[T]he 10th Borderway Agri Expo, held on Friday 28th October, was a true festival of livestock farming. With records broken in more ways than one, this Harrison and Hetherington-organised event was a show of the very best sheep and cattle in the UK. This year it attracted over 13,000 visitors and over 950 head of livestock.
From the outset the 2016 event was also set to be a celebration of every side of agriculture, as befits a milestone event, which has, over the years, gone from strength to strength.
Representatives of all the major British Livestock Sheep and Cattle Breeds were in attendance, with their leading industry spokesmen and women, and livestock representing the best of their breeds.
In the Exhibition Hall and Show Rings, the competition to become one of Borderway Agri-Expo’s annual Champions was hotly contested amongst a record entry from over 800 exhibitors and over 900 head of livestock. As David Pritchard, Harrison & Hetherington’s Director of Operations, said: “ We are delighted that from its inception ten years ago, this event just continues to grow. Our livestock entries are not only drawn from the best in the British Isles, they are amongst the best in the world.”
At the top of the winners list, it was a day for the ladies as both Supreme and Reserve champions were heifers.
The Overall Borderway Agri-Expo 2016 Champion was J-Lo, a Limousin X heifer from Gareth Corrie, Johnny Neal and Charles Bever, who together make up JCB Commercials based at Newtownards, Co Down, N.Ireland. Reserve Champion was 17 month old heifer Honey- Dime, a Charolais X Limousin, owned by Wilson Peters of Cuilt Farm House, Monzie, Perthshire bred by Carwood of Elgin.
J-Lo, out of a pedigree Limousin sire and a Limousin X British Blue dam, was a December 2014-born heifer, bought by the group. She was commercial champion at the Highland Show, and runner up Interbreed Commercial Champion at the Balmoral Show. Speaking afterwards, joint owner Gareth Corrie said: “This is almost unbelievable, and we are all over the moon to be heading back to Ireland tonight with such an accolade.”
On being asked about his final choice, Judge, Jimmy Mulholland, said: “This was a very, very close competition and very difficult to choose, or differentiate. Basically, J-Lo never put a foot wrong all day that is why she is the much deserved Champion of the 2016 Borderway Agri- Expo. The Charolais is also a fantastic show animal, again very stylish and correct. The standard of livestock today has been second to none, all classes have been absolutely tremendous and the heifers have been quite exceptional, throughout. Judging has been a very, very hard job.”
The young handlers in the cattle classes again drew great interest with the girls winning both the steer and heifer sections. 20 year old Georgina Laws from Leyburn lifted the steer handlers title and 17 year old Amy Wilson from Penrith secured the heifer handlers award.
In the National Calf Shows:
Beef Shorthorn Champion was John Elliot of Roxburgh Mains, Kelso with the heifer Elliot Echo 338. The reserve ticket was won by Thomson, Roddick & Laurie, Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire with the young bull Shawhill Kenco.
Aberdeen Angus Champion was Donald Rankin’s Weeton Princess Chartreuse, of Kilmaluag House of Duntulm, Isle of Skye. Morpheus Rosebud, from Owen Tunney, Cuddington, Northwich, Cheshire, was reserve champion.
Hereford Overall Champion was Fardre 1 Ms Gwen, a heifer from J H Morgan, from Abergelly, with Reserve position going to Romany 1 Lucy-12, a heifer from JRB Wilson and Sons, of Cowbog Farm Kelso.
British Blue Overall Champion was Dylan Townend’s heifer Clifftown Lucky Star, from Quarry Farm Broughton, Nr Malton, N Yorks, with Reserve, Ian McGarva’s young bull Abington Lionel from Abington, Biggar, Lanarkshire.
Simmental Champion Overall Champion was Denizes Hamish 16 a young bull shown by MA Barlow, Preston, Lancashire. Standing in reserve position was another young bull Storersmith Ghost Rider 15 from Mr & Mrs R & L Storer Smith, Uttoxeter, Staffs.
Baby Beef Champion was Queen Bee from Bowen and Bowen, a six month old Limousin cross heifer, and reserve champion, Ashley Bothwell’s Cheeky Charlie, a Charolais cross.
In the sheep classes, overall Champion sheep went to C R Graham & Sons of Carruthers Farm, Lockerbie with a pair of North Country Cheviot Lambs. Reserve Champions were two Blackface Lambs, from H F Hamilton of Glenmanna, Thornhill, Dumfries.
With 150 entries, and over 300 sheep in the main sheep classes, this was a huge task for judge Haig Murray, and on choosing his champions he said:
“In my judging I took the opportunity to demonstrate the exact requirements for a modern day processor to supply the UK and Worldwide market. A well fleshed carcass, with a good loin, conformation and minimal fat cover. The champions in each section today were without exception perfect examples of their respective breeds and a credit to their exhibitors.”
Speaking afterwards, Champion owner Mr Graham said: “This is quite a surprise and we are absolutely delighted.”
In a class of fifteen entries, the best pair of Mule Gimmer Lambs, judged by William Wallace of Gapshields Brampton, was awarded to J & J Wilson, Dunning, Settle who received the NEMSA Perpetual Trophy.
This year’s Young Handlers Sheep Champion was 12 year old Jack Graham from Lockerbie who was also winner of the senior competition. The winner of the Junior competition was 11 year old April Skelton from Dalston, Carlisle
Although much of the focus of Borderway Agri- Expo is on judging the best sheep and cattle that Britain can produce this is also a very important industry event. With over 165 trade stands, there were representatives from the many organisations that keep farming going and drive the industry forward – from the breed society stands to science, technology, vet services, products, accounting and legal, leisure, education training, machinery and mechanics.
Winner of the 2016 breed society stand was the British Charolais Cattle Society, indoor trade stand was Nickerson Seeds and outdoor trade stand was awarded to W M Plant (Carlisle).
Throughout the day many of those attending and exhibiting were keen to highlight that with the decline of big national shows, Borderway Agri Expo has naturally become a key industry event for the UK as a whole.
As David, says: “This is quite literally a ‘Festival of Farming’ and we are delighted that in our 10th year we have seen both a record number of livestock entries and visitors. In addition Borderway-Agri Expo is also one of the largest annual events that happen in Carlisle.”
“We are enormously grateful for the support from our sponsors, visitors and exhibitors, many who have shown here for the full ten years, and we hope that they will continue to do so.”
There may be uncertainty of the future in many areas, one thing is certain, and that is that the future for Borderway Agri- Expo is very positive as it heads into its second decade – Date for next year Friday 3rd November 2017.