Judging the main cattle classes this year is cattle and sheep breeder, Chris Pennie, from Gwern Yr Ychain, Montgomery in Wales. Farming alongside his father Glynn and brother Nigel, Chris runs a herd of approximately 200 suckler cows, which includes pedigree Limousins, a small herd of Charolais and the remainder British Blue cross Limousins, as well as over 1000 breeding ewes. The farm is made up of 650 owned and rented acreage.
The Pennie’s Sarkley herd prefix has featured throughout both the pedigree and livestock show and sale ring with great success over the years. Over the years Sarkley bred Limousins have sold for five figure sums, including a heifer at 30,000gns and most recently through the Carlisle Limousin sale ring this autumn was Sarkley Moray who sold for 28,000gns.
The commercial bred cattle from Sarkley have excelled through the national show rings in recent years for their new owners. Most notable accolades include Championship tickets at the NBA Expo 2017, also at the Welsh Winter Fair in 2014 with a heifer winning the Pedigree & Overall Heifer Championship and taking the Supreme Champion ticket.
Chris is well known on the circuit, his judging highlights include the Balmoral Show, Tullamore Show and the Royal Highland Show, as well as the Carlisle Limousin Society Bull Sale.
Commenting ahead of his first judging role at Borderway Agri-Expo, Chris said: “I am thrilled to have been invited to judge the cattle classes at Borderway Agri-Expo this year. The calibre of entries is always outstanding and I feel I will have to make some difficult decisions on the day. I will be looking for animals with style and show presence, as well as natural width and excellent conformation throughout; the perfect beast ideally!”
Judging the baby beef and showmanship classes this year is Sarah Wareham of Little Tottingworth Farm, near Heathfield in East Sussex. Born and brought up on a family livestock farm, Sarah has a lifetime of experience in farming, and as well as judging she is also a regular face in the show ring exhibiting her own cattle. Sarah has been a very regular exhibitor at Borderway-Agri Expo since its inception.
Little Tottingworth Farm is made up of approximately 400 acres of owned land with an additional 300 acres of rented grassland. As well as farming livestock, the farm carries a multiple of businesses which includes haulage, a slaughterhouse where they kill all their own livestock of cattle, sheep and pigs. In 2016 a new farm shop was developed and is now complete with a café. Their own Little Tottingworth Farm meat products stock the shelves along with other local produce. One of the popular meats through shop is their own Galloway brand.
The 100 head suckler herd on the farm is commercially run and is predominantly made up of Limousin and British Blue crosses which are bred to the Limousin, British Blue and Galloway bulls. Along side the cattle there are about 200 commercial ewes which are mainly Texel cross together with a few pedigree Blue Texel and Charollais sheep.
At the 2015 Borderway Agri Expo the Wareham family went home with an array of coloured rosettes which included a first prize in the native calf class with Double O Seven. Other recent successes in the commercial show ring include Reserve Commerical Champion at the Royal Welsh Show & Royal Norfolk Show 2015. The pedigree Galloway herd clinched a major success for this year when their heifer Lady Silverbell 12th of Gall-Way won the Junior Beef Interbreed title at the Royal Highland show.
“Being offered the opportunity to judge at Agri-Expo really is an honour as it is now one of the best shows in the UK,” says Sarah. In judging the Baby Beef classes, Sarah will be looking for a stylish animal with plenty potential. It also of course has to have real show quality and appeal.”
Additionally, Sarah will also be judging the Young Handler classes which she believes are extremely important in encouraging and educating the next generation. “For many, the Young Handler classes are very much part of the overall family showing. They set the foundations for a future in showing livestock,” adds Sarah.
The main sheep classes will this year be judged by Chris Wright, a wholesale butcher at the family run A Wright & Son in Boston, Lincolnshire. The business, which has been in the family for over 100 years, operates an abattoir and butchery and is passionate about promoting local produce, as well as their speciality brand the ‘Hungry Stockman’.
In addition, Chris manages a flock of 40 pedigree Beltex ewes and is involved in some embryo transfer work. Although Chris has only begun showing his pedigree Beltex this year, he is a regular on the judging circuit having judged sheep and cattle at several Christmas fatstock shows, the English Winter Fair and Lincolnshire Show, as well as many local summer shows.
Commenting ahead of his debut at Borderway Agri-Expo, Chris said: “I am very much looking forward to seeing the quality of sheep in the ring at Agri-Expo, and the diversity of the different breeds. On the whole, I will be looking for a well fleshed animal with nice fat cover and plenty conformation.”
Northumberland livestock farmer Martyn Archer, from Low Carry House, Wark, near Hexham will judge the Mule Gimmer class this year.
Farming in partnership with his father, Robin, they run a flock of 600 Blackface, 35 Bluefaced Leicester and 80 North of England Mule ewes. All Blackface ewes are crossed with a Bluefaced Leicester to produce North of England Mule lambs. In addition, Martyn also manages 45 Limousin x British Blue suckler cows from which he breeds show-type cattle to sell. It is nearly 60 years since the Archer family took the tenancy of Low Carry House, an upland farm owned by the Duke of Northumberland.
Martyn is no stranger to taking centre stage of the judging ring as he has officiated at many national and local shows throughout the country.
Judging at Borderway Agri-Expo for the first time, Martyn, who is the immediate past chairman of the North of England Mule Sheep Association, commented: “I have previously judged North of England Mules at shows in northern England and southern Scotland, however Borderway Agri-Expo is most definitely the highlight.”