IT is set to be another stellar show of stock, trade stands and machinery at the Royal Northern Spring Show as it welcomes an increased number of entries and a waiting list for trade stands.

As the event, held at Thainstone Centre on Wednesday, February 28, goes from strength to strength, exhibitors may be feeling the pinch as farmers tighten the purse strings in these uncertain times.

A highlight for many is the show and sale of exhibition cattle which always attracts an outstanding show of quality beef cattle and show enthusiasts from all over the country, with many of the top cattle being purchased for further showing during the summer. A total of 55 entries will strut their stuff in the show ring this year before they are sold in the hopes of surpassing the £9000 Spring Show record set last year by a 10-month-old Limousin cross heifer from regular winners at the Spring Show, John and Craig Robertson, from Newton of Logierait. This section will be judged by Yorkshire man, Mark Harryman, of Swainsea Barn, Pickering.

Aberdeen and Northern Marts’ annual spring show and sale of pedigree bulls is now an integral part of the show and this year has attracted 94 entries, the comprising Aberdeen-Angus, Charolais, Limousin, Simmental, Salers and Hereford breeds. In charge of this section is North-east of England Charolais and Aberdeen-Angus breeder, Alan Lawson, of South Farm, Hallington, Newcastle On Tyne.

ANM auctioneer, John Angus, who recently appointed head of livestock, says the show remains one of the best events in the North-east to source top quality livestock.

“The livestock sale element of the show is a fast-growing part of the event and we are delighted to be working once again with the RNAS,” said Mr Angus. “We will have a strong entry of pedigree bulls forward from noted North-east breeders and top-quality exhibition cattle suitable for further showing on offer.

“We invite everyone to come to Thainstone Centre for the chance to see and purchase some of the best livestock in the region.”

As well as judging live cattle on the hoof, there is a carcase show held at Scotbeef Inverurie's meat processing plant on the day following the show, and this year the carcase classes have been split in two – for continental-sired and Aberdeen-Angus-sired cattle.

The horse and pony section continues in popularity as the entry of more than 200 equines will welcome a new section for sport and performance horses, as well as the usual large entries of native ponies, hunters and coloureds.

RNAS president, Robbie Newlands, of Cluny, Rafford, Forres, and secretary, Alison Argo, are looking for a large attendance on the day given half-decent weather, although snow and sleet has never stopped farmers coming to the show in previous years.

“We’re going to have a terrific show once again and I’m grateful to all exhibitors and my committee, who every year put in so much work to ensure the success of the event,” said Mr Newlands.

All the show trophies, including the HC Sleigh Trophy for the most points, presented by the Sleigh family in memory of the late Harry Sleigh, a former president of the RNAS, will take place at the Porterhouse Restaurant at Thainstone later on in the year.

Farm machinery companies in particular will be hoping that the slightly improved profitability of farming over the past year, the Scottish Government’s loan scheme which has shelled out over £300 million to farmers still awaiting their BPS payments and the commitment of the UK government to continue the present level of support for farming at least until 2025, will give farmers the confidence to invest.

The industry is facing interesting times and we are about to see a revolution in farming over the next few years as new technology kicks in, both in the arable and livestock sectors, with the adoption of precision farming and the application of genomics greatly speeding up genetic improvement in livestock breeding programmes.

All the latest farm machinery will be on display at the show and while the price tags may at times be eye-watering, tooling up properly for the job is important. It might well be worth paying a few thousand more for a higher capacity machine if it enables crops to be secured timeously in the short window often available for sowing and harvesting and the cost can be spread over more acres by doing a bit of contracting or working for the machinery ring.

Investment has to be made for the right reasons. Gone are the days of making a snap decision to buy when attracted by a new shiny machine on a trade stand. Keeping up with the Jones’s and buying something to just keep up with the neighbours is no longer an option for farmers. Investment needs to be justified and carefully thought out.

Farmers must, of course, have the capacity to take full advantage of favourable weather when it comes and failing to secure a crop at harvest time can be a costly alternative. All these conflicting issues have to be weighed up when considering investment in new machinery.

This year’s show will see the RNAS Machinery Trophy awarded for the best outdoor stand and a new trophy, presented by George Duncan Agri Solutions of Alford, for the best indoor stand.



Exhibition cattle Mark Harryman, Swainsea Barn, Pickering, Yorks

Carcase cattle John Troup, Southbank, Skene, Westhill

Prime hoggs Andrew Morton, Lochend, Denny, Stirling

Breeding sheep John MacGregor, Allanfauld, Kilsyth, Glasgow

Carcases (cattle and hoggs) Eric Buchan, Glenisla, Grampian Terrace, Torphins


Cereals Ian Keith, 10 Old Course Avenue, Inverurie

Potatoes and turnips Ron Dawson, Aranpadea, Kennethmont, Huntly

Silage and hay Ali Martin, Garguston, Muir of Ord, Ross-shire


Clydesdale Alistair Christie, 15 Endick Gardens, Balfron

Shetland, miniature and young handlers Brian Hunter, Maunderville, Uyeasound, Unst, Shetland

Highland ponies William Allan, Millfield, Knowehead, Freuchie, Cupar, Fife

Mountain and Moorland Kirsty Aird, Kirkfortha, Markinch, Fife

Hunters and hacks, sport and performance horses Pat Stirling, South Blainslie, Galashiels, Borders

Coloured, and ride and drive Nicola Neill, Thornington, Mindrum, Coldstream, Borders

Young handlers and overall horse and pony championship Jill Cousens, Cromlix Stables, Dunblane


Stockjudging Callum Chalmers, Midhill of Seggat, Auchterless, Turriff

Carcases Eric Buchan

Decorative box of produce Ron Dawson

Industrial display Lynne petrie, Broomhead, Durris, Banchory


SWI Sheila Gillon, Lower Toftingall, Watten, Caithness

Trade stands John Telfer, Woodend Place, Aberdeen, and Janelle Anderson, Easterton, Old Rayne