Livestock compete for big money at English Winter Fair

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Hundreds of livestock exhibitors competed for top honours and their share of £24,000 in prize money at the English Winter Fair on 18-19 November. And winning the overall supreme interbreed beef championship – with a £1,000 prize – were Paul Tippetts and Christine Williams with their Limousin x heifer, Cor Blimey.

Bred by CT Akrigg and sired by Ballylin Popeye, this 16-month-old heifer joined the Wilodge herd in March after going for sale at Kirby Steven. “We thought she had a lot of potential when we saw her,” said Paul, who keeps 170 pedigree Limousins and crossbreds at Lodgehill Farm, Shifnal in Shropshire. “She’s very square plated and naturally fleshed, and very showy.” She won her class at Beef Expo and went on to sell in the Winter Fair auction for £6,400.

Taking the reserve championship was Georgia and Charlotte Davies’ British Blue x Limousin heifer, Daisy. Bred by Dai Brute, this 20-month-old heifer was bought privately by the sisters; she won her class at Agri Expo and was reserve champion at Newark. “She’s a really good allrounder,” said Georgia, who keeps 200 store cattle and 1,000 ewes at Topfield Farm, Brecon. She went on to sell for £4,600.

In the national pedigree calf championship, Jimmy and Vikki Wood’s young Simmental bull Popes Premier scooped the top prize, completing an exceptional year for the family. “He’s been out showing all summer with his mum, Popes Princess Immie, who won the English national championship, the Scottish national championship, and interbreed championship at the Great Yorkshire Show,” said Vikki. “Now he’s come here and done it on his own.”

The family bloodlines are strong – Immie was shown as a calf at foot with her own dam, who won the interbreed championship at the Great Yorkshire and Royal Welsh shows. “It’s a great story – he’s following the tradition.”

By Popes Lethal Weapon, this January-born bull will now return to Popes Farm near Preston, where the family keep 60 cows and followers, as well as running a meat wholesale business, Bowland Foods. “He’ll grow on through the winter and we’ll either use him as a bull ourselves or sell him at Stirling bull sales in October,” said Vikki. “He’s been a stand-out calf all summer, so it’s nice for him to be recognised in this company.”

Taking the reserve title was Kevin Watret’s British Blue junior heifer calf Solway View Tesha. “She was first in the Stars of the Future competition last week and second at Agri Expo,” said stockman Ali Jackson. “Her mother, Solway View Kesha, is one of the best cows in the herd – she won the triple crown last year; the Royal Highland, Great Yorkshire and Royal Welsh.” Her sire is an old bull, Felicien De Courriaulx.

Kevin, who has 300 cattle at Solway View Farm near Dumfries, also topped the British Blue classes last year at the Winter Fair, with Solway View Ria, who went on to sell for a record-equalling £30,000 at Carlisle. And he had success in the prestigious group of three at this year’s show, with Tesha joining forces with Solway View Sunlight and Jamie Taylor’s Brookley Blue Thumbelina to claim the Duke of Norfolk trophy.

“The group of three is all about winning for the breed,” said Kevin. “We pick the best matched team across the breed, and have won the title three years in a row.”

In reserve spot was a team of Herefords, comprising TG & EM Hart’s steer Pow alongside TD & WT Livesey’s steers Normanton 1 Woodonga and Normanton 1 Ant. “Woodonga is by Normanton 1 Laertes, who was interbreed champion at the Royal Highland and Royal Welsh shows in 2016,” said stockman Colin Soutter.

The baby beef class saw Mike Rowland’s Limousin x steer Fist Full of Dollars take the supreme championship in the hands of Steven O’Kale. “Bought at Welshpool in May, he was baby beef champion at Agrifest and reserve champion at Anglesey,” said Steven. Bred by Lion Parry Jones, he will head to the Welsh Winter Fair next before returning home to Dolwen Farm in mid Wales.

In reserve spot was OW & GL Williams’ Limousin x Rosie. Born in April, this homebred heifer is by Sheehills Jumbo out of a Limousin x dam.

Across in sheep lines, the Hall family from Inglewood Edge near Penrith continued their winning streak, claiming their fourth interbreed championship at the Fair. The pair of Beltex crosses – sired by a Murrays tup – won the 70-80kg untrimmed class before going on to claim the interbreed trophy. “We always come to this show – it’s extremely friendly and relaxed, and very competitive,” said Joanne Hall. “It’s nice to have trimmed and untrimmed classes, so anyone can bring their lambs, whether they trim or not.”

In reserve spot were a pair of purebred Beltex lambs from Chris Wright’s Fieldview Farm, Boston. “I’ve judged here before but it’s the first time we’ve shown here, so we’re delighted,” said Chris. “We bought these lambs from Ben Cowton’s flock, and they’ve got great shape and meat.”

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Print resolution images from the 2023 English Winter Fair can be found here.