the difficult choice of selecting the show winners. After due deliberation the judges awarded the Championship to Graham and Heather Blythe of Horsford, Norfolk, for a heavy Limousin X heifer weighing 625kg. This tremendous heifer winning the Olivers Perpetual Cup, The Arthur Chalke Perpetual Trophy for Best Heavy Heifer and the best Limousin bred heifer in the show. After strong bidding the heifer was purchased on behalf of Swanton Morley Butchers, Norfolk, at 400p/kg (£2500) for their shop. Runner up to this heifer was another heavy heifer consigned by Toppesfield Hall Ltd of Toppesfield, Essex of which Mr William Ketley is a Director. William being the son of Gerald Ketley, W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe, the family being tremendous supporters of Colchester Market every week. This superb heifer weighing 646kg was sold to John Coleman, Boxted, for his shop at 335p/kg £2164.10. The Roy Brazier Memorial Trophy for the best steer over 550kg was awarded to Bob Manning Farms Ltd of Cornard Tye, Suffolk for a Belgian Blue X steer selling at 295p/kg or £2023.70 to Messrs Fowler Bros, Burnham on Crouch. The Broad Oak Farm Perpetual Trophy for butcher cattle under 550kg was awarded to W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe for a Belgian Blue X steer and purchased by John Allen for his shop trading as W Allen & Sons, St Botolphs, Colchester. This was also awarded the Derek Abra Perpetual Trophy for best steer under 550kg. The Derek Abra Perpetual Trophy for best heifer under 550kg awarded to W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe and purchased on behalf of Chas Bowers Butchers, Holland on Sea at 345p/kg (1742.25p). The best home bred beast under 550kg winning the Eric Stanion Memorial Trophy awarded again to the Ketley family and reflecting the superb quality of their entry and selling to Messrs Fowler Bros, Burnham on Crouch at 290p/kg (£1534.10). The best pair of Butchers Beasts awarded to W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe and both purchased by Messrs Swanton Morley Butchers at 300p/kg each (£1758 and £1779). In the unhaltered section a shorter than normal entry with the overall Championship and the Joe Papworth Memorial Trophy being given to Toppesfield Hall Ltd for a Limousin X steer selling at 310p/kg (1835.20) to Fowler Bros, Burnham on Crouch. The best unhaltered steer in show awarded to Bob Manning Farms Ltd and again purchased by Messrs Fowler Bros at 290p/kg (£1960.40). The best Limousin sired steer in show award to Geoff Freeman, Bredfield being the 2nd prize heavy steer in show. Thank you all vendors and buyers for supporting the Cattle Show and making it the success it was. full schedule of the result is available at the end of this report. The commercial cattle and non prize winners found a strong trade for the best but several cattle not showing the bloom of recent weeks and with the general downturn in reported prices we were pleased to have the trade we did. Show cattle but not prize winners included heavy heifers from Bruce Woodward to 274.5p/kg (1803.47) with other heavy heifers to £1723.86 from David Alpe and steers to £1681.63 from Pauline Byam and £1668.15 from Bob Manning Farms. Non show cattle generally a mixed entry, several O Grade cattle but best 210p/kg to 233.5p/kg from John Pettitt and Richard Thornton with heavy commercial steers to £1505.18 from CBA Lane All cattle average 232.39p/kg. All show prize winners average 294.32p/kg.

All non show cattle average 214.70p/kg. Generally a satisfactory day. 44 steers av 234.23 18 light: top 330.00p/kg, average 221.13p/kg; 16 medium: 300.00p, 235.09p; 10 heavy: 295.00p, 250.34p; 17 light: 243.50p, 196.06p; 21 medium: 345.00p, 230.82p; 17 heavy: 400.00p, 256.84p; 21 OTMS as reported a steady trade with no real meat about. Steers all extreme black and whites, beef cows all old. 4 beef cows: 109.50p, 84.66p; 6 dairy cows: 98.50p, 66.72p; 6 steers: 137.50p, 120.71p; 4 heifers: 158.5p, 148.85p; 1 bulls: 106.5p, 106.50p; 2 store cattle to £590 for 28 m/o black and whites.

SHEEP XMAS SHOW

522 sheep included a typical entry of 66 in the 2 show classes and the Judge Mr John Coleman of Boxted commented on the excellent quality forward. The overall Championship awarded by the Judge to Master Jack Byford of Little Clacton whose family as buyers have supported Colchester Market for at least five generations and long may it continue. The best pair of Texel X lambs weighing 43kg were sold to George Debman for his shop in Ipswich at £165 per head (384p/kg). These lambs awarded the William Gray Perpetual Challenge Trophy for best pair of lambs, the George Debman Perpetual Trophy for best lamb over 40kg and the Wiston Trophy for best pen of Texel sized lambs in show. The Colchester District Meat Traders Perpetual Trophy award to Peter Gear of Ardeley, Hertfordshire for a pen of 38kg lambs purchased by the Judge John Coleman at £86 a head (226p/kg). Generally show lamb trade excellent with other pens £110 again from Jack Byford and £105 from J F Peacock and around the 190p/kg to 200p/kg price range. Again a full schedule of prize winners at the end of this report. Non prize winners and non show sheep a good selection of meated lambs and plenty around the 200p/kg to 205p/kg and in the £90+ a head to £96.50 from G J Goff Ltd. This well above quotations for Monday night. Lightweight and secondary breed sheep less and still at store price and reducing averages. All lambs av 181.32p/kg from 124p/kg to 384p/kg! SQQ of 182.73p/kg Ewes short to £56 av 43.690kg, Tups to £66. Store lambs dear to £70 for strongest. 16 light: 178p, 160.68p; 245 medium: 384p, 181.13p; 107 heavy: 220p, 178.82p.

SHOW RESULTS

Overall Show Champion Beast And Olivers Perpetual Cup: Vendor, H & G Blythe, Horsford; Buyer Swanton Morley Butchers, Norfolk: 400p/kg, £2500 per head; Reserve Show Champion Beast: Toppesfield Hall Ltd; John Coleman, Boxted: 335p/kg 2164.10; Class 1 Roy Brazier Memorial Trophy Best Steer 550kg Or Over: Bob Manning Farms Ltd, Fowler Bros, Burnham On Crouch: 295p, 2023.70; Cornard Tye Reserve Steer 550 Kg Or Over: R & GR Freeman, Bredfield, John Coleman, Boxted: 275p, 1892.00; 3rd Prize Steer 550 Kg Or Over: W A Ketley & Son, Fingringhoe, Fowler Bros, Burnham On Crouch: 260p, 1765.40; Class 2 Arthur Chalke Perpetual Trophy Best Heifer 550Kg Or Over: H & G Blythe, Horsford, Swanton Morley Butchers, Norfolk: 400p, 2500.00; Norfolk Reserve Heifer 550 Kg Or Over: Toppesfield Hall Ltd, John Coleman, Boxted: 335p, 2164.10; 3rd Prize Heifer 550 Kg Or Over: B M Woodward, Harleston; Swanton Morley Butchers, Norfolk: 280p, 1680.00; Broad Oak Farm Perpetual Cup For Best Butchers Beast under 550kg: W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe; W Allen & Sons, Colchester: 330p, 1791.90; Class 3 Derek Abra Perpetual Trophy Best Butchers Steer 550 Kg Or Under: W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe; W Allen & Sons, Colchester: 330p, 1791.90; Reserve Butchers Steer 550kg Or Under: Toppesfield Hall Ltd; John Coleman, Boxted: 275p, 1251.25; Class 4: Derek Abra Perpetual Trophy Best Butchers Heifer 550kg Or Under: W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe; Chas Bowers, Holland On Sea; 345p, 1742.25; Reserve Butchers Heifer 550kg Or Under: W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe; John Coleman, Boxted: 290p, 1513.80; Class 5: Eric Stanion Memorial Trophy Beast 550kg Or Under Home Bred: W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe; Fowler Bros, Burnham On Crouch; 290p, 1534.10; Reserve Beast 550kg Or Under Home Bred: B M Woodward, Harleston; Creasey Butchers, Woodbridge: 275p, 1278.75; Class 6: Best Pair Butchers Beasts: W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe; Swanton Morley Butchers, Norfolk (2) 300p (2), 1758.00, 1779.00; Reserve Pair Butchers Beasts: W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe; G Debman, Ipswich (1): 295p, 1519.25; J H Lambert (Bungay) Ltd: (1) 270p, 1458.00; Joe Papworth Memorial Trophy For Best Unhaltered Beast: Toppesfield Hall Ltd; Fowler Bros, Burnham On Crouch; 310, 1835.20; Class 7: Best Unhaltered Steer: Bob Manning Farms Ltd; Fowler Bros, Burnham On Crouch; 290p, 1960.40; Cornard Tye Reserve Unhaltered Steer: W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe; Michael Barber, Latchingdon: 250p, 1387.50; 3rd Prize Unhaltered Steer: W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe; J H Lambert (Bungay) Ltd: 270p, 1571.40; Class 8 Best Unhaltered Heifer: Toppesfield Hall Ltd; Fowler Bros, Burnham On Crouch: 310p, 1835.20; Reserve Unhaltered Heifer: C A Coe & Son, Gt Wenham; Fowler Bros, Burnham On Crouch; 290p, 1647.20; 3rd Prize Unhaltered Heifer: W A Ketley & Sons, Fingringhoe; J H Lambert (Bungay) Ltd 250 1457.50 Special Prizes Best Limousin Bred Heifer In Show H & G Blythe, Horsford, Swanton Morley Butchers, Norfolk; 400p, 2500.00; Norfolk Best Limousin Bred Steer In Show: R & Gr Freeman, Bredfield; John Coleman, Boxted; 275p, 1892; Colchester District Meat Traders Perpetual Trophy Best Pen Of Two Lambs Under 40kg: P J Gear, Ardeley; John Coleman, Boxted: 226p, 86.00; Hertfordshire Reserve Pen Of Two Lambs Under 40kg: W A Ketley & Sons: John Coleman, Boxted; 218 83; 3rd Prize Pen Of Two Lambs Under 40kg: P Byam, Swilland; C Humphreys & Sons, Fairstead: 215p, 79.50; Class 10: George Debman Perpetual Trophy For Best Heavy Lambs: 1st Prize Pen Of Two Lambs Over 40kg: Master Jack Byford, Little Clacton; George Debman, Ipswich; 384 165 Clacton Reserve Pen Of Two Lambs Over 40kg: J F Peacock, Wymondham; George Debman, Ipswich; 214p, £105; 3rd Prize Pen Of Two Lambs Over 40kg: Master Jack Byford, Little Clacton; George Debman, Ipswich: 220p, £110; Overall Champion Pen Of Two Lambs And William Gray Perpetual Challenge: Master Jack Byford, Little Clacton; George Debman, Ipswich: 384p, £165; Wiston Trophy For Best Pen Of Texel: Master Jack Byford, Little Clacton; George Debman, Ipswich: 384p, £165.00.

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