THESE may be uncertain times for the farming industry, but once again Borderway Agri Expo demonstrated what a crowd-puller a tense championship competition can be.

For the UK’s leading winter agricultural showcase attracted in the region of 10,000 visitors from all corners of the UK and some of the finest cattle and sheep.

It was females to the fore with Limousin cows dominating the commercial classes at the event held at Harrison & Hetherington’s Borderway Mart at Rosehill in Carlisle.

Cumbrian breeders were out in force, but supreme overall and heifer champion was ‘One and Only’ from John Williams, Blaenau Ffestiniog with his home-bred April 2018-born heifer by the Limousin sire Waindale UFO out of a Limousin-bred dam. Reserve overall was the reserve champion heifer, Orihana, from Phil and Sharon Sellers, Lincolnshire.

Judge Wilson Peters, from Perthshire, said he had found his top two from a “serious line-up of heifers”, and described his champion as a tremendous beast full of meat which walked and stood well.

The day’s steer championship was awarded to Blair Duffton & Rebecca Stuart from Huntly, Aberdeenshire, with their Limousin-bred bullock ‘Dirty Dancer’, a July-2018 born calf bred by Emily Jones, of Lampeter, Ceredigion.

In a split class in the Young Farmers heifer section, the second top honour went to Ian and Nathan Grainger, Glasson, Wigton with their Limousin-bred ‘Montana’. Born in December 2017, this calf was bred by WM & C Wallace of Brampton.

Young handlers had a busy day out too in both the cattle and sheep classes, with both age groups well contested. In the seniors it was the turn of 16-year-old Rachael Graham, of Miller Hill Farm, Brampton. In the sheep classes, ten-year-old Jack Whiteford of Tercrosset Farm won the senior young handler classes.

The Border British Blue Club calf show champion was Solway View Niko from Kevin Watret of Annan.

Over in the sheep ring, the overall supreme title went to the continental champions, a pair of Beltex lambs from brothers Jamie and Richard Jerman, of Herefordshire. They weighed over 40.1kg apiece. “Today is a result of five years’ hard work and it means everything to win. It is one of the best shows to win in the country and certainly the 500-mile trip has been worth it.”

Reserve in the continental section went to last year’s winner April Skelton and family from Inglewood Edge, Dalston, again this year with a pair of Beltex cross lambs by an Orkney tup on what was their first time in the show ring.

In a packed class for a pair of Mule gimmer lambs, the judge Andrew Hunter from Northumberland tapped out his winner as James Robinson from Carnforth, with reserve Philip Elliott from Bank House, Mungrisedale, saying: “This was a phenomenal show of mule gimmer lambs and this was a challenging task, however I chose the winning pair because they had fantastic coats, sharp eyes, were brightly coloured and they were perfectly correct on their legs.”

Speaking afterwards, H&H Group chief executive Richard Rankin said:“Our aim is to organise an event for all sectors of the livestock industry, and we are delighted to be able to put on this event which I believe is integral to the industry.

“Today has been very well supported by farmers from not just here in Cumbria but from across the UK, and I believe that the industry should be proud of this showcase as it brings everyone together.”

David Pritchard, H&H’s joint managing director and event co-ordinator, said: “Each year Borderway Agri-Expo continues to grow in size, scope and reputation.Yet again we have seen the highest quality livestock, and I know I speak on behalf of the judges when I say congratulations to all winners, each and every one was outstanding.”