All roads will lead to the Thainstone Centre at Inverurie on Wednesday for the Royal Northern Spring Show, which traditionally heralds the onset of spring in the north-east farming community.
The show has again attracted a huge show of almost 200 horses and ponies with a new section for ride and drive and an extension of the young handlers competition which is now open to all young handlers, and not just those with Clydesdale and Shetland charges.
The high-quality entry of beef cattle will include 55 exhibition cattle and 71 carcase cattle, while 30 pens of three have been entered for the breeding sheep section and 23 pairs for the prime lamb classes.
The Royal Northern is the first show of the season in Scotland and brings farmers together for the first time after the long winter months.
But it is much more than a social event, important though that is.
It is a business show which gives farmers the opportunity of catching up on all the latest developments in the industry and meeting up with the huge range of companies who supply the farmers’ requirements.
It is recognised by the trade as a show where farmers do business and once again the trade stand area is a sell-out. Organiser Alison Argo, secretary of the Royal Northern Agricultural Society, reports that no fewer than 16 companies – all agriculturally related – have booked trade stands for the first time. They are Buchan Agricultural Consultants; Openfield Agriculture; Frontier; Scottish Water; Farmhouse Furniture; Moocall (from Dublin); Tip Top Tracks; Close Brothers Asset Finance; Mark Wood Agri Sales; Keenan Recycling; R. and D. Donald; T. H. Jenkinson; G. P. Smart and Sons; Eildon; Alstrong and Haughton Park House Livestock Trailers.
“The trade stand area is full with all available space taken up. It’s a measure of the reputation of the show as an event where business is conducted that so many new exhibitors have applied for trade stand space this year,” said Mrs Argo.
For many, the main attraction will be the show of exhibition cattle, prime cattle and sheep, breeding sheep and the huge entry of horses and ponies which is a mainstay of the show. The show of top quality beef cattle in the exhibition classes from leading exhibitors from the north-east and farther afield always attracts tremendous interest and is where buyers often pick up cattle with further show potential.
The section will again have Stewart Trailers of Daviot, Inverurie, as main sponsor with Grampian Steel sponsoring the carcase cattle section and RBS coming in for the first time to sponsor the show of breeding sheep. Main sponsor of the horse and pony classes is Close Brothers Asset Finance and many other sponsors ensure attractive prize money in all the classes.
No fewer than 300 children from 15 primary schools across Moray and Aberdeenshire will be attending the show at the invitation of the Royal Northern Countryside Initiative which will have a large team of supporters at hand to show the children around the show. A group from Keith Grammar School also plans to attend.
Key to the success of the show is the support provided by Aberdeen and Northern Marts, as operator of the centre, which conducts the sale of exhibition cattle and also stages its own spring pedigree bull sale which is a major part of the event. The entry comprises 25 Charolais, 25 Limousin, 19 Simmental, 19 Aberdeen-Angus, two Beef Shorthorn, five Salers, one Stabiliser (a breed making its debut at the sale) and two Charolais heifers with calves.
Other sponsors include Norvite, Feedmix, Harbro, SAC Consulting, Towns and Carnie, Scotbeef, Don Valley, QMS, Groundwater Lift Trucks, Scotgrain Agriculture, Hamlyn Oats, R. M. Welch and Son, George Duncan Agri Solutions, Sinclair Contractors, Charles J. Marshall, NFU Scotland and Blackadders Solicitors which is sponsoring the young farmers’ stockjudging competition.
The bull sale is sponsored by accountants Williamson and Dunn and Brodies Solicitors has come in for the first time to sponsor the trophy evening to be held at Thainstone Centre on Wednesday, May 6, when all the trophies will be presented to winning exhibitors. Another feature of the show this year will be a demonstration of yearling Boer goats by Maureen Ross, Balmedie.
Judging commences at 8.30am with the show of bulls followed by the exhibition cattle. Cost of entry is £10 with youngsters aged 16 and under free. There is no charge for car parking.