Primestock enthusiasts from across the United Kingdom will be battling it out for the top titles at this year’s East of England Smithfield Festival at Peterborough on 30 November and 1 December.
Cattle and sheep exhibitors from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, have entered stock for this year’s show, with more than 250 commercial cattle entered alongside more than 180 sheep and lamb carcasses.
Attracting a massive entry this year are the pedigree calf shows which have this year attracted more than 180 calves across seven breeds, with Aberdeen-Angus, Beef Shorthorn, Simmental, Red Poll, Lincoln Red, Charolais and South Devon calves all heading to the event.
In a change to the show format these calves will now take centre stage in the main ring on the Saturday of the show as they compete for the Duke of Norfolk group of three trophy.
Limousin crosses top the crossbred beef entries, with 70 prime cattle by Limousin sires entered this year.
Sheep numbers are also strong, with Beltex and Southdown cross lambs leading the way with 11 pairs of each entered in the trimmed and untrimmed classes. Carcass entries are dominated by the Continental breeds, with 14 Continental cross carcasses entered compared to eight native sired carcasses.
A further seven individual lambs have been entered in the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute class from which sale proceeds are donated to the charity.
Judging the cattle entries will be Matlock, Derbyshire-based Jonathan Maycock adjudicating in the prime cattle and baby-beef classes, while Scarborough, Yorkshire-based Anthony Glaves sorting through the sheep entries.
Event manager Kerry Buttriss said the level of entries was fantastic and boded well for another great finale to the winter primestock season. “We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone to Peterborough for what looks set to be a truly national event unrivalled for the quality of the stock on show and for the UK wide representation.
The finale of the event will be the auction of the primestock and lamb carcasses. This will give butchers the chance to buy some of the very best sheep and cattle the UK has to stock up with before Christmas.
Auctioneer Paul Gentry of Newark Livestock Market said he’d already received plenty of interest from prospective buyers and was looking forward to once again having the privilege of selling the Smithfield champions. “Make no mistake these are the cream of the UK’s livestock and I’m certain the trade will be buzzing on the Saturday afternoon as an array of buyers fight to get their hands on the prize winners.”