Double delight at Suffolk Show for Norfolk farming family

It was double cream delight for Norfolk as a long-established farming family swept the board in the inter-breed dairy championships.

The supreme title was won by a home-bred Holstein cow from Sue and Tom Crawford's Topcroft herd near Bungay, which was paraded by their daughter Virginia.

Then, the judge, Blaise Tomlinson, tapped out his reserve supreme inter-breed winner, the Ayrshire heifer, Topcroft Flash Crummie, shown by Mrs Crawford, to make a spectacular family victory for mother and daughter. Mrs Crawford said the credit was really due to their son, Robert, who had returned from six months working with dairy cattle in Canada, and had picked out and then prepared the show team.

Robert, aged 19, now plans to take the Holstein champion, Topcroft Sam Cameo, to the Royal Norfolk Show. He has been working with the farm's pedigree 180-cow dairy herd, which includes about 30 Ayrshires, and plans to go to the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, later this autumn.

His sister, Virginia, 21, after parading the champion in the grand parade, was writing the conclusion to her 5,000-word essay as a final assignment in her second year of study in veterinary sciences at the Royal Veterinary College.


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In the inter-breed pairs' championship, it was success for James Strachan and his sister, Katherine, of Rendham, near Saxmundham. In his comments to ringside spectators, Mr Tomlinson, who has just rebuilt his dairy herd after losing 200 cows culled because of TB (bovine tuberculosis) in the past year, said that the Jerseys were perfect examples of a good, modern dairy cow. In the inter-breed beef group championship, there was success for Waveney Valley pedigree Charolais breeders, Donna and Lee McInnes, who were helped by her father, Roger Harper, of White House Farm, Weybread. He was heavily strapped after breaking two bones in his arm, but still managed to lead the home-bred bull, Weybread Frere.

The Charolais bull, which was last shown as a calf at foot two years ago, clearly impressed the judge, Alistair Houston, from Gretna Green in the Borders. He picked the Weybread trio including a heifer and strong calf ahead of David Sapstead's British Simmental team, from Hitchin, Hertfordshire.

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However, his British Simmental heifer, Heathbrow Caramel, took the supreme championship ahead of the Weybread bull. In the inter-breed native category, there was no real surprise that a two-year-old Aberdeen Angus bull from the Hawstead Lodge herd, near Bury St Edmunds, was the supreme champion. Then Mr Houston awarded the reserve title to Mrs M Brunt's Highland cow, Abigail of Kecksys, from Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire. He said that it was one of the best Highlands that he had seen and should make a great cow for the future.

In the beef progeny class, there was success for the Aberdeen Angus for the Shadwell estate, near Thetford.

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