Two top class judges have been secured by the National Beef Association (NBA) for Beef Expo 2014’s National Spring Spectacular Show, which returns to Hexham in May.
Philip Parrott is travelling from Buckinghamshire to Northumberland to judge the Native, Continental and Supreme Championships and Bedfordshire-based Kevin Ludgate will assess the Baby Beef and Young Handlers classes.
The key beef industry event, which this year focuses on improving efficiency for better returns, is back in the North East on May 21 and 22 for the first time in four years. Showing dominates the second day of the Expo and exhibitors from around the UK are expected to bring the cream of beef cattle to compete in the 16 classes, which feature cash prizes to fifth place and £100 rewards for the championships in each section.
NBA Beef Expo 2014 chair, Robert Addison, said: “We’re thrilled to have secured the services of such prestigious judges for this year’s event at Hexham Mart.
“It shows the high standing of Beef Expo in the industry’s calendar and we’re looking forward to seeing some fantastic animals on show. We’re expecting more than 6,000 beef farmers to travel to Northumberland from around Britain for the event, which also features farm tours, competitions, seminars, demonstrations and a trade stand area showing off the latest technical developments in the industry.”
Native, Continental and Supreme championships judge Philip Parrott has judged for many years and at shows such as the Great Yorkshire, The Royal. The Summer County Shows and Christmas Fat Stock Shows. He is also a seasoned exhibitor, regularly showing Continentals at the Royal Smithfield until 2000 and is a former winner of the championship at the National Primestock show in Stafford.
The family have been butchers since 1912 and established the prize-winning Beechmoor Aberdeen Angus herd at their Beechmoor Farm at Whitchurch in 2004. Philip has 300 acres in the Vale of Aylesbury, where he farms beef cattle and sheep to sell through the farm shop with his brother and nephew.
The fourth-generation family farm, where the butcher’s business remains a key part of the enterprise with a successful farm shop, won the award for the best beef finishing herd in the Chiltern Hills Agricultural competition in 2003, best farm in 2004, 2005 and 2007 and best beef herd in 2006.
Philip said: “It is a very great honour to be considered worthy to judge Beef Expo. I know that there will be exceptional quality animals there and am looking forward to taking on the task.
“What I shall be looking for predominately in the winning animals will be good conformations and eating ability. Without the correct confirmation the meat will not be in the correct place. I also like to see that the animal has a bit of style.
“As both a butcher and a farmer, you know the business from both ends of the animal.”
Kevin Ludgate, who has a strong track record in both a judging and showing capacity, will be assessing the Baby Beef classes and championships and the Young Handlers classes. Kevin farms at Tebworth near Leighton Buzzard, Beds, with his partner Dawn and their three children.
The farm is home to the Bidwell Blues Pedigree Belgium Blue Herd, which is run alongside a commercial cattle enterprise. Commercial cattle showing is Kevin’s hobby and the family celebrated their best ever year as exhibitors in 2008, winning a staggering 14 championships including Supreme Champion at both the Royal Show and the Great Yorkshire Show with Wilemina, a British Blue Cross Heifer. Big Bum, another British Blue Cross Heifer, also took the Reserve Championship at the Royal, and her calf Blossom was overall Reserve Champion at Beef Expo in 2010, in addition to clinching a number of championships at other shows.
Kevin knows the showing world from both sides, having also judged at Countryside Live plus local and regional events.
He said: “It’s very nice to be asked to judge at Beef Expo. I am looking forward to judging at what is both a key event in the showing calendar and for the British beef industry.
“I’ll be looking for animals that hold their own in the ring, have good conformations their own presence, good agility and future potential.”