Overflowing with entrants, it was the heifers that stole the limelight this year
Heifers reigned supreme at the Farmers Guardian-supported Agri-Expo, taking the overall and reserve beef titles.
Top spot went to the heifer champion, Khaleesi, shown by Stephanie Dick and owned by Dermot Small from Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, who was competing at Agri-Expo for the first time.
By the Limousin Swarland Eddie and out of a British Blue cow, it was bred by James Alexander. The 15-month-old has been a big winner in the showring all season, including taking the baby beef title at Beef Expo, reserve commercial championship at Balmoral and was the first ever animal to win all four championships at the Northern Ireland Commercial Cattle Exhibitors Club show.
Reserve was the reserve heifer, More of That, from Phil and Sharon Sellers, Lincolnshire. By Fieldson Alfy and bought at Carlisle from Andrew Harrison, Great Asby, it was recently supreme at Countyside Live.
Judge Colin Phillips, Hereford, was impressed with his champion, saying: “It is a tremendous show heifer, full of meat with great width all the way through and squareness over its rump which walks very well.”
Steer champion was July 2013-born Maybe This Time, from James Nisbet, Mauchline, which weighed in at 595kg. By the Limousin, Conmory Cantara, and bought from breeder Willie McAllister earlier in the year, it had been reserve commercial champion at the Royal Highland Show.
Reserve steer was the home-bred Stevie Gee, by Fieldson Alfy, from Neil Slack, Penrith.
Anita Padfield, Norfolk, awarded the baby beef championship to Pokerlicious, exhibited by the Alford family, Cullumpton, which she described as having tremendous showring presence.
The February 2014-born heifer, by the Limousin, Easegillhead Exterminator, weighed in at 316kg. It was bought for £3,200 at Caledonian Mart from breeder, Brian Harper, Falkirk, and was reserve baby beef champion at Countryside Live.
Standing second to it in the class and taking the reserve championship, was Dashing Lady, an April 2014-born heifer by the British Blue, Dafydd D’Ochain, out of a Limousin cross cow owned by Robert Miller, Northern Ireland, and shown by Luke Wilkinson, Leyburn.
Bought privately from breeder Oliver McGowan, County Longford, it weighed 330kg.
For the second year running, the supreme sheep championship went to Andrew Morton, Denny, with champion continental/down lambs, a pair of Beltex ewe lambs, weighing 51.5kg apiece. By Whitehill Too Hot To Handle, they were bought at Carlisle last year for 2,500gns in partnership with Jim Kennedy, and were out of a home-bred ewe.
Taking the reserve ticket was the reserve in the same section from the Hall family, Dalston. This pair, out of Beltex ewes and by a Dutch Texel ram bred by Robin Slade weighed in at 42.5kg each.
Judge Jimmy Mulholland, Great Orton, said his winners were ‘quality through and through – two outstanding lambs which are ideal for the butcher’s market. They have hindquarters as good as you will get and it was their gigots which just gave them the edge over runners-up.’
Winning for the second year running were twin brothers Neil and Elliot Cavers, Langholm, who took the lambs bred from a hill ewe championship with their pair out of South Country Cheviot ewes by a Texel. The Cavers also took the champion pair of hill-bred championship with Cheviot Hill lambs weighing 41kg.
Harrison and Hetherington’s chief executive Brian Richardson said: “This year’s Agri-Expo was the best attended ever with record livestock entries and a record number of trade stands meaning we were almost full, but we have invested heavily in the site and there is potential for more growth.
“When we held the first Agri-Expo eight years ago, we set out to demonstrate the best in British agriculture and we feel we have done this.”