Plans well advanced for packed SheepNI 2019

Steve Bradley, from British Wool, pictured with Elizabeth Earle, NSA committee member and Agrisearch, and Jayne Harkness-Bones, Ulster Wool.
Steve Bradley, from British Wool, pictured with Elizabeth Earle, NSA committee member and Agrisearch, and Jayne Harkness-Bones, Ulster Wool.

Plans are now well advanced for NSA SheepNI 2019, the bi-annual sheep event organised by the Northern Ireland Regional Committee of the National Sheep Association in Ballymena Livestock Mart on Monday 1st July.

The event always attracts a wide range of sponsorship and so far Ulster Wools, Shearwell Data, Dunbia, Norbrook Laboratories and Farmcare TopFlock have all come on board for this year after supporting the last event.

This year’s event will see a number of successful attractions from previous events, including an open fleece competition, with support from Ulster Wool.

CAFRE, AFBI and Agrisearch as well as several environmental bodies will all be on hand to update farmers on the latest research work and advice.

Of course one of the main draws to the event is always the display of sheep by the various breed societies and clubs. As usual visitors will have the opportunity to see and compare a wide range of breeds and crosses of both terminal and maternal breeds, suitable for both hill and lowland production at what will be the most extensive show of sheep breeds on the island of Ireland this year.

An excellent entry of trade stands is also expected, with examples of just about everything the sheep farmer could need, from vet products and medicines to handling equipment, and trace elements.

The CEVA UK Next Generation Young Shepherd of the Year competition will take place this year and offers shepherds under the age of 26 the opportunity, not only to win a cash prize of £300, but also the chance to represent Northern Ireland at national and international level for two years, with all expenses paid trips to compete. The competition will consist of five tasks chosen from six elements:

l Sheep shearing

l Prime lamb selection

l Sheep management quiz

l Veterinary and handling tasks

l Quad bike handling

l Body Condition Scoring ewes

Entry is free and there is a special prize for the best competitor under 18 to encourage entrants.

A range of topical seminars will be held in the calf ring, with presentations by industry experts topics and include sheep health, soil management, grass utilization and maybe on the B subject. These seminars will last for about 25 – 30 minutes, with opportunities for questions and discussion, so offer farmers a great chance to keep up to speed on the latest thinking on topical subjects. Full details, including timings, will be available later.

The Ballymena Livestock Market is the largest and busiest market in Northern Ireland and organisers are indebted to them for once again hosting the event.

Of course no sheep event would be complete without the ever popular sale of working sheepdogs and puppies, which will be held as usual in a field adjacent to the mart, kindly loaned by John Anderson.

All in all then a day not to be missed by sheep farmers and their families, or anyone interested in sheep and their part in rural life.

This bi-annual event is well established as the number one event in Northern Ireland for everyone involved in the sheep sector. It provides a platform for the industry representatives, breed societies, breeders and trade companies to assemble and display their products at a single devoted venue. Extra space this year will allow organisers to offer stands to more individual breeders. There are limited opportunities to enhance your presence at the event with sponsorship deals or workshop demonstrations by speaking to Edward on 07711071290 or email