Royal Welsh Winter Fair

BARRY ALSTON reports from another record-breaking two-day Royal Welsh Winter Fair which, despite atrocious weather, saw the attendance climb to 26,996 – 1,329 higher than the 2004 previous best.

FOR the first time in many years the Royal Welsh Winter Fair supreme cattle championship trophy stayed in Wales – courtesy of a purebred Limousin steer from the Denbighshire-based Howatson family.

The combination of the home-bred, April 2005-born Brenig Aur from the father and son team of Meirion and Glyn was, according to the judge, Cardigan butcher Dilwyn James “simply outstanding”.

Bred on the family’s 1,000-acre beef and sheep holding at Ty Newydd, Nantglyn, Denbigh and weighing in at 656kg, the champion later sold in the auction ring for £4,500 to Gerald David and Sons, farmers and butchers from Minehead, Somerset.

Remarkably at Saturday’s Anglesey Winter Fair, Brenig Aur could only manage fifth placing. Sired by Hudscales Saul and out of a Bowsland dam, it is a product of the family’s 40-strong pedigree Brenig herd, run alongside 60 commercial suckler cows and 1,300 ewes.

As far as ringsiders were concerned it was a popular decision – but not one made quickly by Mr James.

He rather fancied the show’s top placed heifer, too – a June 2005-born British Blonde-Belgian Blue cross called J-Lo – from Colin Brooke, who farms at Alfrick, near Worcester.

Two years ago his father, Gilbert, took the show’s supreme rosette with a Limousin cross heifer. This year’s championship contender – weighing 598kg and bred by W. Gill and Sons – was bought privately in Cumbria, being picked out from a choice of 270 cattle on offer. In this week’s auction ring, the heifer sold for £3,000.

Runner-up for the supreme steer championship was home-bred Limousin cross Limousin entry Red Lad from the father and son Welsh border team of Bernard and Philip Price, of Forest Road, Hay-on-Wye. Born in April 2005, it had a weight of 640kg.

The reserve placed heifer champion – a 576kg July 2005-born Belgian Blue cross called Sally – came from John Evans and his sons, Philip, Andrew and Mark, from Ffostyll, Talgarth, Powys.

Winning the overall baby beef championship was Black Beauty, a pure Limousin heifer from Huw Morgan, of Nantgwynne, Llanddeusant, Carmarthenshire, being shown by daughter Wendy, and her daughter, 11-year-old Caryl.

In reserve was a Belgian Blue-Limousin cross steer from Brian and Fiona Jones, of Pentregwyn, Llan-Nant-Bran, Brecon.

The pairs championship went to two Belgian Blue cross Limousin heifers from Colin and Wendy Phillips, of Sarnesfield, Weobley, Herefordshire, who won last year’s supreme title at the fair. Standing reserve were a heifer and a steer – both Limousin-Belgian Blue crosses – from Dai Thomas, Llanwnen, Lampeter, Ceredigion.

The award for most points in the cattle section went to Emily Jones, from Coedmore Hall, Lampeter, who hit the limelight again in the auction ring by making the fair’s highest bid of £6,000 for the last animal to be sold – Pussy Cat Doll, a Limousin cross Limousin-Belgian Blue baby beef heifer from I. Tudur Edwards, of Betws Gwerfyl Goch, Corwen.

The champion baby beef entry from Wendy Morgan also hit the high notes, selling at £5,000 to Mike Rowlands, of Llanidloes, Powys.

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