Paul Sargeant, a farmer and butcher from Gayton, Staffordshire, judged the carcass and joint competitions at this year’s English Winter Fair.

The English Winter Fair took place from November 18-19 and Sargeant said he had a tough job choosing the carcass top spots.

“There was really very little to pick between some of them, as it was such a good entry,” he said.

Richard Lawrence from Warwickshire scooped the champion beef carcass with a 373.8kg Limousin grading E4L, which went on to sell for £7.90/kg (£2,953).

Speaking on his judging process for the champion beef carcass, Sargeant said: “I was judging from a traditional butchers’ perspective, so was looking for length, conformation and even fat covering.

“I want a good all-round carcass, with weight on the most valuable cuts – the hindquarters, loin and rib.”

Lamb and pork

The winning lamb carcass. Source: English Winter Fair

For the lamb carcass competition, Sargeant chose a Beltex from DS & LE Wadland, which was graded at E3L and killed out from 50kg liveweight to 28.4kg deadweight.

It went on to sell for £12.70/kg (£361).

“It ticked every box – it’s so full of meat, with shape in the legs and lovely well-fleshed eye muscle,” Sargeant said.

In the pork classes, an 84kg Pietrain cross from M Horsley & Son took first prize, with plenty of flesh in the leg, good shape down the loin and a nice amount of fat throughout.

“I’m looking for volume of meat in the leg, as that’s the expensive part of the animal,” Sargeant said.

It sold for £6.80/kg (£571).

More prizes

The Royal Smithfield Club competitions saw a rib of beef from a Limousin cross heifer exhibited by Perry’s of Eccleshall and bred by Steve Cartmail take the champion prize and sell for £390.

Secretary of the Royal Smithfield Club, Richard Saunders, said: “Paul was drawn to the thickness of the eye muscle and nice fat cover.”

Claiming the champion saddle of lamb and selling for £260 was a Texel from Greenfields farm and butchery.

“Paul was really impressed by the thickness of the eye meat and length of the saddle,” Saunders said.

Ben Greenfield, who had a butcher’s stand at the fair, said he was delighted to win: “We’ve entered for a number of years, but have never won before.

“It proves that what we produce is commercially viable and helps on the promotional side with the shop.”

In the poultry hall, a 17.6kg white stag turkey won the supreme championship for Robert Cartmail and sold for £145.

Poultry steward and chair of the fair, Sandra Hopley, said: “It had good conformation with a broad breast and nice fat covering.

“It was very well presented, meaning it was clean-plucked with a creamy texture under the skin.”