25 November 2000
Cattle judge has 40 years experience

by FWi staff

CATTLE judge Robert Needham will bring with him nearly 40 years of experience when he steps into the ring at the Royal Smithfield Show.

Mr Needham first visited the show in the 1960s with his local Young Farmers Club. This week he hopes to see cattle he would like to have produced himself.

He said: “The word quality says it all, and thats what I will be looking for.”

Animals must be economical and sensible for farmers and breeders as well as providing a first-class product for butchers and consumers, added Mr Needham.

That is the aim at the 283ha (700-acre) farm he runs in partnership with his son John at Gayton-le-Wold, near Louth in the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Besides growing wheat, malting barley, oilseed rape and vining peas, the Needhams run a closed herd of 120 suckler cows.

It includes 25 pedigree Lincoln Reds and 30 pedigree polled Charolais.

Commercial cows are Lincoln Red crossed with Charolais. They are then put back to a Charolais bull with the aim of producing top quality beef animals.

Other than pedigree bulls kept for breeding, progeny is sold finished through Lincolnshire Quality Beef and Lamb, of which Mr Needham is a director.

Cattle are sold through local markets, going to local butchers. “We aim to produce and finish quality cattle to suit the modern trade,” said Mr Needham.