Family are cream of the crop at show
A BROTHER and sister turned the Suffolk Show into a real family affair for a top dairy farming family. The first to make the running in the any other dairy breed sector was 16-year-old Tom Crawford from Topcroft.
A BROTHER and sister turned the Suffolk Show into a real family affair for a top dairy farming family.
The first to make the running in the any other dairy breed sector was 16-year-old Tom Crawford from Topcroft.
His two-year-old Ayshire heifer won the first of the family's haul of rosettes but was quickly followed by his older sister, Virginia, who was competing in the adjoining ring.
And for father, Tom, who runs the pedigree herds and had prepared the cattle for the show, watched his daughter's string of successes while his wife, Sue, was keeping an eager eye on her son's achievements.
When it came to the judging of the championship, she actually missed the moment when the judge tapped out Robert's charge, Moorside Marie 7, for supreme breed honours.
She was actually watching the Holstein judging and daughter Virginia, who is 18, and kept the winning streak for the family as she took the Holstein heifer championship with home-bred Topcroft Miles Posh.
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But the week started on a dismal note when Mr Crawford lost one of his top cows. “I had to shoot her because she went down with a serious infection. Her twin sister won at Aylsham Show last year and she was looking right on song but she got e-coli mastitis and she never recovered. That's life, I'm afraid. With cows, there's livestock and there's deadstock.”
At least the string of success was some compensation and especially for Mr Crawford's herdsman, Rob Moore.
Mr Crawford was pleased too that a Holstein, which had produced five calves, and produced more than 50 tonnes of milk, also shone in a strong class of dry cows.
There were other successes too in the Holstein section for the Bolderston family, of Heckingham. Richard Bolderston, was showing some of his family's 98-cow herd. He took the dry cow class with Marshview Rampage Conceit and also the senior heifer class, with Marshview Sand Ranger Scoter, which are run with other commercial cattle on JE Utting's farm near Bungay.
But it was a return to winning ways for pedigree breeder Simon Dain, who took the supreme Holstein championship with a home-bred four-year-old cow Foxhole Duplex Pamela.
Mr Dain, who will be 40 this year, started as a young handler at the Royal Norfolk Show almost a quarter of a century ago, thanks to the encouragement of well-known dairy farmers, Myles Stimpson and John Cawston, of Woodton, who also competing alongside.
Now, an arable farmer at Pentlow, near Sudbury, has been able to retain an interest in dairy cows thanks to Waveney Valley farmer David Burroughs, of Aldeby, near Beccles.
They have a total of about 25 Holsteins alongside the British Friesians in the Burroughs herd, which supplies the Marybelle milk enterprise at nearly Halesworth.
“We're lucky enough to have the best of best worlds because I can keep the cows and I don't have to get up and milk them every morning.
“If I could afford to get back into dairying I would. We've got four children, Thomas and three girls who are all mad keen on animals.”