Breeders put great in Great Yorkshire Show

by Maureen Hodges

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A crop of Cumbria’s farming champions returned triumphant from the Great Yorkshire Show.

The Miller family's Charolais bull took the reserve male champion title at the Great Yorkshire Show
The Miller family's Charolais bull took the reserve male champion title at the Great Yorkshire Show

Mixed weather didn’t stop interbreed classes shining, as livestock numbers were enhanced by huge Suffolk, Ryeland, Shetland and Zwartbles entries, and over 125 head of Charolais cattle battled it out for national honours.

One of the county’s renowned Charolais breeders, David Miller, was celebrating after two of his bulls came home with top honours. His two-year-old bull Sportsmans Linesman on his first outing at a show won the reserve male champion title from a hugely impressive line-up. The animal had been bought from a sale in Carlisle to be used as a stock bull on the family farm at Crookdake Mill, Waverton.

His young 13-month-old bull, Crookdake Masterclass, picked up the reserve junior male championship.

David and his family have won many red rosettes at local and national shows. “We are thrilled to have won these two titles at what is for us one of the most renowned events on the show calendar,” he said.

The National Charolais Show attracted competitors from as far afield as Cornwall and County Down, as well as from Yorkshire and the north.

British Charolais Cattle Society chief executive Peter Phythian said: “Searching for a new venue, we are thrilled and honoured that the Yorkshire Agricultural Society provided us with the opportunity to bring our National Charolais Show to the Great Yorkshire.”

He said it was a great opportunity to introduce the breed to a wider audience, explaining how their beef was produced and that it all started with the breed which was one of the UK’s most popular terminal beef sires.

Other Cumbrian winners included a “tremendous” one-crop ewe which earned the Buckle family, of Barras, Kirkby Stephen, its third Beltex Yorkshire Show championship before landing the interbreed title.

The day’s supreme champion was bought from Ted Fox, College Flock, in 2016 for 8,500gns at Carlisle’s in-lamb Beltex sale, where it was crowned champion.

College Adele is by Kingledores Trojan and out of College Rose.

Shown by Tom Buckle, the red ticket winner was described by judge Allan Wight jnr of the Midlock flock, Biggar, as being full of character and a “good handling animal”.

The keenly-contested commercial cattle section at the Great Yorkshire Show featured an impressive display of Limousin cattle.

It was a May 2016 Limousin cross from Mark Harryman and Sarah Warriner, originally from Cumbria who now farm in Pickering, who took the Champion Commercial Beef Steer award home before going onto take the reserve spot in the Supreme Championship.

Reserve champion heifer went to a Limousin cross from renowned commercial breeder, Neil Slack, Penrith, who last weekend took the Champion of Champions spot at Penrith Show with another of his beasts, Rio.

The home-bred heifer, born in January 2016, is by a Rossingnol sire and out of a British Blue heifer. She has many wins already under her belt including reserve champion at Beef Expo earlier this year and baby beef champion at Smithfield in 2016.

These successes at the commercial end of the business are key for the Limousin breed, say the British Limousin Society.

As the agriculture industry speculates on what the Brexit vote means for the United Kingdom’s beef farmers, pedigree and commercial, there is no doubt that changes and challenges are on their way, according to a society spokesman.

He added: “The industry is already moving to one being more driven by efficiency and profitability, and cattle with the genetics to convert food efficiently, reach slaughter weights earliest and deliver carcases that consistently hit supermarket specifications will be in greatest demand.

“The change in market focus is one that fits the Limousin breed extremely well; medium- sized cows delivering fast-growing quality calves with top grades, good yields and high killing-out percentages,” said the society’s spokesman.

“At the trading side of the equation, it is well established that consumers have benefited from the deflationary environment in the retail sector over the past couple of years or so.

“However, it is reasonable to expect that increasing food prices could be around the corner. The effect this has on purchasing behaviour for higher-priced proteins could well be a negative factor playing on the sector going forward.

“In addition, with convenience of increasing importance, primary red meat cuts look vulnerable in the context of modern lifestyles. Consequently, for consumers, eating quality and value for money will become even more critical factors than they already are.”

Friday, July 28, 2017 at 10:40AM
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