The 2015 Borderway Agri Expo was a true celebration of the very best British Livestock, and the farmers, breeders and herdsmen who look after them.
In the nine years that Agri Expo has been going, its popularity has increased year on year, and the focus on the younger generation has developed as an integral part, with young farmers and the under tens showing they have the ability to show cattle and sheep as well as their elders.
The supreme champion in the cattle classes was scooped by Tudor Edwards and family, of Corwen, North Wales with their red Limousin cross home-bred heifer Biwt.
Reserve champion was The Real McCoy, a red home-bred Limousin cross steer, shown by Messrs Slack and Haughen, Newby, Penrith.
Reserve heifer champion was a black Limousin cross, Lavish Alice, shown by John Williams, Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Reserve steer champion was Jumping Jack Flash, a British Blue cross from Neil Slack, Penrith.
In addition, the obvious sense of occasion that Agri Expo creates affects everybody – from the audience round the rings caught up in the drama as it unfolds, to the families and farms that bring their livestock, often hundreds of miles, just to show their quality and compete.
As well as the best and brightest in the show ring, Agri Expo continues to showcase the latest developments in technology, engineering, welfare and nutrition, with trade and specialist sands well represented.
Showing the active interest in British breeds, the event also continues to attract the major sheep and cattle breed societies, and plays host to many of their own annual championships.
With over 840 cattle and sheep the livestock classes were highly competitive and were a true showcase for the tremendous stock that head to Carlisle to compete in what is now the UK’s largest winter livestock fair.
“Yet again Agri Expo has been a re-sounding success; from the many livestock exhibitors, to the trade stand it is their time and commitment to the day which results in the leading autumn livestock showcase. Most importantly it is with thanks to our sponsors at all levels, without their support the event would certainly not happen.”
The event proves that farmers and breeders care as much about quality and condition as they do about profits and margins.
The £15,000 prize fund serves as an incentive second to none, but showing is not just about winning, as all entrants will testify.
Speaking afterwards, organiser and operations director of Harrison and Hetherington, David Pritchard said: “Yet again Agri Expo has been a re-sounding success; from the many livestock exhibitors, to the trade stand it is their time and commitment to the day which results in the leading autumn livestock showcase. Most importantly it is with thanks to our sponsors at all levels, without their support the event would certainly not happen.”
On scoping up the supreme championship the Edwards family said: “This is the first time we have been showing at Borderway Agri Expo and as a family we have had a very hard two weeks, we can’t believe that we have won this championship with a home bred animal. It is such a big show and we are absolutely delighted.”
On winning reserve steer champion, Neil Slack said: “I am absolutely ecstatic; Borderway Agri Expo really is the best show that there is and we are delighted to have received both the champion and reserve champion in the steers.”
In the baby beef classes it was Jennifer Hyslop from Barrhill, Girvan with her Limousin cross heifer, Black Beauty, who lifted the top title. Reserve champion was from Lawson and Williamson, Leyburn with Americano, a British Blue cross heifer.
In the sheep classes the supreme championship title went to James Whiteford, Tercrosset, Brampton, Carlisle with his pair of Beltex cross lambs. The reserve champion was won by Holly and April Skelton, Inglewood Edge, Dalston, Carlisle with their pair of Beltex cross lambs.
The hill-bred champion Lambs was won by Hugh Hamilton, Thornhill, Dumfriesshire with a pair of Blackface lambs, and the reserve was won by Alec Main from Bewcastle with a pair of North Country Cheviot lambs.
The champion in the class for lambs bred from a hill ewe was won by Ivanhoe Livestock, Bedale, North Yorkshire, with a pair of Beltex Cross Cheviot lambs, and the reserve champion was J and D Richardson, Howe Gill, Lamplugh with a pair of Texel cross Herdwick lambs.
A big attraction to the sheep classes was the special class for the best pair of mule gimmer lambs. This award was won by Graham Jackson of High Bentham, Lancaster.
Speaking afterwards, sheep judge Richard Henderson of Turiff said: “This has been a really enjoyable experience and thanks must go to the exhibiters presenting the show of sheep that they have reared and put forward for judging, the standard of sheep has been very high. In the top two or three of the lowland sheep classes are lambs as good as any I have seen in my life. The overall champion and reserve were of an exceptional quality and very uniform.”
Suckled calf cattle judge Glyn Howatson said: “I have enjoyed myself thoroughly and there was a tremendous showcase of stock. In choosing the champion and reserve champion, what I was looking for was showiness and cleanliness all the way.”
A major part of the day for those attending are the stands, visitors were able to keep up to date with new developments in genetics, handling, nutrition, and animal management systems. This is thanks to the companies and organisations that were represented in the indoor and outdoor exhibition areas which were full to capacity.
Stand holder Jonathan Guy, who owns JG Animal Health, is a specialist in minerals and nutrition has been exhibiting since the start. He said: “We do a lot of business here and it is an ideal platform to meet customers from the length and breadth of the county.”
This year there were a number of new trade stand exhibitors AP Supplies, A1 Tractor Parts and Quad Centre, Animal Breeding Europe, Cheetah Electronics, Calders and Grandidge, Dalesway Cattle handler, Ecoganix Ltd, Kiwa Pai, Magnotherapy, Magdek Thermal System, Paul Armer Fabrication, Show Winners, STOCKMAX, Whotz Hot Ltd and Wagyu Breeders Association Ltd.
One of the most exciting features of Agri Expo this year has been the evident enjoyment and commitment shown by the younger generation, both in the Young Farmers Classes and in the newly introduced Young Handler’s Classes. The difference between the two hangs on the focus on handling only in the latter. The Young Handlers Classes are sponsored by XL vets - a group of local vets from Yorkshire and Cumbria.
Pauline Graham, director and practice manager at XL Vets Cumbria and North Yorkshire, who are sponsoring the new classes said: “We have had an amazing interest in all of the young handlers classes and XL vets are absolutely delighted that they have been able to support the young farmers of the future.”
Luke Wilkinson from Leyburn picked up the Best Young Handler in the Steer class, Harry Heath from Ashbourne, Derbyshire won the Best Young Sheep Handlers Class and the final class of the day the heifer class was won by Finlay Soutter from Penrith.
Borderway Agri Expo incorporates a number of breed society shows: The Aberdeen Angus Winter National Show, the Border British Blue Calf, Show, The Beef Shorthorn National Calf Show, the Hereford Regional Calf Show, and The Simmental Regional Calf Show.
The Aberdeen Angus male champion was Deveron Leggat owned by Hamish Slater from Turriff, Aberdeenshire.
The female champion was The Moss Krispy Girl N221, owned by Owen Tunney, Northwich, Cheshire.
The Simmental overall champion was Newbiemains Fabrege owned by Tom and Patricia Goldie of Newbie Mains, Annan.
The Scottish Hereford champion was Romany 1 Ishbel D1 M11 owned by Miss Heather Whittaker, Halifax, West Yorkshire.
Overall champion Border British Blue was Croftends Kit (ET) owned by J E Bellas and Son, Crofends, Appleby, Cumbria.
The Beef Shorthorn champion was Podehole Gypsy Heart (P) owned by Harry Horrell, Peterborough
The award for best trade stand was picked up by Paul Chuter Agricultural Services Ltd. The best breed society trade stand went to the British Charolais Cattle Society.
During this year’s Borderway Agri Expo The Balmire Medal was presented to Alan Bowe, whose chartered surveying company joined forces with H&H, and who went on to become H&H chairman. This medal is awarded by the Trust that bears its name and is awarded for services to agriculture in Cumberland.
David Pritchard concludes: “Borderway Agri Expo continues to go from strength to strength astounding us each year with the record numbers of exhibitors and attendees.”