The inaugural Royal Ulster Premier Beef and Lamb Championships surpassed all expectations last week when thousands flocked to the Eikon Exhibition Centre, at Balmoral Park.

This Bank of Ireland supported event is new to the farming calendar, but its foundations are the legendary 'Allams' show and sale which was run by the Johnston family. Stuart and Terry Johnston were both in attendance and said they could not have been happier with the championships in their new home.

It was a day to remember for young Jack Smyth, Newtownstewart, who came out on top in the cattle section with his Limousin heifer, Side Kick, when she was made supreme champion and winner of the Allams Trophy. Tipping the scales at 660kg she sold to The Morning Star – a popular pub grub stop off point in Belfast – for £4400.

Giving her a run all day in the judging ring was another all black heifer from the Killen Family, Crossgar. After a nail-biting finish in the show ring, Judge Keith Williamson tapped this October 2017-born Limousin sired heifer out as reserve supreme.

The sale ring was packed to capacity but it was a telephone bid from HG Perkins, Somerset, that secured the top sale price on the night of £5400 (981p per kg) for Robert Miller's home-bred British Blue-sired heifer, Mega Phoebe. This 550kg heifer has had a great show season and was selected as the BB-sired champion at the championships.

The same seller also got £4940 for a Limousin heifer scaling 650kg, also bought by Mr Perkins. Both were purchased for future breeding.

Mr Miller also won the coveted 'Housewives Choice' title with his British Blue steer, Mega Three, as chosen by judge, Stephen McGookin. He was later purchased by Country Meats, Aghagallon, for £2500.

The Shorthorn champion sold for £3000 to Sean McCloskey, Kilrea. Brought out by Gordon Cutler, this entry weighed in at 550kg.

Auctioneer Richard Beattie also worked hard in the rostrum for the newly introduced lamb classes which saw pairs of butchers' lambs come under the hammer. Bidding was led at a total price of £600 for a pair of smart Blue Texel-sired lambs from Iain Colville, Newtownards. These were knocked down to Grant Abraham, Ocre Foods.

And £420 was forked out by Steven Girvan for a pair of Dutch Spotted-sired ewe lambs from Liam Campbell, Carlough.

The supreme champion pen of lambs, though, came from William McAllister, Kells, who sold his Texel duo at £400 to McKees Butchers, Maghera.

Top calves on parade

The calf section of the show attracted a quality entry, led by the Workman family, Kilwaughter's home-bred Carmorn Cantona-sired Limousin heifer calf.

Prices in the section peaked at £2050 for a 330kg Charolais heifer shown by Gordon Cutler. She was snapped up by Lynda Hamilton, Omagh, for future showing.

It was a family affair in the young handler’s section when brother and sister, Victoria and Jamie Workman, were placed top of their respective age categories.