Suffolk Show 2012 cattle: Colchester grandma’s Longhorns hook double

GRANDMA Sarah Coleman was “thrilled to bits” after her Longhorns hooked a double win at Suffolk Show 2012.

Sarah Coleman’s Chalkney Parody and Chalkney Quest scooped first and reserve place respectively in the breed finals today.

“We have been coming here for a long while since 1992/93. Over the years we have done quite well,” said Mrs Coleman, of Earls Colne, Colchester, who keeps 12 adult Longhorns and 10 youngsters and was also on grandchildren babysitting duty.

Judge David Bell said the numbers had not been vast, but the quality was good.

The winning cow was a “very nice animal, long, very correct, walked correctly, very well fleshed for a Longhorn and just a very good example of the breed”.

In the British Limousin category, Darren Wharton and dad, Derek, were celebrating after Withersdale Empress took top spot in her breed.

The Whartons, whose farm is on the Suffolk side of the river at Withersdale Street, Harleston, keep 10 pedigree animals but their ‘day job’ is as fabricator welders.

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“This one was reserve breed champion last year and she’s done one better this year,” said Darren. “It’s fantastic. It’s a real honour. There were so many tremendous cattle here today.”

Last year, they won at the Suffolk Show with another animal, he explained, but Empress did very well at the national Limousin show in Carlisle, scooping reserve overall champion.

There were two overall Suffolk winners in the Any Other Dairy Breed championship.

Lindsay Burroughs, a third generation farmer of Aldeby, Beccles, took top spot with Rebil Plaintiff Ruth, a Brown Swiss cross. The family farm includes arable, free range chickens and holiday homes. Jason Salisbury of Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses, Creeting St Mary, clinched the reserve spot with his Guernsey.

Judge John Gribbon, of Lancashire, said he liked the way the Brown Swiss walked, and she had a “big advantage” in the rear udder.

“The Guernsey reserve was a fantastic body cow, really dairy, but just was not as good in the rear udder as the champion. It was a really good show. The entries were small, but the quality was good.”

He added that he was “very impressed” with the stewarding.

Mrs Burroughs, whose farm is on both sides of the Norfolk/Suffolk border, and milks around 200 cows at home, mainly British Fresians, described the victory as “brilliant, absolutely fantastic”.

“It’s just a shame there aren’t many dairy cows at the show, but we are over the moon,” she said, adding that the breeder was their second herdsman, Paul Chase.

Mr Salisbury said: “It’s the best we have done here. We were up against some really good cows.”

Top spot and reserve in the Red Poll contest went to Northamptonshire and to owner Joy Broughton.

Judge Tony Fletcher praised the “very, very good quality” in the competition, and added that he had been coming to the show for many years and this was the biggest entry he had witnessed.

Chelmsford-based Ray Bowler of the Red Poll Cattle Society said the breed, which originates from Suffolk and is part of the ‘trinity’ of farm animals used to represent livestock in the county by the Suffolk Agricultural Association, is now thriving and is popular as a grazing animal on nature reserves.

Female registrations have increased in the last few years from 600 to 1150, he said.

“The actual herd size is increasing as well,” he said.

“The average herd (across the UK) is now 25 cows. They are basically being used a lot on environmental schemes. An awful lot are going out onto RSPB land and all that sort of thing,” he said.

“We have got some big herds now, particularly around in this area. We have got 420 members now.”

Tomorrow the Suffolk Show hosts the dairy interbreed and beef interbreed championships, when the supreme champions will be chosen from among the breed winners.