Red Poll breeders steal the show

A ONCE-THREATENED Suffolk cattle breed was in fine form at the Suffolk Show yesterday, as Red Poll breeders turned out in force.Sproughton-based Red Poll farmer Ben Woolf, chairman of the Red Poll Cattle Society, scooped the Perpetual Challenge Cup with Oak House Ulysses, which took the best exhibit title.

Sarah Chambers

A ONCE-THREATENED Suffolk cattle breed was in fine form at the Suffolk Show yesterday, as Red Poll breeders turned out in force.

Sproughton-based Red Poll farmer Ben Woolf, chairman of the Red Poll Cattle Society, scooped the Perpetual Challenge Cup with Oak House Ulysses, which took the best exhibit title.

The champion female title went to Lavenham New Dawn, of Brook Farm, Brent Eleigh, Sudbury.

“We are delighted, really pleased. We had a really good show of Red Polls, about 43, and about nine or 10 bulls and a tough class I think,” said Mr Woolf.

“I think it reflects the popularity of the breed. We are getting more and more breeders and more and more at the show.”

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Barrie Hayward, judge in the Red Poll category, said there had been “a real good quality of Red Polls, a superb turnout, tremendous classes. The class of 16 maiden heifers was just unbelievable.”

He felt the breed was “on the way up again” and said there had been “a real good turnout” of quality cattle.

Justin and Emma Dowley of Eastbridge Farm, near Leiston, were celebrating after their British Simmental cow and bull reigned supreme in the breed championships.

Theberton Rose was crowned best exhibit and Theberton Victorious overall reserve champion.

“We are thrilled,” said Mr Dowley.

“This is the best we have done. The female actually won the Norfolk when she was very young, three years ago in the junior heifer class.”

He praised their stockman, Stephen Brett, who joined them eight years ago to look after their Simmental herd, which has 80 cows and was started by Mrs Dowley's father back in the 1970s.

“We started showing when he arrived, so it's his work really,” said Mr Dowley.

Mr Brett, who was helped by his son, Nick, said he was “chuffed to bits”.

Judge Lynda Burditt said the Simmentals were “much improved” this year.

“She was just what a Simmental cow should be. She moved so well and she had got the flesh in the right places,” she said of the overall champion.

She also praised the Dowleys' bull. “I thought he was a special bull really. He had got good flesh on the back end and a bull we'll see a lot more of in the future,” she said.

Jersey heifer Poringland Dream was crowned champion in the Any Other Dairy Breed category.

Owner John Cawston, of Cawston Ltd, at Woodton, near Bungay, said it was the first time out for the heifer, and they were “very pleased”.

“She's only been calved for two months,” he said. “She's got a superb udder on her, good body depth.”

The farm has about 120 Holsteins and about 25 Jerseys at the farm, based in the Waveney Valley, and has managed to keep going, in spite of low milk prices.

“There aren't many of us left,” said Mr Cawston. “We keep going. It's a little better now, but everything has gone up. We are not much better than before. We need another 2p or 3p, but we'll be lucky if we get it, though.”

Judges at the show were impressed by what they had seen.

Andrew Jones, judging the Holsteins, said: “I'm very impressed with what I've seen. It's a really good standard.

Jim Hollingsworth, judging in the commercial beef category, said the quality was “outstanding”.

“Just the quality throughout is exceptionally high, which reflects the current trend in the British beef industry,” he said.

Ernie Gibbons, judging the Limousin class, said he was “very impressed”. “The bull class was quite difficult, three very good bulls,” he said.