A good dry day coupled with a strong show of sheep and cattle and an increased number of trade stands, ensured a cracking out day for all at the Royal Northern Agricultural Society's annual Spring Show at Thainstone, on Wednesday, which attracted one of the best attendances in recent years.

And, despite the uncertainty surrounding the industry, there was a good amount of business being done both inside and outside the mart.

"We're absolutely delighted at the way the day has gone," said Keith Walker, society president. "It has been busier than what it has been for a number of years, with in excess of 5500 passing through the gates."

Society secretary, Alison Argo, was equally pleased: "We've more trade stands this year and a lot of new exhibitors and they've all appear to have had a good day. They're reported strong interest throughout the day with some selling implements straight off the showfield," she added.

While all sections of the show were busy, as always it was the exhibition of calves with future show potential that attracted the biggest crowds.

It was nevertheless the Robertsons from Newton of Logierait, Pitlochry, who enjoyed the day most, when they lifted both the champion and reserve honours as well as the top three prices.

"I was looking for good correct calves with show potential, and the champion stood out as soon as I saw her. She had more style and presence, but it was very close between her and the reserve," said the judge, Lee Hopwood from Duckingfield, who was most impressed by the quality of calves in all classes.

His choice of champion was the Robertson's champion heifer, a 357kg black Limousin cross by Lodge Hydro, bred by Chris Dick, Taylorton, Stirling. Born in April, this younger was privately in October from her breeder and later sold for the top price of £5000 to the judge.

Reserve overall was the bullock champion, a similarly aged home-bred black Limousin cross by Powerhouse Harlequin, a bull bought for 4800gns that has since bred numerous show calves to a top of £7800 here. The dam, a Limousin cross bred at Monzie, was bought from Walter Dandie. He scaled 412kg and realised £1650 to Scott Watson, Carnoustie.

Second top price was £4500 paid for the third prize senior heifer from Newton of Logierait, a November 2018-born Limousin cross by Jalex Its All Good – a former reserve junior male champion at the Highland Show, purchased by the Westpit herd, Laurencekirk. This 495kg black heifer is bred from a British Blue cross cow and sold to L Pidsley, Payhembury, Honiton.

The same sire was behind the family's £3000 Limousin heifer, which scaled 445kg and sold across the water to Ireland with A Short, Strabane, Co Tyrone. She stood first in her class at the pre-sale show.

Blair Duffton and Rebecca Stuart, Huntly, and Insch, respectively, were also in the tickets, winning a first prize rosette amongst the senior heifers, with a Limousin cross bred by Liam Muir, Upper Onston, Orkney. This rising two-year-old black heifer weighed in at 694kg and realised £2300 to GM Barclay, Tullo of Garvock, Laurencekirk.

The show winning duo also landed the reserve heifer honours with Baby Bee, a Lodge Hamlet daughter out of a Limousin cross British Blue cross cow. She scaled 345kg, was bought at the Welsh Winter Fair and sold for £1600 to Steven Smith, Sunnyhills, Claymires.

Other top sellers included Gordon Hendry's Limousin cross heifer from Heads of Auchinderran, Aultmore, Keith, which made £1800 selling to P and S Stewart, Gunhill, Pitcaple, Inverurie. Unplaced in her class, this 10-month-old entry by Spittalton Barty, scaled 410kg.

Just behind, on £1700, Bradley Robertson, Roebank, Keith, sold his fourth prize winner, a 407kg Limousin cross heifer to JWR Moir and Son, Crook, Rendall, Orkney. She was bred by John McAlister, West Thomaston.

A good sale of show calves saw 14 heifer calves average 454p per kg or £2095 per head with an average weight of 460.9kg. Eight steer calves levelled at 310p or £1435 with an average weight of 462kg.

LEADING awards

Exhibition cattle – Unhaltered heifers – 1, B Duffton and R Stuart's Treacle, bred by RS Duncan, Achdregnie (505kg £1400 to CS Fleming and Son, Strone, Memus, Forfar); 2, B Duffton and R Stuart's Chelsea Bun, bred by Bowen and Bowen (612kg, £1500 to BT Kidson Butchers, Hutton Rudby, Yarm); 3, J Robertson and Co's Limousin cross bred by L Fowlie (480kg, £1550, to L Pidsley, Payhembury, Honiton).

Haltered cattle – Heifers – Superlight – 1, heifer champion and supreme overall, J Robertson and Co's Limousin cross bred by C Dick (357kg, £5000 to L Hopwood, Duckingfield, Manchester); 2 and reserve heifer, B Duffton and R Stuart's Baby Bee, bought at the Welsh Winter Fair (345kg, £1600 to S Smith, Sunnyhill, Claymires); 3, W Robertson and Son's Queen Bee (375kg unsold). Light – 1, B Robertson's Limousin cross bred by C Malone, Pitcairn (410kg, unsold); 2, J Robertson and Co's Limousin cross (410kg £1400 to BT Kitson, Hutton Rudby, Yarm; 3, AJG Fraser's Limousin cross bred by WD Stephen, Meikle Geddes (401kg unsold). Medium – 1, J Robertson and Co's Limousin cross (445kg, £3000 to A Short, Strabane, Co Tyrone); 2, L Milne's Limousin cross bred by Brian Harper, Greenwells (445kg unsold); 3, D Munro's Limousin cross bred by I Stewart, Reisgill (463kg unsold). Heavy – 1, B Duffton and R Stuart's Limousin cross bred by WSL Muir, Upper Onston (694kg, £2300 to GM Barclay and Son, Tullo of Garvock; 2, J Robertson and Co's Limousin cross (535kg, £1550 to I Grant, Slattadale, Loch Maree, Achnasheen); 3, J Robertson and Co's Limousin cross (495kg £4500 to L Pidsley, Upton Ley, Payhembury, Honiton.

Bullocks – Lightweight – 1, bullock champion and reserve overall, J Robertson and Co's Limousin cross (412kg, £1650 to S Watson); 2, D Munro's Limousin cross (400kg, retained); 3, W Robertson and Son's British Blue cross bred by G and J Greenlaw, Balgairn Farms (385kg £1220 to GA Lawson, Huntly Lodge, Huntly). Mediumweight – 1, J Robertson and Co's Limousin cross (470kg £1450 to C Harper, Westholme, Turriff); 2, G Rhind's Limousin cross bred by B Baillie, Sebay View (488kg unsold); 3, J Hendry's British Blue cross bred by G and J Greenlaw (436kg £1350 to C Buchan, Nether Savoch, Longside). Heavy – 1 and reserve bullock, Moir and Emslie Home Farm's Limousin cross bred by JW Dent and Sons, Barnard Castle (489kg, £1350 to BT Kitson, Hutton Rudby, Yarm); 2, D Munro's Limousin cross (515kg unsold); 3, Paton and Hunter's Limousin cross bred by JS Baillie and Co, Sebay (617kg, £1480 to BT Kitson Butchers, Hutton Rudby, Yarm).