The Winter Stock Festival, organised by the East of England Agricultural Society, is set to return this month (29-30th November), for the 12th year.
Two days of hot competition will banish any seasonal chills as the best of cattle, sheep and pigs from across the country battle it out at the East of England Showground in Peterborough. Friday afternoon also features an auction run by event sponsors Melton Mowbray Market – the perfect opportunity to purchase new stock in anticipation of the Christmas market.
Beef cattle are the heavyweights of the show, with classes for purebred and crossbred animals – Baby Beef, Pedigree Heifers, Pedigree Calf shows, Pedigree Calf Interbreed, Group of Three, and Supreme Championships – offering up something for everyone over the two days.
Cattle section judges are Jason Wareham, who will be overseeing the commercial cattle classes, Sophie Harvey, (Aberdeen Angus and Hereford classes), Simon Key (Charolais and Simmental), Caroline Ivinson (Beef Shorthorn), Richard Burton (Lincoln Reds and Any Other Native), and Paul Walker (Limousin and Any Other Continental). David Thornley, from Hartshorne, Swadlincote, has the tough job of judging the overall pedigree calf interbreed and group of three.
The sheep section has seen a huge boost in entries in recent years and will showcase commercial lambs and breeding ewes of pure, cross, native and continental varieties.
Livestock farmer Andrew Atkinson of Harrogate will judge the commercial lamb classes, and pedigree Charolais breeder Charles Marwood of York will decide the breeding ewe classes. The North of England Mule Sheep Association (NEMSA) single and pairs classes will be judged by experienced sheep breeder, Graham Taylor from Appleby. Sheep will be sold by Melton Mowbray Markets at the Friday afternoon auction.
The commercial pig classes are a go-to point for breeders, exhibitors and buyers. Friday features a range of butchers’ classes, including modern, traditional and cross-breed sections for both singles and pairs. Championships and Supreme Championships follow the individual class. Richard Taylor, managing director of award-winning catering and retail butchers Owen Taylor & Sons Ltd, will judge the classes.
Pig young handler classes will take place on Friday and judging covers animal handling, presentation and knowledge skills. Classes are for handlers under the age of 15 and aged less than 15 years and handlers aged 15-21 years on the day of the show.
Pigs will also be sold by Melton Mowbray Market at the Friday afternoon auction.
Farmers of the future
The next generation of farmers will have the opportunity to rub shoulders with professional exhibitors, thanks to the Festival’s Young Stockperson of the Year (YSPOTY) and College Challenge classes. Qualifiers for the YSPOTY class are running at various shows throughout the summer and autumn including Royal Cornwall Show, Royal Norfolk Show, Lincolnshire Show and many more.
Also in attendance at the show will be a variety of trade stands selling agricultural-related products and services.
The closing date for livestock entries is Friday 25th October. To view and download the schedule please visit www.winterstockfestival.co.uk
Organisers are also looking for stewards for this year’s show. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Kerry Buttriss on [email protected]