Norfolk farmers, cattle and students among the champions at East of England Winter Stock Festival
PUBLISHED: 18:10 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:15 07 December 2017
Norfolk livestock farmers, handlers and agricultural students carried off some of the top honours at a major regional livestock show.
The East of England Winter Stock Festival in Peterborough attracted exhibitors from across England, Scotland and Wales, with classes including commercial cattle, baby beef, pedigree calves, commercial lamb, breeding ewes and pigs.
Among the proud prize-winners were Mark Haistead, who runs the Meadowbrook herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle with his partner Sue Cooper in Little Melton, outside Norwich.
He said he was “shocked” when the farm’s heifer Meadowbrook Flossie won the overall interbreed pedigree calf championship.
The winning animal was born in January into a small herd of about a dozen cows which already has a winning pedigree, as her mother Meadowbrook Frances took the native and reserve interbreed heifer titles at the 2015 Royal Welsh Show.
Mr Haistead, who also works full-time in the butchery side of the HG Blake abattoir business, said: “It was this calf’s first show, so it is a big shock.
“It shows we must be doing something right, and it shows we are moving forwards. That is the aim. We don’t want to keep too many cows, we just want the good ones.
“The best thing is that my daughter (14-year-old Hannah Haistead) took a day off school to come and help her dad – and we went and won. It is our last show of the year, so it’s really nice to end on a high.”
Meanwhile, students from Easton and Otley College won the inter-college competition against 24 other teams from across the UK. The four-strong team had to judge a pen of beef cattle, a pen of finished lambs, a pen of gilts, and a lamb carcass.
The college’s farm manager, Andrew Vernon, said: “It was on the icing on the cake coming first this year, having taken the runner-up spot in 2016.
“The group performed well as a team and that was the most pleasing part of it. It’s a national success so we are delighted and it highlights the farming talent that we have at the college.”
And Thomas Martin from Hilgay, near Downham Market, was the overall champion in the beef section of the “young stock person of the year” contest.
After qualifying at this summer’s Aylsham Show, he competed against other qualifiers from shows around the country, triumphing after a question session with a judge and a handling/showing section with cattle.