ENTRIES CLOSE this weekend for Scotland’s 26th annual Premier Meat Exhibition, firmly established as the largest of its kind in Europe and again set to attract a huge entry of prime beef cattle and lambs from exhibitors across Scotland and the North of England.

Organised by the Scottish National Fatstock Club in conjunction with Scotbeef, the unique formula of the M and S sponsored exhibition starts on Wednesday, November 14, with the live judging at Caledonian Marts’ Stirling mart, followed by the judging of the carcases and presentation of awards on Saturday, November 17, at Scotbeef’s Bridge of Allan meat plant.

“The Premier Meat Exhibition provides a national showcase for Scotland’s beef and sheep producers who are recognised throughout the world for the production of high-quality Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb, which has the protection of the EU’s Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) legislation to guarantee its authenticity,” said SNFSC chairman, John Bannatyne, of Drumalban Farm, Lanark.

“The exhibition provides the ideal opportunity to keep Scotland’s fantastic beef and lamb in the public eye at a time of great uncertainty due to Brexit.”

The success of the exhibition since its inception in 1992 can be attributed to the foresight and commitment of the late Ian Galloway, who as chairman of Scotbeef, conceived the idea of an event to help producers gain a better understanding and appreciation of market requirements.

Scotbeef and the company’s biggest customer, M and S, are the main sponsors of the exhibition and Scotbeef host a prize-giving lunch following the carcase judging to which all exhibitors are invited, along with an invited audience of industry leaders and stakeholders in the meat and livestock sector.

Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb are premium products in M and S supermarkets up and down the country and the company is always well represented at the exhibition to meet producers and discuss market trends and requirements.

Members of the Milan Butchers Association, who have had a long association with the exhibition, are also regular attenders to present the association’s trophies for the best carcase suitable for the Italian market and best export lamb.

The live cattle will be judged at Stirling by well-known stockman, Alistair Cormack, Stuartslaw Farm, Allanton, Duns, and the live lambs by leading sheep producer, Andrew Baillie, Carstairs Mains Farm, Lanark.

The beef carcases at Bridge of Allan will be judged by beef farmer and former meat wholesaler, Neil Stoddart, Halflawkiln, Tynehead, Pathhead, Midlothian, and the lamb carcases by Richard Henderson who is a procurement officer with Woodhead Bros of Turriff.

A feature of the competition is the Young Livestock Producer classes confined to exhibitors aged from 16 to 26 years, which has been very successful since its introduction in 2013 to encourage the younger generation in to the livestock industry. Entries have doubled over the years and the attractive prizemoney offers a real incentive for youngsters to take part.

“We are keen to attract even more entries and would encourage all young farmers to take part to help develop their skills in livestock production and understanding the requirements of the market,” said Mr Bannatyne.

The Premier Meat Exhibition is run in tandem with the SNFSC’s two other events – the Native Pony Winter Fair on Saturday, November 17, and LiveScot on Saturday, November 24. Both events are held at Lawrie and Symington’s Lanark Mart.

Entry forms for all three exhibitions can be downloaded from the club’s web site, www.fatstockclub.co.uk and should be sent to Mrs Margaret Gray, Secretary, Scottish National Fatstock Club, Langside Farm, Kirkfieldbank, Lanark, ML11 9TZ. Tel: 07939 523575. E-mail: secretary@fatstockclub.co.uk