Where pedigree and commercial livestock is concerned the Alford family is steeped in tradition and success, right from the days when Michael left school and started showing Aberdeen-Angus cattle with his Granddad.
Early success stories have included taking the junior and overall championship at Perth in 1985 with Explosive of Staplegrove before he went on to sell for 7000gns and winning the best group of three by one sire which were by Ellanin Transformer.
But showing at Smithfield is where the family’s roots firmly lie. In 1991 Michael and Melanie purchased a Charolais x Angus heifer from David Sinclair at Smithfield which in turn produced a Limousin cross calf by Shatton Pedro named Bruno which won the Kings Cup for the best beast bred by exhibitor in 1994. In the same year the couple won the junior crossbred champion steer who then went on to win Limousin 2000.
1998 saw the couple take four crossbreds to Smithfield, an event which resulted in the senior steer championship and the reserve heifer championship with Take That a daughter of the early Charolais cross purchase. At just nine months old that calf won the Royal Welsh and the heifer and overall championship at Birmingham.
2002 saw more success this time in the form of Red Hawk who took the junior championship at Smithfield. The following year he was champion steer and reserve overall at Birmingham as well as the heavyweight championship at the Scottish Winter Fair. His full brother, Die Another Day then took the steer and reserve overall championship at the Scottish Winter Fair in the same year.
But it was 2009 that proved to be one of the most successful yet for the family with Hanky Panky, Lady Gaga, Just Dance and Paparazzi shown at the Scottish Winter Fair, all of which won their respective classes and took the championship heifer and reserve overall championship and reserve champion steer. At the same show the pedigree Galloway steer Superman also took the native championship and pedigree championship.
That year also saw Charlotte’s calf Poker Face take the calf championship at Agri Expo, the reserve calf championship at the Scottish Winter Fair, the calf championship at the English National, the reserve calf championship at the Royal Smithfield and to finish the season on a high, the calf championship at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.
2010 saw the family back out in strong form again, this time with Alijandro winning the championship at Agri Expo and the Scottish Winter Fair and Poker Face winning the championship at the Welsh Winter Fair as a heavyweight heifer. The same event saw Big Bird take the reserve Limousin heifer championship. The Galloways were also on winning form with Super Mario winning the native championship at the Scottish Winter Fair and the overall purebred championship as well as the Queen Mother’s Cup at Smithfield for the best native beast.
2011 was yet another successful one with the homebred Galloway heifer Super Star taking the reserve native title at the Scottish Winter Fair and Smithfield and the native championship at Agri Expo. A trip to Countryside Live saw Real Thing take the reserve heifer championship and I’m Your Man take the reserve steer championship at Countryside Live and Agri Expo, the champion steer and reserve overall at Smithfield and champion steer and reserve overall at the Scottish Winter Fair.
2012 saw a return to showing on the summer circuit for the Alfords due to Charlotte taking some time out from summer eventing with the horses and what a summer it turned out to be.
Smarty Pants took the commercial championship at Devon County, Bath and West, Royal Cornwall and the Royal Highland Show, while No Likey No Lighty took the commercial and interbreed championship at Frome, the steer championship at Bath and West, Devon County, Royal Cornwall, Royal Welsh and the championship at the Three Counties with Bishops Goldilocks, the pedigree Limousin heifer, taking the championship at East of England
The winter circuit of 2012 saw more success for our commercial team as No Likey No Lighty dominated the steer classes at most events and took home many steer championships and reserve overall titles, including the steer championship at the East of England Smithfield Festival and the championship on home soil at the South West Winter Fair. The year also ended with Michael judging the Royal Highland Winter Fair, a day he will always remember and be honoured to have been a part of.
Showing will always be an integral part of Foxhill Farm’s show window and now with more sheep and pedigree cattle in the team, Michael, Melanie, Charlotte and stockman Rob Coney, are looking forward to exhibiting at all the major summer and winter shows as well as more pedigree sales across the UK.
As well as showing from a young age, Michael Alford has also been in the meat trade since he was old enough to know what to do in the butchery business
Michael and Melanie own and run Stillmans Somerset Ltd, an abattoir based in Taunton which started small, but with an injection of capital in 1993, grew from killing nine cattle, 30 pigs and 20 sheep a week to the vast business it is today supplying all species to the public meat sector.
By 1996 the abattoir had killing contracts with the ministry which are still in force today. In 2008/2009 some 200 cattle and 300 pigs and lambs were being put through the abattoir every week.
The business has grown further with the launch of Staplegrove Livestock ltd.
Foxhill Farm was purchased in 2004 which included 40 acres and a further farm, Wayside, 85 acres, was purchased in 2009. The 100 acres that is situated at the abattoir also houses a fattening unit for 250 head of commercial cattle with 20 being drawn a week and 30/40 replacements a week purchased for the abattoir.
The business now supplies up to 60 butchers and wholesalers throughout the south west of England and employs 40 head of staff across all the businesses.