Judges announced for key autumn livestock event

Haig Murray
Haig Murray

Harrison & Hetherington have announced the line-up of Judges at the 2016 Borderway Agri Expo as Cumbrian duo, Jimmy Mulholland and William Wallace, and Michael Durno and Haig Murray, both from Scotland.

With a prize fund of £15,000 and entries increasing year-on-year, this is now, without a doubt, the leading autumn livestock event in the UK. Over 800 head of the highest calibre of cattle, including sections for pedigree breed society calf shows, and sheep will be showcased. This year’s event will take place at Borderway Carlisle, on Friday 28th October.

Renowned local butcher and cattle breeder, Jimmy Mulholland of Great Orton, will judge the main cattle classes, the Baby Beef classes will be judged by livestock farmer Michael Durno of Auchorachan. Taking up roles in the sheep section are Haig Murray, procurement manager in Scotland for the Dunbia Group, based in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, judging the main sheep classes and Bluefaced Leicester and Mule sheep breeder, William Wallace, of Gapshields, who will judge the Mule Gimmer Lamb class.

On announcing the ensemble of judges, David Pritchard, operations director for Harrison & Hetherington, and organiser of the 2016 Agri Expo event, said: “Borderway Agri Expo is now celebrating its 10th year and, since we launched the event in 2007, the standard and geographical spread of livestock exhibitors is truly exceptional and has grown from strength to strength each year.

“With some of the most highly sought after livestock in the country being shown, Borderway Agri Expo really does demand the highest calibre of judges. Together, these four represent all sectors of the livestock industry and we are very fortunate that they have agreed to judge.”

Returning to Borderway Agri Expo, having judged the main cattle classes at the very first event in 2007, is Jimmy Mulholland of Great Orton, Carlisle. Jimmy, who runs a family butchery business, also breeds a small number of pedigree Limousin and commercial cattle to sell, is a regular on the judging scene at English, Scottish and Welsh winter fairs.

Since judging at the first Agri Expo ten years ago, Jimmy has experienced a vast shift in consumer demand and believes that uniformity and consistency is the key to judging such highly contested classes. Commenting on his return to Agri Expo, Jimmy said: “I am honoured to be invited back to Borderway Agri Expo. Obviously there have been a lot of industry changes since I first judged there ten years ago, but I will be looking for very similar qualities in the animals in terms of style and correctness, as well as meat in the right places. This event is very important for the industry as a whole and its central location makes it accessible for breeders all over the UK to bring livestock. I think that, for the showman, this is the major UK event to win.”

Judging the Baby Beef classes is pedigree Charolais and Simmental, and commercial cattle, breeder Michael Durno of Auchorachan, Glenlivet, who brings with him a lifetime’s experience of showing calves. Although attending Borderway Agri Expo as a judge for the first time, Michael is no stranger to Carlisle having previously judged the Charolais May Sale and Limousin Bull Sale. Looking forward to seeing the outstanding quality of calves presented for judging at Agri Expo and will be looking for an animal with the potential to go forward and ultimately be a good, correct beef animal with a bit of flair.

Haig Murray, who will judge the main sheep classes was brought up in the Lockerbie area and has been involved in livestock all of his life.

He is well known on the judging circuit and in being invited to judge at Borderway Agri-Expo he said: “It is a great honour to be invited to judge the sheep at this major livestock event. The needs of the market are changing and I would just like to reiterate that I would like all farmers to focus on producing what the UK and worldwide markets require today; a lamb that is of good confirmation and not over fat.

“This is what I will be looking for in judging at Agri-Expo in October, an animal which is fit for purpose and fit to supply today’s food service and retail markets.”

Swaledale and Mule sheep breeder, William Wallace of Gapshields, Carlisle, will judge the Mule Gimmer Class at Agri Expo. Farming alongside his wife, Christine, William manages a flock of 650 Swaledale ewes and 25 Bluefaced Leicesters.

Having attended Borderway Agri Expo as a spectator annually since its launch in 2007, William said: “I am delighted to have been asked to judge at Borderway Agri Expo as the quality of livestock on show really is fantastic. In judging the Mule Gimmer class I will be looking for a well matched pair, full of breed characteristics, colour and skin.”

Full details of the 2016 Borderway Agri Expo can be found at www.harrisonandhetherington.co.uk or by telephoning 01228 406200.