Two farming part-timers are celebrating after winning Suffolk Show's highest beef cattle honours on the second day of the event.

Marcus Searle of Kenninghall in Norfolk took the supreme beef interbreed title with his Simmental cow and calf while Grant Long of Stoke-by-Nayland took the reserve title with his Aberdeen Angus cow and calf.

Both have only small-scale operations which they fit around their day jobs. Marcus is a farm manager while Grant works for a second-hand machinery dealer in Boxford. Marcus has a herd of 24 cows while Grant has just seven animals.

Marcus said he was feeling "tremendous" after his first ever championship win. "I could not be happier," he said. "It's our first ever overall (win)."

He bought the winning cow from Jimmy McMillan of Scotland - from whom he also bought the original herd animals.

"These are what I do night and morning before my job. They will never be my bread-and-butter because it's not that secure, but they are going really well at the moment," he said.

Grant - who has two cows, four heifers and a bull - described the herd as "a bit on the side".

His dad, Simon Long, was a farm manager, and they began the herd about 10 years ago, he said. "We have just got these at home on 15 acres that we rent," he said. He was "extremely happy" at the win, he added.

East Anglian Daily Times: He scooped overall champion at the Hadleigh Show and native champion and reserve native champion at the Essex Young Farmers Show this year, he said.

Judge Charles Maclean - who was presiding for the first time at the show - said the winning Simmental was a "really nice powerful strong female" with a really good calf at foot.

The reserve was an animal he would be happy to have in his own herd, he said.

"I was incredibly impressed with the quality of cattle in front of me," he added. "It made my job very difficult."

Cattle ring head steward James Strachan said the event had gone very smoothly. They were all worried about the weather, but controlled all the elements they could, he said.

At 270 there was a good number of entrants, he said, although it is still below the pre-pandemic highs which could number 300 to 350-plus.

Red Poll and Aberdeen Angus numbers were down this year, but Sussexes had risen enough to merit their own class for the first time, he said. Shorthorns might also get their own class next year due to rising numbers.

"The people coming are extremely passionate and the quality certainly hasn't dropped. We are certainly happy to have a shed full of animals that are the pride of Suffolk," he said.

"The cattle are an amazing draw for the public."

He added: "I don't think there has been as much interest in farming itself as we have seen in these last few years."

James, who is supported by a 23-strong team of stewards - said their aim was to make the show as welcoming as possible to competitors.