Suffolk Show boost for Lincoln Red cattle - just 78 days to go before annual farming showcase

Alan Hargreaves, president of the Lincoln Red Cattle Society. Photo by Lydia Pinfold.

Alan Hargreaves, president of the Lincoln Red Cattle Society. Photo by Lydia Pinfold. - Credit: Archant

An old British native cattle breed is set to be in a class of its own this year at the Suffolk Show.

Alan Hargreaves, president of the Lincoln Red Cattle Society. Photo by Lydia Pinfold.

Alan Hargreaves, president of the Lincoln Red Cattle Society. Photo by Lydia Pinfold. - Credit: Archant

The Lincoln Red will have its own competition category for the first time as its numbers across the region grow.

The breed, which can be traced back to the 1700s, has classes at several of the leading shows, including the Lincolnshire Show, the Great Yorkshire and the Royal Norfolk but competitors at the Suffolk event have until now only been able to compete in the ‘any other breed’ contests.

Alan Hargreaves, the current president of the Lincoln Red Cattle Society, says there are now a number of herds across Suffolk and Norfolk, including one of the largest in the UK at Iken, near Aldeburgh.

“In the last few years we have got more and more new members from Suffolk and Norfolk so last year for example for the first time we had classes at the Aylsham Show and we are doing more to support our members in Suffolk and Norfolk. We had two or three members that have exhibited in the any other native breeds or any other breeds at the Suffolk Show,” he said.

Alan Hargreaves, president of the Lincoln Red Cattle Society. Photo by Lydia Pinfold.

Alan Hargreaves, president of the Lincoln Red Cattle Society. Photo by Lydia Pinfold. - Credit: Archant

“It’s great. It’s what we want to do. We want to support our members in Suffolk and Norfolk and surrounding counties and we want to show at the summer county shows what a fantastic breed we have.”

There is renewed interest in native breeds, both for the animals themselves and for the meat, he said.

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Lincoln Reds can be finished on grass and produce a “connoisseur’s beef” which was “our secret we keep in the East of England” , said Mr Hargreaves, who keeps his own herd near Spalding in Lincolnshire.

“The breed is renowned for being a very good beef breed, superb quality beef, finishes well off grass and produces well marbled, well flavoured meat,” he said. The animal is docile and good-natured, making it ideal for stockmen who now have to look after large herds, and make “great mothers”, he added.

Like Suffolk’s Red Poll cattle, Lincoln Reds were a dual purpose breed up until the arrival of Friesians in the 1950s.

The Lincoln Red Cattle Society was formed in 1895 and the breed exists in healthy numbers, with more than 4,000 recorded for the British Cattle Movement Service.

Graham Parkinson of Lincolnshire, who is set to take over as president of the society in the next few months, is planning to attend the inaugural event at the Suffolk Show, said Mr Hargreaves.

The Suffolk Show takes place on May 27 and 28. For the latest news and to buy discounted tickets, visit www.suffolkshow.co.uk.