Exhibitors and spectators can look forward to another jam-packed, cracking day out for this year's Royal Northern Spring Show at Thainstone Centre, Inverurie, on Wednesday, February 27, which has again attracted a top quality line-up of livestock and trade stands.

Organiser, Alison Argo, secretary of the Royal Northern Agricultural Society, reports that all outside stand space has been taken up and only a few spaces are left in the marquee for inside stands.

As the first show of the season with a long tradition going back to the 1800s, the event is again set to draw a large attendance from throughout the North-east – and also much further afield – to view all the latest in farm machinery and enjoy the judging of prime cattle, sheep and horses in the show rings.

“The farming public turns out for the Spring Show irrespective of the weather but we’re certainly hoping for a better day than last year when adverse weather marred the show,” says Alison.

The Royal Northern Countryside Initiative will also be arranging to bring around 300 primary school children to the show in school groups to help children understand the importance of farming and where their food comes from with the ever-growing pressure on farmers from the vegan lobby, the need to reduce carbon emissions which is threatening the livestock sector and proposed measures to alleviate the effects of climate change.

The society’s proud history is something this year’s show president, Rodney Blackhall, is very much aware of as he leads the society into this year’s show.

“I’ve been a director of the RNAS for six years and it’s an honour to be elected president,” says Rodney, who farms at The Green, Raemoir, near Banchory, where he is a tenant of Dunecht Estate.

“The society does a great job in promoting the industry which is getting more important than ever as we face a barrage of negative publicity from vegans and the climate change lobby.”

The society is always grateful to the support the show receives from agricultural businesses, through sponsorship or taking trade stands, which provides the essential funding to make the show the great success it always is.

However, the show has also always been recognised as an event where business is done as farmers continue to invest to become even more efficient in these straitened and uncertain times.

After last summer’s drought, livestock have come through the winter well and although it’s been an expensive winter, with hay, straw and feed prices soaring astronomical levels, the favourable late autumn weather, mild winter and hopefully early spring, will shorten the winter.

This year’s show will have a new sponsor for the show’s flagship event, the show of exhibition cattle which has attracted an entry of 60 from leading herds in the North-east and central Scotland. New sponsor, Banff–based Kubota dealers and specialist machinery suppliers, Cc Powell, have stepped in to take over the mantle from long-time sponsor, Stewart Agriculture.

“We are keen to elevate our company profile and delighted to have the opportunity to support the show and sponsor one of the most important sectors of the show which always attracts the cream of Scottish beef cattle and sheep,” said managing director, Chris Powell.

“In the past, we have been more arable orientated and now we are keen to support the livestock sector.”

In addition to Kubota, the company holds dealerships for several other top brands, including Grimme potato equipment, Greencrop, Ktwo trailers and muck spreaders, Chafer sprayers, Horstine chemical application systems and INO flail mowers and grass toppers.

While the trade stands always pull in huge crowds, so too does the show of commercial calves which this year has attracted an entry of 60 head from some of the top breeders in the country.

Regular winners, father and son team, John and Craig Robertson from Newton of Logierait, Pitlochry, will have another big team forward from Newton of Logierait, Pitlochry too. The duo, who have scooped the supreme championship six times since 2010 and last year, sold the top price animal at £7800 this time have 12 calves entered to include a full sister to the 2018 sale leader.

Other regular consignors, Mark and Debby Munro, Invercharron, Ardgay, who have enjoyed numerous wins at Thainstone, and last year sold the overall champion at the Spectacular show and sale for £4000, have eight calves entered.

Keith-based commercial showmen, Gordon Hendry and sons, Craig and Jack, Heads of Auchinderran, have booked in five calves for this year’s show and sale, while other regular show winners, the Robertsons from Easter Fodderletter, Tomintoul, have four heading to Thainstone for the Spring Show.

Huntly and Insch duo, Blair Duffton and Rebecca Stuart, will also return to this year’s event with five calves, as will Ian Miller of Miller Farms, North Lurg, Midmar, who has four calves booked in.

Judging the commercial cattle entries, which will occur following the show and sales of bulls, will be well-known pedigree and commercial producer, Mrs Melanie Alford, Staplegrove Mills, Staplegrove, Taunton.

John Angus, head of livestock at Thainstone, said: “The livestock sale element of the Royal Northern Spring Show is a fast-growing part of the event and we are delighted to be working once again with the Royal Northern Agricultural Society.

"The Spring Show is now recognised as the No 1 place for buyers from near and far to come and source quality calves with further showing potential.”

Bull sale

Aberdeen and Northern Marts' spring bull sale staged alongside the Royal Northern Spring Show, has attracted an entry of 95 bulls from eight breeds.

The entry comprises Aberdeen-Angus (14), Charolais (30), Limousin (16 + 2 females), Simmental (20), Salers (8), Hereford (2), Beef Shorthorn (2) and British Blue (1).

“We will have an excellent show of quality bulls and there will be something there to suit all buyers’ requirements,” said John Angus, ANM's head of livestock.

The show will be judged by Bob Adam, Newhouse of Glamis, Forfar.

Spring Show judges

Cattle and sheep

Exhibition cattle – Mrs Melanie Alford, Foxhill Livestock, Blackborough, Cullompton, Devon

Carcase cattle – Jim Watson, Muchall, Stonehaven

Prime hoggs – Steven Crozier, Lockerbie

Breeding sheep – Matt Drummond, Maybole, Ayrshire

Carcases (cattle and hoggs) – Eric Buchan, Torphins

Cereals, roots and hay

Cereals – Iain Davidson, Inverurie

Potatoes and turnips – John Heapjy, Limagrain, Humbie, East Lothian

Silage and hay – Ronald Barron, Darrahill, Udny

Horses and ponies

Clydesdale – Benny Duncan, Balmalcolm

Shetland, miniature and young handlers – Jem Roberts, Shetland

Highland – Mrs Audrey Barron, Arbroath

Mountain and Moorland and young handlers – James Munro, Wick

Ride and drive and light horses and ponies – Russell Skelton, Wick

Overall – Mrs Jane McInnes Home Farm, Maryculter

Young farmers

Stockjudging – John Pirie, Kingussie

Carcases – Eric Buchan, Torphins

Decorative box of produce – John Heaphy, Limagrain, Humbie, East Lothian

Industrial display – Mrs Marie Adams, Auchterless


SWI – Mrs Mary Cuthbert, Broughty Ferry, Dundee

Trade stands – George Skinner, Strathorn, Old Rayne, and Rob Newlands, Cluny, Forres