Family celebrates beef cattle win at Tendring Show livestock competition
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A long-time supporter of Tendring Show’s livestock competitions lifted the supreme prize in the beef cattle contest on Saturday.
The Ketley family’s home-bred two-year-old Limousin heifer, Toppesfield Jackie, took the Coleman cup for supreme beef champion.
Will Ketley, of Toppesfield, near Halstead, who was ably supported by his small sons, Ben, five, and Josh, three, said he was “delighted” at the win, which followed a reserve champion prize at the Hadleigh Show and a third in her breed at the Royal Norfolk.
“Now she will go home and go into the herd and hopefully breed future champions,” said Will.
“We have supported this show ever since I can remember and it’s certainly a big favourite of the family so it’s always nice to win it. It’s very much our area and it’s very good to win in our local area to help boost sales and awareness of what we are trying to achieve.”
Over in the traditional and rare cattle breed classes, it was a Hadleigh-bred Aberdeen Angus heifer, Overbury Hall Passiflora, which scooped the supreme prize.
Stockman Simon Long, there with son, Grant, who was there on behalf of owners Nick and Liz Reid, of Layham, near Hadleigh, felt the award was “well deserved - I think she looked good”.
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The farm won the reserve prize last year with another animal, but he felt this heifer shaping up for great things and he was “pleased to have won”.
“You know she’s good,” he said.
Out in the sheep pens, there was cause for celebration for a host of Essex and Suffolk breed owners.
Jim Hammond, of Gallows Hill, Hadleigh, said it was “very good and encouraging”, after his shearling ewe took the top prize in the Suffolk Sheep awards.
“I have only got 14 breeding ewes, so a very small flock,” said the sheep farmer, whose ‘day job’ is as an HR manager for a local engineering firm.
“I have been coming here now for about four years and it’s the best result I have had,” he said.
“Having such a small flock, to do well here is very satisfying. I bred here myself. She’s 18 months old. The judge said she was in very good conditiion. He particularly liked her strong head and basic formation really.”
Amy Readhead-Higgins of F L Readhead & Co, House Farm, Leiston, was celebrating after her ram, Ridings Roly, scooped the overall supreme title in the Southdown Sheep and any other breed or cross competitions for the second year in a row. It was a good morning for Amy, after she scooped four of five Southdown classes.
“I’m really pleased,” she said.
Amy, who keeps 30 ewes, started her flock in 2005 with the help of her family, said attending shows such as Tendring was a good way to raise the profile of her Sutherland Southdowns.
“It’s my obsession. We have sold some breeding stock, so it’s going quite well,” she said. “I’m thrilled.”
The ram had had some “nice lambs” this year, so she was “very pleased”, she said.
“I love this show. Sometimes it’s incredibly hot, but today is perfect really. It’s a relaxed, friendly show.” she added.
Hannah Turner, judge in the Southdowns competition, said: “He had all the right characteristics of the Southdown breed. He was extremely wide and meaty but still traditional - an impressive animal.”
The entrants were of “good quality” she said, although varied quite a lot in maturity in the lamb classes.
Meanwhile, in the commercial lambs category, Sue Amoss, who is based at Lawford Hall, very close to where the show is staged, was celebrating after her lambs clinched first and second spot overall in their category with her large butchers’ Beltex cross lambs and small Beltex cross butchers’ lambs respectively.
“I only keep about 20 of my little Beltex cross ewes. We have a larger commercial flock but I just show mine, and it’s nice because it gets people to see your sheep and the butchers definitely like my lambs,” she said.
“It’s always been a very good show for me actually. I’m really pleased. I was really pleased with my lambs this year because sometimes you can’t get an even pair.”
In the rare and minority sheep breeds, 17-year-old Hamish Beaton, of Sandons Farm, Saffron Walden, was celebrating victory for the third year in a row in the rare breed contests.
Hamish, who there with father, Neil, scooped the best rare breed exhibit title with his one-and-a-half-year-old Norfolk Horn shearling ram, Sandons Flint.
“I’m really pleased,” he said. “He was champion at the Suffolk Show about a month ago. They liked his stance, the way he walked and his shape.”
The family keeps around 150 Norfolk Horns, selling some on as fat lambs and others for breeding.
It was also a good day for younger would-be sheep farmer Tom Lugsden, aged seven, of Thwaite, near Eye, who took the top title in the young handlers competition.
The Bacton Primary pupil impressed judges with his handling of the family’s Border Leicester sheep, Alice. He was “excited and pleased”, and mum, Tory, who is also Suffolk Young Farmers organiser, expressed her delight at the win, which she admitted had brought a tear to her eye.