AROUND 900 head of livestock and a sell-out number of exhibition and trade stands are the signs of a formidable and growing presence in the calendar of the UK livestock industry.

Harrison and Hetherington’s 2019 Borderway Agri-Expo is to be held at Carlisle’s Borderway Mart on Friday, November 1.

Attracting thousands of visitors, it highlights livestock trends, equipment and technology - and coming this year the day after the current Brexit deadline it is sure to provide a major platform for discussion and debate.

This year the event will see 57 classes and five breed society shows, with exhibitors battling it out for a £14,000 prize fund.

With the calibre of livestock across the main commercial cattle and sheep classes being some of the best in the UK, the expo attracts entries from the length and breadth of the country.

There are prizes for Baby Beef Supreme Champion, Champion Steer, Champion Pair of Hill bred Lambs, Champion Pair of Continental/Down Lambs, with judging culminating with the Overall Cattle Champion.

The National Suckled Calf & Cattle Show features 31 classes, Baby Beef, continental and native-bred cattle, and the National Prime Sheep Show has 23 continental and traditional bred sheep classes.

The culmination of both the sheep and cattle shows is the judging and awarding of their supreme championship award. Casting their eyes over this impressive livestock are four noted judges travelling from Ireland, Scotland and England.

Wilson Peters, from Monzie Estate near Crieff, an exhibitor and reserve champion winner in 2016, will judge the main cattle classes and the overall champion of champions.

The Baby Beef classes are being judged under the watchful eye of Shropshire’s Paul Tippets, Gregor Ingram from Aberdeenshire will judge the main sheep classes and Andrew Hunter from Hexham will be judging the Mule ewe lamb class.

Mr Peters said: “It is a total honour and I am absolutely delighted to have been asked to judge at what is one of the greatest shows in the country. I am looking forward to it tremendously as I know that some of the finest commercial animals in Britain will be presented.”

Alongside the commercial classes, Borderway Agri-Expo also played host to five pedigree calf shows which together see in the region of 350 head of stock being shown by their associated societies/clubs.

The 2019 breed societies choosing to use the agri expo for their shows are:

* Aberdeen Angus Winter National Show, which will be judged by John McEnroe, owner of the well-known Liss Herd

* Beef Shorthorn National Calf Show, judged by Vic Watson, from Balliefurth Farm

* Border British Blue Club Calf Show, judged by the Drift Herd’s Andrew Phillips

* Hereford Regional Calf Show, judged by James Graham from Portadown

* Simmental Regional Calf Show, judged by Skerrington’s William Young.

Harrison and Hetherington are very much aware that the future of the industry is our young farmers and breeders, and since its inception the younger generation has played a key part in the agri-expo’s success.

The Young Farmers and Young Handlers Classes both provide platforms for competitive showing from an early age with individuals and students not only competing but learning. The exhibition trade area also provides networking opportunities and an educational showcase, where they can learn about the wider agricultural industry, genetics and job opportunities.

David Pritchard, Harrison & Hetherington’s joint managing director and event organiser, explained its increasing role in promoting and supporting the industry.

“Borderway Agri-Expo continues to grow in its success, and we are proud to be able to promote and celebrate the agricultural industry through this unique platform.

“Representatives from all walks of the agricultural sector can join us to have a conversation about current trends and issues, gain knowledge on new innovations and technologies and simply network with like-minded individuals.”

With Brexit looming, this year more than ever the agri-expo will be a chance to consider the impact and how the industry can future-proof itself for the next generation of farming and beyond.”

Held immediately after the sheep judging in the sheep ring, AHDB’s Master Butcher, Martin Eccles, will show off his butchery skills in beef and lamb to the audience.

The exhibition trade area is always a key element, which showcases the latest technology, equipment and information, with the diverse range of indoor and outdoor trade stands exhibiting machinery and equipment, livestock handling and management systems.

Visitors can also benefit from specialist advice from the many breed societies along with feed, nutrition and livestock specialists.

The newly introduced Gift Ring will provide opportunities for retail therapy, from a range of Cumbria’s rural and farm diversification businesses.

Mr Pritchard said: “A note of appreciation must go to our sponsors who support this event year on year and help it to be the success it is.

“I am very much looking forward to this year’s agri expo and encourage anyone associated with the farming industry to attend to see just how much this agricultural showcase has to offer.”

Programme of Events - 2019:

8.30 am National Suckled Calf and Cattle Classes (23 classes plus Championships)

8.30 am National Prime Sheep Classes (22 classes plus Championship)

8.30 am Beef Shorthorn National Calf Show (8 classes plus Championship)

9.00 am Baby Beef Classes (6 classes plus Championship)

9.00 am Simmental Regional Calf Show (8 classes plus Championship)

10.00 am Stock judging Competition – Agri-Expo Stockperson of the Year

10.45 am Aberdeen Angus Winter National Show (12 classes plus Championship)

10.45 am Hereford National Calf Show (8 classes plus Championship)

1.30 pm Border British Blue Club Calf Show (8 classes plus Championship)

1.30 pm Best Pair of Mule Ewe Lambs

4.30 pm Championship Awards and Presentations