Cattle farming families sweep the board

SUFFOLK cattle farmers whipped up a storm after sweeping the board at the county show.Three farming families picked up all four inter-breed titles at the Suffolk Show today.

Sarah Chambers

SUFFOLK cattle farmers whipped up a storm after sweeping the board at the county show.

Three farming families picked up all four inter-breed titles at the Suffolk Show today.

It was a double cream day for one family - the Strachans of Rendham Hall, Rendham, near Saxmundham, and their 70-strong cattle herd - after they managed to clinch both the supreme inter-breed champion and the reserve title in the dairy cattle awards with their Jersey cow Rapid Bay-UK and Holstein cow Inch Storm Daphne respectively.

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Meanwhile, the Gooderhams, of Redhouse Farm Gislingham, near Eye, took top honours in the beef cattle inter-breed championships with Limousin heifer Sundale Bon Bon.

The Harpers, of White House Farm, Weybread, near Diss, took the reserve beef champion with British Charolais cow Weybread Tiffany.

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James Strachan, part of a dairy farming family which successfully diversified in 2001 with Marybelle, its milk business, said he was “over the moon”.

“I'm ecstatic,” he said. His sister, Katherine, who will be joining the business full-time later this year, said it was “brilliant”.

“We have just tried to add value to it and invested a lot of money and sold half the cows two years ago to take the next step forward,” said James.

They had brought other farmers on board with their venture, who were giving them “terrific” support, he said.

Peter Gooderham said he was “very happy” with their win. It was the fourth inter-breed his heifer had won, he said.

“This is the first inter-breed she's won at our own county show. It's nice to do it on your home turf. She's an exceptional example of the breed.”

Mr Gooderham is currently running a herd of 70 cattle with his father, John, and the help of his young sons, PJ, George and Luke, who were all taking an active part in the farm, he said.

“I have been coming here for 20 years but this is the first time I have done the inter-breed here. I have come close,” he said. “Doing it in your own backyard is what it's all about.”

His champion heifer was home-bred, he added.

Donna McInnes, who keeps cattle along with father, Roger Harper, and husband, Lee McInnes, said they were “very pleased” to scoop the reserve title.

“It's just brilliant - the icing on the cake,” she said. “This is the third generation home bred. We are really pleased today. She's done us well.”

They hoped she would continue her successful run at other shows in the region they were booked to attend, she said.

Mr McInnes said: “It's great. It's excellent to get a reserve inter-breed at the county show. We are only a 20-strong herd.” It was hard work, but it had paid off, he added.

The judges in the two contests praised the quality of the entries.

Dairy cattle judge George Davies said: “The winners were very high quality dairy animals, excellent, especially the supreme champion.”

Beef cattle judge Ewan Brewis said: “The standards were very, very high, both on the stock produced and the quality of the stockman.”

The winning Limousin was “excellent” and “quite clearly my favourite”, he said.

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