THE ROYAL Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, organiser of the Royal Highland Show, has announced the judges for next year's event, which will be held on June 21 to 24 .

The task of placing around 6000 head of the country's top cattle, sheep, horses and goats will be in the hands of 41 judges from Scotland, 47 from England, 11 from Wales, nine from Northern Ireland and one from the Republic of Ireland.

The sheep rings will yet again attract some intense competition, following on from 2017 which saw the highest ever entries for sheep with over 2000 animals. High calibre and experienced judges are always of utmost importance and this year is no exception.

The Overall Sheep Interbreed Championship will be in the very capable hands of James Sinclair from Crookston in Midlothian, and the Overall Sheep Pairs Interbreed Championship and Young Handlers Classes will be judged by James MacGregor, Dyke Farm, Milton of Campsie, Glasgow.

Beltex will be judged by Jonathan Aiken from Dromora, Co. Down, and the Texel class will be the responsibility of Steve Richardson from Mount Pleasant Farm, Great Houghton, in South Yorkshire. The increasingly popular Zwartbles will be under the watchful eye of Rachel Meggarell from Co. Londonderry.

In the dairy rings, the job of judging the Overall Dairy will be carried out by William Whiteford from the highly respected Middle Ayrshire herd at Middle Farm, Ruleholme, Carlisle. The Ayrshire and British Red and White classes will be judged by Robin Barr from Calderglen, near Campbelltown, who is a great addition to the line-up and a huge supporter of the Royal Highland Show.

All the way from Ballinhassock, Co. Cork, will be Richard Barratt who will judge the highly contested Holstein class, and Peter Prior, Nortons, Radley Green, Nr Ingateston, Essex will place the Jersey class. The Dairy Shorthorn will be judged by Graham Bell from Chesterton Farm in Tarporley, Cheshire. Willie Fleming from Hillhead Farm, Kirkpatrick Fleming in Dumfriesshire will be in charge of the Dairy Calf and Showmanship.

The enviable task of selecting the Overall Beef Native Interbreed Team Champion 2018 will be in the very capable hands of Orkney farmer Liam Muir of Upper Onston Farm in Stenness, and Tom Arnott from Kelso, past Chief Steward of Beef Cattle for the Royal Highland Show, will decide the Beef Interbreed Team Competition and Overall Beef Interbreed Championship.

Other beef judges include Libby Clarke, the hugely respected Chief Steward of Beef Cattle and Commentator at the Royal Ulster, who will judge Beef Shorthorn. We also have one of our youngest ever judges in Laura Green from the ‘Corskie' Simmental herd, who will judge Young Handler. Laura, who has been involved in the Aberdeen Angus Youth Development Programme and graduated from agricultural college, now works alongside her father Iain.

The much-loved Highland Cattle will be ranked by Dochie Ormiston who runs the Balmoral cattle for our Patron, Her Majesty the Queen, and the Simmental cattle will be the responsibility of the very competent RHASS Past Chairman, John Dykes. The Charolais and Salers will be looked over by the father and daughter combo Peter and Sophie Donger from Towcester in Northamptonshire.

There will be 35 horse sections in 2018 and, from within these, 40 HOYS Championship Qualification classes. All classes will be judged by some of the most experienced and able individuals in the equine industry, including Jill Cousens, known to all in the Scottish horse world as ‘Granny Jill' and incredibly respected in the industry, who will oversee the St Johns Wells. And synonymous with quality Highland Ponies, Gillian McMurray from the ‘Trailtrow' prefix, will be in attendance to judge the Waxwing Trophy for overall Mountain and Moorland in hand.

In the heavy horses, the Clydesdale Male judge is George Skinner, well known for his involvement with the breed across the spectrum including driving and riding, bringing his expert eye to the ring. Our second youngest judge this year is Amanda Stewart who has come up through the ranks as a young handler showing her family's Clydesdales, and will this year judge the HOYS Ridden Clydesdale (Conformation), Clydesdale Young Handlers, and Young Stockmen.

The Highland Ponies in Hand Females Class will be in the exceptional care of Charles McQuattie from Strathmore in Angus. And the recipient of the Sanderson Trophy will be the decision of Ronnie Black, the face of our 2017 campaign, who has bred and shown winning Clydesdales for generations.

Having returned earlier this year from Australia where he judged the New South Wales Spring Spectacular, Chris Nye, from Holly Oaks near Ely, Cambridgeshire, will join our impressive line-up of judges for the goat classes.

"Yet again the Royal Highland Show has attracted the biggest names in the livestock industry, illustrating the standing this event holds in the sector," said Royal Highland Show Manager David Jackson. "We have an incredible line-up and I looking forward to welcoming them to what promises to be the biggest Show in our history."

Supported by RBS, the 178th Royal Highland Show will take place at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh, on June 21-24, 2018. For further information visit