Norfolk sugar beet growers battle for prize honours

Stalham Farmers’ Club prize-giving. Pictured: The Dean of Norwich Jane Hedges (left) with William Lo

Stalham Farmers’ Club prize-giving. Pictured: The Dean of Norwich Jane Hedges (left) with William Love accepting the Cantley Cup on behalf of Mrs Mary Hannant with competition judge Sarah Bebb (right), of British Sugar. Picture: Lee Blanchflower - Credit: Lee Blanchflower

Five sugar beet growers vied for top honours in one of Stalham Farmers' Club's leading competitions at the annual prize-giving and dinner.

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, presented the trophies including the cup for best two acres of sugar beet to Geoff Beck, of Brumstead, near Stalham.

For the first time in the club's history, the results were so close that William Sands, of HBS Farms, and Edward de Feyter, were declared joint runners-up and John Tallowin, of G A Tallowin & Co, and Thomas Love, of Walcott Farms, were joint third.

Sarah Bebb, of British Sugar, who judged the Cantley Cup for best overall performance during the latest campaign, joined the guest speaker to present the trophy – first awarded in 1928. It was won by Mrs Mary Hannant and accepted by William Love.

The club's chairman, Henry Alston, welcomed more than 120 members and guests to the annual dinner of the club, which was founded in 1841. Jimmy Fowell, chairman of Holt and District Farmers's Club, and Ken Matthews, of Stoke Ferry Agricultural Society, were among the guests on the top table.

In proposing the toast to agriculture and the Stalham Farmers' Club, the Dean stressed the links between the cathedral and the county's key farming industry.

As president of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association in 2017, she had spent 'two of the most enjoyable days of her life' at the annual show. And she was pleased that the cathedral had forged ever-closer links with farmers and grower since she had come to Norfolk in 2014.

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Potatoes: 1, LF Papworth (Daisy); 2, Walcott Farms (Innovator); 3, HBS Farms (Fontane).

Sugar beet: Whole crop: 1, R Cooke & Sons; 2, Hirst Farms; 3, GA Tallowin & Co. Best two-acre: 1, CN Beck & Sons; 2, HBS Farms and Edward de Feyter / C Callow; 3, G A Tallowin & Co and Walcott Farms. Cantley Cup: 1, Mrs Mary Hannant; 2, CN Beck & Sons; 3, HBS Farms.

Barley (21 samples): 1, Mautby Farms (Flagon); 2, HBS Farms (Concerto); 3, R Cooke & Sons (Concerto).

Wheat (11 samples): 1, Milligen McLeod (Skyfall); 2, Mautby Farms (Grafton); 3, Milligen McLeod (Siskin).