Five year high for beef cattle entries at 2016 Royal Highland Show

Harry Sleigh with his champion Shetland Pony at last year's Royal Highland Show.
Harry Sleigh with his champion Shetland Pony at last year's Royal Highland Show.

Almost 7,000 of the finest livestock will be making their way to the 176th Royal Highland Show, one of the UK’s premier agricultural shows. Organisers of the event, which takes place at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston from 23-26 June, are preparing for what will be an exceptional exhibition, with notable entry numbers across many sections of the Show.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, partners of the Show since 1981, maintain their support for the four-day event, which attracted record entry numbers of over 188,000 people in 2015.

The spectacular Grand Parade showcases the very best of the county's livestock.

The spectacular Grand Parade showcases the very best of the county's livestock.

Exhibitors from the length and breadth of the UK and NI will be arriving from the Monday of show week to settle their animals prior to the event opening to the public on Thursday.

For the first time in five years the Highland Hall will be full to capacity, housing 1000 beef and dairy cattle, with Limousin, Hereford and Belted Galloway sections all recording their highest entries since 2007.

With 130 entries, an increase of 12 from 2015 and its highest recorded entry number, the Limousins are set to dominate. The Shorthorns, who enjoyed the lion’s share of entries in 2015, have 114 entries, a drop of 11 from last year. The Galloway and Belted Galloway sections have both seen a significant increase in numbers, up to 30 and 44 respectively, giving judges, Dennis Gall and Stuart Renton, a wealth of quality stock from which to choose winners.

Unsurprisingly, given the economic problems in the dairy industry, the dairy section has taken a dip, down 23 to 110 (133); Ayrshire the most notable at 18(31) but Red and White bucking the trend showing an increase to 13(11).

The 2016 Lleyn Sheep section will enjoy the highest entry numbers in 5 years, along with Rouge and Ryeland categories.

The 2016 Lleyn Sheep section will enjoy the highest entry numbers in 5 years, along with Rouge and Ryeland categories.

An impressive 1842 sheep will fill the four large extended marquees located in the north of the showground, which includes an extra livestock facility this year to allow for the increasing numbers of sheep entries at the Show.

In the sheep sections, the Bluefaced Leicester Crossing Type section has attracted 71 entries, showing a demand for this new addition to the sheep competition. Elsewhere in the sheep sections, the Young Handler competition has 49 entries, the highest since its introduction in 2013, and Lleyn, Rouge and Ryeland sections are all seeing the highest entry numbers in five years.

Reinforcing the Royal Highland Show’s positioning as Scotland’s largest equestrian event, 1827 entries have been received in the light horse section, with the HOYS qualifying Mountain and Moorland Under Saddle section again dominating with 232 entries, up a remarkable 30 on last year and, unsurprisingly, a record for the class.

The Heavy Horse section has also posted a record 377 entries, with Shetlands and Highland females leading the way with 110 and 117 entries respectively.

Limousin cattle represent the largest Beef Cattle category, with 130 entered this year.

Limousin cattle represent the largest Beef Cattle category, with 130 entered this year.

Royal Highland Show Manager, David Jackson, said: “Once again it is clear that the Highland is the place to exhibit, with entries up across the board. It will be a packed house but we are working hard to ensure that we can cater for as many exhibitors as possible, with changes to the layout of the sheep lines and continuing to upgrading the showground in a number areas not least of which is the new livestock flyover.

“With this level of entries there is bound to be some keen competition in the judging rings and the grand parades of prize winning cattle and horses will once again be one of the spectacular sights of the Show. We are very grateful to all of our exhibitors for their continued support and wish them well in their individual quests to win a prize ticket.”