The 2016 Smithfield Festival has been hailed a success, following a busy two days of top class judging, competitions and seminars, which culminated with the sale of livestock.
Held on the 15 and 16 November at the East of England Showground in Peterborough, the 2016 festival attracted exhibitors from far and wide, showcasing some of the best commercial and pedigree cattle and sheep in the country.
Claiming the supreme beef championship was Jennifer Hyslop from Girvan, Ayrshire with Sassy Lassy, a 592kg Limousin sired heifer. Her win at East of England Smithfield Festival follows recent success at Countryside Live, and she went on to sell at the Festival auction to Ayrshire based butcher ‘We hae meat’, for a top price of £10,000.
“We are delighted to support a fellow Ayrshire farmer and the East of England Smithfield Festival,” said Alex Paton, owner of ‘We hae meat’, following the purchase.
Leading the way in the sheep was Andrew Bishop from Gloucestershire. He took the supreme commercial lamb championship with a pair of Beltex lambs, along with the champion lamb carcass.
Commenting on a brilliant two days at the Festival, Hugh Brown CEO of Melton Mowbray Market, who were the official auctioneer and sponsor, said they were delighted to be involved.
“There were some lovely animals on show. We were very pleased with the auction results across the carcasses, sheep and cattle, especially Sassy Lassy, and would like to thank all bidders and sellers for their support.”
Along with the top-quality stock, Festival show director William Haire adds that a particular highlight was the College Challenge and Young Stockperson of the Year Final.
“It was fantastic to welcome so many talented young people to the event. The skill, knowledge and enthusiasm they demonstrated was a delight to witness and I’m confident the future of our industry is in good hands.”
The younger generation was present in force over both days. Day one saw 120 students from agri colleges across the UK compete for the prestigious College Challenge title. Following a very close competition, the trophy went North to Askham Bryan College in York, with Easton and Otley College in second place.
The Young Stockperson of the Year final was a highlight on day two. Having qualified at regional shows throughout the year, over 25 competitors from the length and breadth of the country demonstrated incredibly high levels of showmanship. The competition went down to the wire, with judge Martin Irvine commenting that every one of them was worthy and capable of being in the showring.
After combining the points for stock handling and knowledge, triumphant in the junior category was Liam Goddard, a student at Riseholme College who qualified at Notts County Show. In the senior category, there was a nail biting finish, with Hannah White and Hannah Baldwin finishing level on points. To decide the winner, they swapped animals and went head-to-head in a tie breaker, with Hannah Baldwin eventually claiming victory.
William Haire said the 2016 event has continued to grow and evolve. “I would like to thank all of the exhibitors, sponsors and competitors for getting behind this year’s Festival. The event has continued to move forward in a positive direction that promotes a sustainable future, not only for the event but for the wider industry.”