Livestock market gets in festive mood

AN East Anglian livestock market got in the festive mood with some spirited bidding yesterday at its annual Christmas show.A British Blue cross-bred heifer belonging to Colchester market stalwart W A Ketley & Sons fetched £2,157.

AN East Anglian livestock market got in the festive mood with some spirited bidding yesterday at its annual Christmas show.

A British Blue cross-bred heifer belonging to Colchester market stalwart W A Ketley & Sons fetched £2,157.60 after it was crowned beef cattle champion at the event.

The successful bidder, butcher John Coleman of Boxted, who also judged the entries, described the champion as “well finished” and “well bred”.

It was a double triumph for farmer Gerald Ketley of W A Ketley & Sons, of Fingringhoe, near Colchester, after one of his British Blue steers picked up the reserve champion award.


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“I'm thrilled,” he said. “It's really nice that we breed them.”

Mr Ketley started coming to the Stanfords market at Colchester, which was built on land which the family once farmed, at the age of six and his cattle regularly win awards there.

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Sheep farmer Scott Horton of Brightwell Farm, Watford, Hertfordshire, was also celebrating a double victory after his cross-bred Texels were crowned overall champions in the lamb section.

It was the second year running he had taken the top prize.

“We use Texel and Charollais ewes and lambs and last year we won it with a Charollais and they seem to do well. They are my two breeds of choice. Obviously it's very nice. You work hard all year and it's lovely at the end of it to get something out of it and know you are doing something well,” he said.

The winning sheep were bought by Ipswich butcher George Debman who won the bidding at £232 for the pair.

“My business is about buying and selling good quality livestock and at the same time we always like buying the best for our customers,” he said.

“I like a heavy lamb. I don't like the small lambs because when you have a lamb chop you want to have a lamb chop so they are my type of lamb.”

Butcher Peter Hollingsworth of Chelmondiston, near Shotley, who bought the prize winners in the under 40kg category, also reared by Scott Horton, praised their “excellent” conformation.

“Obviously, they'll make a very good butcher's lamb with a superb flavour of meat,” he said.

Auctioneer Graham Ellis praised the “fantastic quality” of the cattle entries.

“As every year, really it's a tremendous show,” he said.

“Probably a few less numbers than we usually have but that's understandable given the way things are in farming.”

The winning entry was a “worthy winner” and a “super” animal, he said.

Mr Coleman said the champion beef would form part of his festive offering, which also includes winners from Devon and Cornwall shows.

Sheep judge Paul Humphreys of C Humphreys & Sons in Chelmsford, said the winning lambs were “very good”. However, he felt factors such as the weather may have affected the quality of some of the entries.

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