Colchester: Christmas stock show’s cracking stock

THE festive season got off to a cracking start on Tuesday with some top quality livestock on display in Colchester.

Stanfords’ annual Christmas Prime Stock Show may havelacked for quantity, but not quality. High feed costs and other factors have led to shrinking stock numbers this year, explained auctioneer Graham Ellis, but he was pleased with the high standard of entries.

Included on the roll of honour this year was double winner Bruce Woodward, of Hethel in Norfolk, who scooped champion and reserve champion rosettes with his Limousin cross heifer and bullock. The winner fetched �2,524.50 from buyer and judge John Coleman of Boxted.

“They are both very good cattle,” said Mr Coleman “By far and away the best cattle here today.”

First-time winner Mr Woodward said he was “ecstatic”.

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Sylvia Rawlings of Wissington Grange, Nayland, took top honours in the sheep section with a pair of Texels, sold for �170 each to Ipswich butcher George Debman.

“They were the outstanding pair,” said sheep judge George Colwill. There was a very good selection of quality sheep on display, he added.

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“The quality was exceptional again, but numbers were shorter than recent years, perhaps reflecting the shortage of stock in the area,” said Mr Ellis.

“High feed prices, reduction in the breeding herd, that’s generally what the situation is. It has been a very difficult year with the weather. The meat trade is on very small margins at the moment.”

This was reflected by the entry of around 100 cattle, compared to about 160 last year, he said.

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