The Royal Northern Spring Show was hailed a roaring success at Thainstone Centre, when a good dry day coupled with a bit more confidence in the livestock sector, ensured a near record breaking crowd

With prime old season lambs and store cattle attracting higher prices week on week, there was a definite feel good factor about the event from start to finish, and with the extremely wet weather of late, arable farmers were out in force too.

“We have had a really good day with one of the biggest crowds,” said Alan Cumming, Newells, president of the Royal Northern Agricultural Society.

“It is difficult to say how many people were here, but we had more room in the car park to fill this year and it was spilling over.

“We also had a record number of trade stands this year spread over a larger area and it still felt busy with everyone happy to be here with the good prices we’re seeing for livestock,” Mr Cumming said.

While the machinery stands pull in the crowds, it’s the show of exhibition cattle that always prove the star attraction with this year’s event attracting a particularly good show of quality calves.

It was a point highlighted by the judge, James Nisbet, Sorn Mains, Sorn: “It’s really good show of calves. It’s a few years since I was last here and the quality is a lot better than it was then,” he said after presenting the championship rosette to the Limousin cross stot, Brew Dog, from Michael and Mark Robertson, Fodderletter Farms, Tomintoul.

“The champion is great calf with fantastic width across the top, presence and back end. It’s got the presence and was brought out to perfection,” Mr Nisbet said adding that his choice of reserve, the heifer champion from Andrew Anderson, Smallburn Farms, was not far behind.

Supreme overall was Brew Dog, a Limousin cross by the 8000gns purchase, Beachmont Pacman, bred from Bucks Fizz, a home-bred Limousin cross British Blue cow. Champion at the Agri Expo at Carlisle and the Rising Stars competition here in December, this yearling from the father and son duo was kept for future showing.

Reserve overall was Ginger Ale, a March 2023-born Limousin cross heifer from Andrew Anderson, who was exhibiting here for the first time in 10 years. His yearling heifer, by the French sire, Petronas, was bought as a calf at foot with its dam, a British Blue, at Gary Bell’s dispersal at Carlisle. She later sold for £3250 to Scott Dreaver, Orkney.

Top priced calf at £4000 was David and Neil Work’s reserve champion heifer, Expresso Martini, an Aberdeen Angus cross from Mains of Dumbreck, Udny. She is sired by Sebay Jacobite, a bull bought privately that has produced no fewer than three native champions at the Christmas Classic. The dam is a Limousin cross. She scaled 440kg and was knocked down to WA Tyalor, Woodland, Aboyne.

The father and son duo also landed the reserve bullock honours with another Aberdeen Angus cross by the same sire. This 10-month-old calf out of a British Blue cross cow, made £2200 selling to JWK Paterson, Low Tree Mark, Stoneykirk, Stranraer.

Young Kris Sutherland, Dunbeath Farms, Caithness, was another in the money, taking £3200 for his first prize 10-month-old heifer, from Ian Miller, Miller Farms, North Lurg, Inverurie. Selling at this price was a 387kg Limousin cross by Headfoot Ozymandius, bred by U Macdonald, Lower Cairnglass.

Calves from John and Craig Robertson, Newton of Logierait, Pitlochry, sold to £2900, £2700 and £2300 for Limousin cross yearling. The dearest, a 454kg heifer by Glenrock Inferno, was another bought by JWK Paterson, Stoneykirk.

Making £2700 when selling in the same direction with R McKinnell and Son, Garrarie, Whithorn, was a 449kg entry by the French sire, Larry, bred by Hugh Barclay, Nairn.

The same buyers also forked out £2300 for 468kg bullock by Carnew Millreef from Newton of Logierait.

Top price for Craig and Jack Hendry, Heads of Auchinderran, Keith, was £2100 for a June 2022-born Limousin cross heifer purchased by Messrs Kitson, Hutton, Yarm

Young Finlay Hunter’s home-bred calf, Ziggy, from West Cairnhill, Culsalmond, Insch, made £2450 to Wilson Peters, Cuilt Farmhouse, Monzie, Crieff. This 13-month-old scaling 475kg is by Johnstown Premier.

Overall, 12 heifers sold to average £2333.33 or £5.41 per kg with nine steers levelling at £1987.78 or £4.00.

Auctioneers: Aberdeen and Northern Marts

LEADING awards

Exhibition cattle (Judge: James Nisbet).

Unhaltered heifers – 1, J Robertson and Co, Newton of Logierait (Lim X by Glenrock Inferno 315kg); 2, C and J Hendry, Heads of Auchinderran, Keith (Lim X 532kg); 3, JS Youngson, Westeron of Cullerlie, Echt (Lim X 394kg).

Unhaltered bullocks – 1, W Robertson and Son, Fodderletter Farms, Tomintoul (Lim X bred by W Stephen, Meikle Geddes, 394kg).

Haltered cattle

Super lightweight heifer – 1, K Sutherland, Dunbeath Farms (Lim X by Headfoot Ozymandius bred by U Macdonald, Lower Cairnglass, 387kg); 2, J Robertson and Co (Lim X by Gallaber Leo, 377kg); 3, J Robertson and Co (Lim X by Cappleside Solomon, 356kg).

Lightweight heifer – 1, G Hendry, Heads of Auchinderran, Keith (Lim X by Garvaughan Ojack, 410kg); 2, S and L Smith’s Ginger, Sunnyhill, Clayson House, Turriff (Lim X bred by U Macdonald, Lower Cairnglass, 390kg); 3, W Robertson and Son’s Biscuits (Char X 409kg).

Mediumweight heifer – 1, heifer champion and reserve overall, Smallburn Farms, Plewlands, Duffus (Lim X by Petronas, bred by Gary Bell, 420kg); 2 and reserve heifer, D Work and Son, Mains of Dumbreck (A-A by Sebay Jacobite, 440kg); 3, J Robertson and Co (Lim X by Larry, bred by H Barclay, Nairn, 449kg).

Heavyweight heifer – 1, J Robertson and Co (Lim X by Glenrock Inferno, 454kg); 2, Fraser Family, Easter Clune, Nairn (Lim X by Spittalton Overdrive, 472kg); 3, Fraser Family (Lim X by Spittalton Overdrive, 486kg).

Superheavy heifer – 1, B Duffton and S Smith’s Little Miss Muffitt, Huntly (Lim X, bred by J Robertson and Co, 560kg); 2, B Duffton and S Smith’s Peek A Boo (BB X bred by J Robertson and Co, by Warehams Mickey, 603kg); 3, F Christie (BB X bred by J Munro, Invercharron, 614kg).

Lightweight steer – 1, steer champion and supreme overall, W Robertson and Son’s Brew Dog, Fodderletter Farms, Tomintoulog (Lim X by Beachmont Pacman, 454kg); 2, G Hendry, Heads of Auchinderran, Keith (Lim X by Garvaughan Ojack, 420kg); 3, J Robertson and Co (Lim X by Carnew Millreef, 468kg).

Heavyweight steer – 1 and reserve stot, D Work and Son, Mains of Dumbreck, Udny, Ellon (A-A X by Sebay Jacobite, 509kg); 2, F Hunter’s Ziggy, West Cairnhill, Culsalmond, Insch (Lim X by Johnstown Premier, 475kg); 3, F Christie’s Bobby Bingo, Newton of Balquhain, Inverurie (Lim X bred by Messrs Martyn, Wester Bleaton, 530kg).


Barley (Judge: G Stewart, Inverurie).

Spring barley – 1, J and E Forrester (Planet).

Winter barley – 1, J and E Forrester (Valerie).

Spring malting barley – 1 and reserve overall grain, A Stuart (Sassy); 2, G Campbell Farmers (Firefox); 3, Firm of Forbes (Sassy).

Milling oats – 1, Murphie Howe Farm (Canyon); 2 and 3, ND Brins (Dalguise).

Winter wheat – 1 and champion grain, H and H Simpson (Colosseum); 2, Tipperty Farms.

Roots (Judge: G Stewart).

12 white potatoes – 1, G Clark, 5 Morrison Place (Winston); 2, G Clark (Harmoney); 3, G Cumming, 2 Sclattie Circle (Nadine).

12 coloured potatoes – 1 and champion potatoes, J and E Forrester, Aldie Farm (Sunshine); 2 and reserve potatoes, G Cumming (Kestrel); 3, G Clark (Bonnie).


Four yellow, or white fleshed – 1 and 2, J and E Forrester, Aldie (Massiff).

Four purple top Swedish – 1 and 2, J and E Forrester (Doon Major and Lomond); 3, W Stewart (Lomond).

Four green or bronze top Swedish – 1 and reserve, J and E Forrester (Kenmore); 2, D Ker, Broomton (Melfort); 3, J and E Forrester (Kenmore).

Four turnips or swedes for processing or shopping – 1 and 3, J and E Forrester (Doon Major and Lomond); 2, W Stewart (Lomond).

Biggest neep – 1, J and E Forrester (Kenmore 9.2kg); 2, W Stewart (Lomond); 3, D Kerr, Boomton (Invitation).

Silage and hay (Judge: J McIntyre, Cullerlie).

Grass/clover pit silage – 1 and champion, R Anderson, Corskellie (ME 12.2; 76 D Value, CP 14.3); 2, WR and N Gordon, Upper Ironside, New Deer; 3, W and N Lawrence, Blackpots.

Baled or wrapped grass silage – 1 and reserve, HW Sclater, Denhead; 2, S Ramage, Mains of Druminnor; 3, E and L Munro, Rogiehil.

Hay natural – 1, D Kerr, Broomton; 2, Mann Partners, Bellfield; 3, Alick Murray, Townhead.