TWO top-class judges will deliberate at the National Beef Association’s (NBA’s) Beef Expo 2014 at Hexham in May.
Philip Parrott will travel from Buckinghamshire to judge the native, continental and supreme championships, while Bedfordshire-based Kevin Ludgate will assess the baby beef and young handlers’ classes.
The key beef industry event will focus on improving efficiency for better returns when it returns to Hexham on May 21 and 22 for the first time in four years.
Showing dominates the second day, and exhibitors from around the UK are expected to bring the cream of beef cattle to compete in the 16 classes, which offer cash prizes to fifth place and £100 for the championships in each section.
Robert Addison, NBA Beef Expo 2014 chairman, 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.”
Philip Parrott has judged for many years, including 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 championship winner at the National Primestock show in Stafford.
The family have been butchers since 1912 and established the prize-winning Beechmoor Aberdeen Angus herd at Beechmoor Farm, 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 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, farms at Tebworth near Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, 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 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.”
The closing date for entries is April 14. For details, see beefexpo.co.uk or contact Julie Sedgewick on 01325- 314650 or email juliesedgewick@btinternet.
For details on sponsorship and trade stands, contact Euan Emslie on 01430- 441870 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.