A Somerset farmer has enjoyed a year of awards for his British White cattle.

In July, Brian Palmer's Porlock herd took both the female and breed championships, the reserve female championship and winning the rare and minority interbreed pairs competition with two homebred animals at the Shropshire County Show.

The following month Mr Palmer saw the same two females winning breed champion and reserve at the Mid-Somerset Show.

Then in September came the highly anticipated British White Cattle Society show and sale at Melton Mowbray.

Despite it being Mr Palmer’s first time exhibiting his own cattle at the autumn event, the standard of his homebred stock shone through once again by topping the sale with a pen of three maiden heifers knocked down at 2520gns (£2646) per head.

Followers of pedigree livestock breeding can appreciate the patience and dedication necessary to build a top-quality herd of cattle, and the keen eye needed to select the right stock in order to take a breeding program forward.

Alongside his pedigree herd, Brian Palmer farms 100 head of commercial cattle and 300 breeding ewes on 350 acres – 180 of which is in an SDA (Severely Disadvantaged Area) – alongside his wife Marilyn near Minehead.

They established the Porlock herd of British White cattle with the purchase of three heifers from a society sale at Melton Mowbray Market in 2015 and continued to source females of excellent breed type to add to the herd, registering their first seven heifer calves under the Porlock prefix in 2017.

Brian said: “I had liked the look of the British White cattle for a while, and as l enjoy showing and they were a rare breed, l thought it would be good to have a few to mix with my Welsh blacks and North Devons.

"After finding a few females to start with I then bought a good, long British White bull which I used on all three breeds, and he produced good stock to fatten on grass.”

Finally, at this year's society AGM Mr Palmer won the cups for best stock bull and best medium-sized herd in the annual National Herd Competition, judged this time by BWCS President and longest-standing member, Mr Mick Wright of the renowned Castleton herd, Powys.

Mr Wright went on to comment on the stand-out quality and consistency of the progeny from the herd’s stock sire, and amongst some incredibly stiff competition including a number of previous winners of the top spot, this secured a final win of the highest accolade in the breed, the Randolph Turpin trophy for best herd overall.

Sarah Cook, breed secretary for the British White Cattle Society, said: “These achievements are a true testament to Mr Palmer’s hard work in selecting the best stock available for his breeding program, as well as his commercial stockmanship and attention to detail when producing animals for the show and sale rings.

"His example and that of other dedicated breeders like him are undoubtedly helping to further the progress of this native breed, and beyond the individual achievements of these farmers, it is the genuine fervour with which they promote their cattle and share their knowledge to help fellow breeders that is allowing lesser-known breeds such as the British White to prosper and develop.”