The 11th Borderway Agri Expo, held on Friday 3rd November, proved to be a true celebration of British livestock farming, attracting over 13,000 visitors to this leading agricultural event and showcasing the best of livestock from around the UK.
The overall Borderway Agri-Expo 2017 cattle champion was Bexy-Boo, a Limousin cross heifer from first time exhibitors, Robert and Leanne Workman and family, from Larne, Northern Ireland. Reserve champion was a 13-month-old Limousin cross bullock, named Jon Snow, owned by Dermot and Gareth Small, also from Northern Ireland.
In the sheep classes, overall champion went to Robert West of Park Farm Stamford Lincs with a pair of heavyweight Beltex crosses and reserve champion was Lancashire’s Robert Garth with a pair of lightweight Beltex crosses.
In addition to the incredible quality of sheep and cattle presented, which totalled an impressive 924 animals, Borderway Agri-Expo also provided a valuable and much needed platform for farmers and those involved in the industry to gain knowledge and discuss current issues. There were over 160 trade stands in attendance – with a wealth of information and advice available for farmers.
Representatives from many of the British livestock sheep and cattle breeds were in attendance, with their leading industry spokespersons, 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 strongly contested. As David Pritchard, Harrison and Hetherington’s director of operations, said: “We continue to be amazed at the standard of animals on display at this event – the numbers grow every year and the quality is absolutely world class.
“It truly showcases the best of British livestock and we are proud to host an event which offers a shop window to the world.”
Bexy-Boo, a home bred 15-month-old, is by Wilodge Vantastic and out of the family’s show cow, Gabby. Speaking afterwards, Leanne Workman said: “It was amazing to win this on our first time to the Agri Expo and as a family we are absolutely delighted.”
On being asked about his final choice, judge, Chris Pennie said: “The winner was a tremendous well-balanced animal with lovely confirmation and a lot of character. The runner up was very flashy, correct and with tremendous width. There has been a lot of tremendous animals being shown here throughout the day.”
The young handlers classes in both cattle and sheep section again drew great interest – Champion junior cattle handler was Matthew Bentley, from Thirsk, whilst Beth Harvey from Glasgow took the champion senior cattle handler award.
In the sheep classes champion young handler was awarded to Ellen Elliott, from Skelton in Cumbria, who was placed first in the 12-21 age group. Reserve was given to Grace Elliott, from Penrith, Cumbria, who won the 11 and under age group.
24-year old, Matthew Emmott, who is the Northern District Young Farmers chairman, was the winner of the over 18 stock judging class, with 8-year old Zara Goral beating her older rivals in the under 18 class.
Mathew Emmott said: “Borderway Agri-Expo is a fantastic event, there is such quality livestock for everyone to see, and the young farmer classes are always very well supported. It also gives the opportunity for people to visit the many different stands and to learn different things from all aspects of the agricultural industry.”
Beef ShorthorncChampion Thomson, Roddick and Laurie’s Shawhill Leroy, an April-born bull calf by Shawhill Henderson. Reserve - Tracy Severn’s Highlee Lenny, a January-born bull calf by Poyntington Himself.
Aberdeen Angus champion Martin McCornick’s McCornick Kerry’s Boy, an April, 2016-born bull by McCornick Kedge. Reserve – Dallas Allen, Stouphill Patsy S152, a March, 2016-born daughter of Duncanziemere Jigsaw.
Hereford overall champion T D and W T Livesey’s Normanton 1 Enoki 5th a September 2016 born daughter by Normanton 1 Laertes.Reserve - Miss H Whittaker’s Coley 1 Pilot, a January 2017 born bull by Coley 1 Maverick
British Blue overall champion Roly and Melanie Carr’s Homilton Lottie, a November 2016-born heifer by Heros du Peroy. Reserve - John Stephenson’s Bordley Maltesers, a January-born heifer calf by Tanat Harlequin.
Simmental overall champion David Lowry’s Thursford Hero, a September, 2016-born bull by Scotland Hill Cairo. Reserve - Michael and John Barlow’s Denizes Impressive, an April-born bull calf by Denizes Fantastic.
Baby beef champion was Little Mix, a Limousin cross, from Tecwyn Jones. Reserve champion - R and J Graham, for their Limousin, Grahams Nova.
The sheep classes again saw tremendous numbers across all the classes.
Champion Continental went to R West of Park Farm, Stamford, with a pair of Beltex lambs. Reserve – R Garth of Peaks View, Lancaster, with a pair of Beltex lambs
Champion hillbred went to H F Hamilton of Glenmanna, Dumfries, with a pair of Blackface lambs. Reserve - T N Cavers of Sorbie Farm, Langholm, with a pair of Cheviot Hill lambs
Champion bred from a hill ewe went to I K and A M Grisedale of Greenmount Farm, Milnthorpe, with a pair of crossbred lambs from a Herdwick ewe. Reserve – R Garth of Peaks View, Lancaster.
Speaking afterwards sheep judge Chris Wright, a wholesale butcher at the family run A. Wright and Son, in Boston, Lincolnshire said: “The champion pair of lambs had good fat cover and good confirmation, with a good width throughout. They will be graded an E31 which is just what I look for.
“Today has been a very good show of excellent sheep with tremendous quality throughout the entire day and at times it has been a challenge.”
Although the Borderway Agri-Expo delights in show-casing British livestock, it has now become an increasingly important industry event, with leading companies attending the event to support the industry and provide a valuable opportunity for farmers to engage in knowledge exchange and business discussions. There are 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.
Reiterating the importance of this event Mark Riddell of Norbrook Laboratories said: “We are attending this event because we enjoy the whole concept, and because it is productive throughout the day and we see people from all over the country.”
Winner of the 2017 breed society stand was the North Country Cheviot Society, indoor trade stand was Caisley Eartag Ltd and outdoor trade stand was awarded to W M Plant (Carlisle).
David Pritchard said: “The success of this year’s Agri -Expo shows how this industry is strong and positive about the challenges ahead. And, it is incredibly encouraging to see so many young people joining the discussions and wanted to be involved in the direction of this industry. There are many educated, informed and ambitious individuals in UK farming, and I am confident our sector will thrive in future years.
“We are enormously grateful for the support from our sponsors, visitors and exhibitors, many who have shown here for the full eleven years, illustrating the events relevance in UK farming.
“The future for Borderway Agri- Expo is very positive and I look forward to continuing to grow this event in years to come.”