The Spring Show certainly lived up to its name at Thainstone Agricultural Centre, on Wednesday, with wall to wall blue skies and what is believed to be record breaking temperatures well into the teens.

Add to that a cracking show of livestock and happy farmers savouring what's been for many in the area a mild winter, plus the recent glorious weather, and exhibitors and spectators certainly had plenty to smile for the Royal Northern Agricultural Society's Spring Show at Thainstone.

"We've had a great day with a lot more spectators here compared to last year and the previous year," said society secretary, Alison Argo, adding that attendance figures were well in excess of 6000.

"Good weather makes a huge difference so we are absolutely delighted the way things have turned out."

Backing this up, Rodney Blackhall, president of the Royal Northern Agricultural Society, added: "We've had a great show, with a good atmosphere and a relaxed feel about it. Farmers are feeling very optimistic about the industry despite what's going on, and trade stands inside and outside are all reporting a lot of interest."

Adding to the feel good factor was the fact that the returns from this year's show would more than make up for the losses endured at the 2018 snow-bound event which although it had continued despite the arrival of the Beast from the East, had failed to pull in much of a paying public.

As always, it was the show of the exhibition cattle that attracted the biggest ringside, with the supreme championship made all the sweeter for the team at Fodderletter Farms, Tomintoul, when they not only scooped their first heifer championship but also the overall following several 'bridesmaids' tickets here.

Living up to her name for this well-known farming family and regular show supporters was I'll Be There, a Limousin cross heifer from Michael Robertson, shown by son, Mark and Sarah Balfour, with the reserve presented to the runner-up heifer, John and Craig Robertson's Limousin cross from Newton of Logierait, Pitlochry.

"The champion is a stand out animal, an easy winner," said the judge, Melanie Alford, from Devon.

"I was looking for a good showy animal with a good top, shoulder, loin and tremendous spring of rib but not an excessive back end ... and the champion had exactly that. There were a lot of good animals with that were nearer finishing, but I was looking for an animal for further showing in the summer and at the Christmas shows next winter," she added.

Her choice of champion, a 10-month-old red-coloured heifer which scaled 420kg, was bought from the Raeburn family, of Basket Farm, Blantyre, at United Auctions' breeding sale at Stirling as a calf alongside it's mother in October. Already a show winner, I'll Be There is a daughter of Mereside Lorenzo, bred from a Limousin cross dam, and was champion at the Rising Stars event here in December, She was sold for the top price of £4600 to Rebecca Stuart, Murrial, Insch.

Following her all the way in the show ring and the price ratings was reserve female from the father and son team at Newton of Logierait, which made £4300 to the judge. Previously unshown, this October, 2017-born red heifer is by Naby Director and was also bought at a United Auctions' sale at Stirling from Willie Stevenson, Coilavoulin, Pitlochry.

The Robertsons also picked up the reserve amongst the bullocks with a British Blue cross by Strathbogie Kansas, a bull which had been bought privately from Perthshire producer, Brian Webster. Home-bred, this 11-month-old black entry is out of a Limousin cross cow, scaled 420kg and sold for £1500 to DD Nelson, Mains of Lundie, Edzell, Brechin.

British Blue genetics were also behind the champion bullock from Mark and Debbie Munro, Invercharron, Ardgay. Their show stopper, a 10-month-old British Blue cross was bred by Shewglie Farmers and bought at Dingwall in October for £800. He weighed in at 480kg and sold for £1200.

Superseding that price and selling for £2000 for Invercharron, was a 560kg British Blue cross heifer by Valdes Van De Sluizenberg. Born in November, 2017, she was purchased by I Grant, Slattadale, Loch Maree, Achnasheen.

Third top price was £2300 paid for a nine-month-old Limousin heifer from the Irvine family's Braehead unit, from Drummuir, Keith, selling to the Paton family, Knachly, Dykehead, Kirriemuir. Their 374kg red heifer is by the French sire Fendt and out of a Limousin cross dam.

Just behind on £1900, Brian Harper, Greenwells, Maddiston, Falkirk, sold a 10-month-old 363kg home-bred Limousin cross heifer to JM Fraser, Easter Clune, Letham.

By the end of the day, 25 heifers sold to average 372p per kg or £1703.60, while nine steers levelled at 252.2p or £1221.11. The clearance rate was 81%.


£1500 – G Hendry's Lim cross heifer bred by TC Whiteford, Tercrosset, 386kg to C and J Hendry, Heads of Auchinderr, Aultmore, Keith; J Robertson's Lim cross heifer, by Whinfellpark Iago, 410kg, to W Peters, Cuilt Farmhouse, Monzie, Crieff; J Robertson's Lim cross heifer by Cowtham Justice, 470kg to C Drysdale, Kinnesswood, Kinross.

LEADING awards Carcase cattle/p>

Bullocks – Native – 1, W and J Cameron, Burnside; 2, B Duffton and R Stuart, Huntly; 3, AG Douglas, Crimonmogate Mains. Continental medium-weight – 1, bullock champion and reserve overall, AG Douglas with a black Limousin cross; 2, C Buchan; 3, H Brown, Auchmaliddie Mains. Heavy-weight – 1 and reserve bullock, W and J Cameron, Burnside; 2, R and D Farquhar, Tewel; 3, D Work and Sons, Mains of Dumbreck.

Heifers – Lightweight – 1, Messrs Ellis and Keir, Cairncoulie; 2, Messrs Ellis and Keir; 3, G and D Anderson, Brucewell. Medium-weight – 1, heifer champion and supreme, S Smith, B Duffton and R Stuart, The Byre, with a British Blue cross heifer bought at Dalmally last year where she stood reserve at the pre-sale show. She is bred from a Limousin cross cow and was shown by Steven Smith who was winning his second carcase championship here; 2, H Brown; 3, Auchtydore Farms, Easterton of Lenabo. Heavy-weight – 1 and 3, W and J Cameron, Burnside; 2, J Ingram and Son, Boghead of Chapel.

Exhibition cattle

Unhaltered classes – Light-weight heifers – J Robertson and Son, Newton of Logierait, Pitlochry, BB cross heifer, by Strathbogie Kansas, 443kg; 2, J Robertson and Son, Lim cross bred by J McAllister, Wester Thomaston, 444kg; 2, I Miller, Miller Farms, North Lurg, Midmar, Lim cross, 399kg. Bullocks – 1, I Miller, Miller Farms, Lim cross by Netherhall Jackpot, bred by P Cooper and Sons, Govals, 510kg; 3, I Miller, Lim cross bred by W Dandie, Broxburn, 512kg. Heavy-weight heifers – 1, W McLaren, Muirhouses, Lim cross by Normans Gamin, 479kg; 2, B Duffton and R Stuart, Huntly, Lim cross, 473kg; 3, I Miller, Char cross bred by Messrs Drysdale, Blairgowrie, 511kg.

Haltered classes – Heifers – Baby – 1, W Robertson and Son, Fodderletter Farms, Tomintoul, BB cross, Madam Mim by Midlock Jackpot, 350kg; 2, B Harper, Greenwells, Maddiston, Falkirk, Lim cross, 363kg; 3, J Robertson, Lim cross by Powerhouse Harlequin, 307kg. Super-light – 1, B Duffton and R Stuart, Lim cross bred by P MacNamee, 418kg; 2, J Robertson, Lim cross by Whinfellpark Iago, 410kg; 3, Anside Pedigree, Braehead, Drummuir, Keith, Lim cross by Fendt, 374kg. Light-weight – 1, heifer champion and supreme, W Robertson and Son, Lim cross by Mereside Lorenzo, bred by Messrs Raeburn, Basket Farm, Blantyre, 420kg; 2, J Munro and Son, Invercharron, Ardgay, BB cross bred by Sheglie Farmers, 430kg; 3, B Duffton and R Stuart, Char cross, 437kg. Medium-weight – 1, reserve heifer and reserve overall, J Robertson and Son, Lim cross by Naby Director, bred by W Stevenson, Coilavoulin, 484kg; 2, L Milne, Middlethird, Methlick, Ellon, Lim cross, 460kg; 3, J Robertson and Son, Lim cross by Cowtham Justice, 470kg. Heavy-weight – 1, A Fraser, Easter Clune, Nairn, Lim cross bred by MacArthur Bros, Mid Fleenas, 493kg; 2, G and J Greenlaw, Balgairn Farms, Aboyne, Lim cross by Culnagechan Idaho, 491kg; 3, W Robertson and Son, BB cross bred by C and E Oag, Buchaam, Strathdon, 518kg. Super-heavy – 1, J Robertson and Son, BB cross bred by RJ Lines, Killocraw, by Netherwood sire, 602kg; 2, J Munro and Son, Invercharron, BB cross by Vales Van De Sluizenweg, 560kg; 3, J Robertson and Son, Lim cross by Calogale Irresistable, 535kg.

Bullocks – Light-weight – 1, and reserve bullock, J Robertson and Son, BB cross by Strathbogie Kansas, 420kg; 2, G Hendry, Heads of Auchinderran, Keith, Lim cross bred by TC Whiteford, Tercrosset, Carlisle, 434kg; 3, D Watt, Oldwhat Mains, New Deer, Lim cross, 445kg. Medium-weight – 1 and bullock champion, J Munro and Son, BB cross bred by Shewglie Farmers, 480kg; 2, J Robertson and Son, Lim cross by Glenrock Inferno, 460kg; 3, J Munro and Son, BB cross bred by Shewglie Farmers, 475kg. Heavy-weight – 1, B Duffton and R Stuart, Lim cross bred by E Jones, Coedmore, 630kg; 2, G Fraser, Easter Clune, Lim cross bred by Macarthar Bros, Mid Fleenas, 495kg; 3, B Duffton and R Stuart, Lim cross bred by E MacGillivray, Barcaldine Home Farm, 498kg.


Barley – Spring seed barley – 1 and barley champion, W Dick and Sons, Mains of Throsk, (Sassy) WN Lindsay; 2 and reserve barley, EM Kerr and Son, Barrelwell (Sassy) WN Lindsay; 3, G Wilson, Turtory (Laureate).

Spring barley – 1, A Grant, Skillymarno (Propino).

Winter barley – 1, W Sharp, Castleton (KWS Cassia); 2, A Grant, Skillymarno (Cassia); 3, R Angus, Barrogill Mains (KWS Tower).

Spring malting barley – 1, Messrs Strachan, Newmains (Concerto) WN Lindsay; 2, Melrose Farms, East Melrose (Chronicle) Scotgrain; 3, Messrs Wilson, Fichlie (Concerto) WN Lindsay.

Milling oats – 1 and champion oats, R Angus, Barrogill Mains (Aspen); 2, G Campbell Farmers, Thurdistoft (Canyon); 3, W and F Webster, Loanhead (Aspen).

Wheat – 1 and champion wheat, A Grant, Skillymarno (Istabraq); 2 and reserve, AM and AJ Jacobsen, Grange of Kinneff (Barrel) WN Lindsay; 3, AM and AJ Jacobsen (Viscount) WN Lindsay.


Ware potatoes – 12 white potatoes – 1, DL Simpson, Millmoss Nurseries (Nicola); 2, G Cumming, Sclattie Circle (Nadine); 3, DL Simpson (Nicola). 12 coloured – 1, DL Simpson (Maxine); 2, DL Simpson (Maxine); 3, G Cumming (Kestrel).

Turnips – Yellow or white fleshed – 1, Downie Quines, Mains of Techmuiry (Kenmore); 2, J and E Forrester, Aldie (Massiff); 3, HP Sleigh and Son, St Johns Wells (Kenmore). Purple top Swedish – 1, J and E Forrester, Aldie (Lomond); 2, J Troup, Southbank (Marian or Lomond); 3, M Stuart, Milltown of Birness (Lomond). Green or bronze top – 1 and champion, J and E Forrester (Kenmore), 2, and 3, J and E Forrester (Triumph and Kenmore). Shopping turnips or swedes – 1 and reserve, HP Sleigh and Son (Magres); 2, J Troup (Marian or Lomond); 3, J and E Forrester (Doon Major).

Silage and hay

Silage and hay – Grass/clover pit silage – 1 and champion, R Catto, Hillhead of Muirton; 2, Messrs Pirie, Blackhill; 3, J Sim, Rorandle. Baled or wrapped silage – 1 and reserve, R Catto; 2, T Connell, Little Muddy; 3, KH and KM Marshall, Mains of Ellon.

Natural hay – 1, J Sim; 2, W Stewart, Bomakelloch; 3, G Breathet, Woodside Croft.


Prime hoggs – Two lightweight, two mediumweight – CL Wylie, Balrydie. Two heavyweight – D and J Thomson, West Park. Breeding sheep – Three Texel cross hoggs – S Connon, North Quilquox. Three Mule hoggs, three Cheviot Mule hoggs – HP Sleigh and Sons, St Johns Wells. Three any other breed or cross hoggs – A and SJ Forbes, Dalrachie.

Auctioneers: Aberdeen and Northern Marts.