The 2013 English Winter Fair is to be the first national winter livestock showcase to introduce competitive classes for mature beef cows, it has been announced.

The new classes celebrate both mature cows’ contribution as foundation stock of many herds and the strong values achieved currently in cull cow auctions with prices peaking at circa £1400-1600/head for top end well-fleshed continental types.

This inaugural competition sponsored by Derbyshire-based cull cow processor Pickstock Ashby Ltd – which handles 1500 Over Thirty Month Old (OTM) and Under Thirty Month Old (UTM) cattle weekly drawn from 50 livestock marts and direct off farm – sees classes for cows over five years old split between pure and cross-bred continental or native breeds. With a total prize pool of up to £500 the new classes will be judged by Cullompton, Devon-based experienced commercial cattle exhibitor Mike Alford.

Speaking on the announcement of the new mature beef classes Pickstock Ashby director Greg Pickstock explains: “There is good demand for OTM and UTM cattle particularly those finished to a good standard. The market is mainly export driven and led by the value of the euro.”

Mature beef cows entered for the inaugural classes must be five years or older at the close of entries, be halter trained and will be stalled for inspection, explains Kate Tomlinson, EWF secretary. “Cows weighing over 1000kg at weigh-in will be offered for sale after the competition in £/head in the lump; those below 1000kg will be sold on a p/kg basis by auctioneers Bagshaws.

“No suckling calves will be allowed with cows entered for these classes under any circumstances,” she emphasises.

EWF chairman Ray Nield said the new competition reflects exhibitors’ wishes. “The high value of mature beef or cull cows makes a huge contribution towards buying in replacements for many herds. Producers are eager to ensure cows are finished to a high standard to achieve that. This, our new competition, reflects that move and we are delighted to have Pickstock Ashby as sponsor and the experienced eye of Mike Alford to adjudicate.”

Details of all competitive classes from livestock to cereals, food products to festive poultry can be found on the updated web page at by clicking on the English Winter Fair tab. Entries close on October 16th.