Many of Scotland’s foremost dairy farmers will be exhibiting at Carlisle’s Borderway UK Dairy Expo, which has again attracted in the region of 400 head of top quality show animals, all vying for a share of the £15,000 prize money up for grabs, on Saturday, March 9.

With eight years of success under it's belt, the UK Dairy Expo returns to the Borderway Exhibition Centre, Carlisle, in a bid to strengthen its position in the British and global dairy industry scene, linking farmers, exhibitors, and sector representatives, and uniting the experienced dairy men and women with the younger generation.

An exhibition of the latest genetics, science and technology, and a major platform for business, the UK Dairy Expo is also growing in its hub for advice, information, exchange, and commerce, with its importance reiterated by the number of trade stand attendees.

"Borderway UK Dairy Expo is a really important show to us: it’s great for business, it’s great to meet and greet all of our members at this fantastic time of the year. It is the right time of the year to do business with dairy farmers," said Sue Cope, chief executive of Holstein UK.

However, it is the show of superior dairy animals that many go to view and this year, the event's 400 head will be competing in a total of 70 classes across the seven breed sections – Holstein, Ayrshire, Jersey, Dairy Shorthorn, Red and White, and Brown Swiss. This year's event also hosts the British Friesian National Show.

For the exhibitors, winning adds to the reputation of the herd, and makes its livestock more valuable in the marketplace. Last year saw new records too, with the prestigious champion of champions accolade presented for a third time to Peak Goldwyn Rhapsody Ex97 6E, a seventh calver from Sterndale in Derbyshire, which was also awarded the same accolade in 2014 and 2017.

Commenting on the quality of animals forward, David Pritchard, event organiser and joint managing director at Harrison and Hetherington, said: “The global reach of Borderway UK Dairy Expo and the reputation of British dairy genetics is no better illustrated by willingness of the international team of judges to attend. All endorse the view that judging at this event is a privilege and with such exceptional quality of livestock to judge, often a challenge.”

This year’s four judges are travelling from North America, Canada, and across the UK are all highly-respected individuals too.

Carl Saucier, from Canada, will place the Holstein, Brown Swiss and Dairy Shorthorn classes; Molly Sloan, from the USA will select the Ayrshire, Jersey and Red and White classes and Mark Logan from Northern Ireland will judge the National British Friesian Show. Ben Yates from Somerset, UK will be the man in the middle, selecting the winners in the showmanship class.

Carl Saucier, from Champlain, in Québec, has worked with some of the biggest names in dairy genetics. He has been an official judge for Holstein Canada since 1996 and judged several shows in Québec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, United States, Belgium, France, Portugal, Costa Rica, Australia and Japan.

Molly Sloan, the Ayrshire, Jersey and Red and White judge, is from Wisconsin and is a renowned figure in the international genetics industry. She has judged major shows in 15 states throughout the US and has been a lead judge twice at World Dairy Expo, and at major shows in Australia, Brazil, France, Peru and Canada.

Closer to home, Mark Logan from Northern Ireland is a former championship winner himself and has an impressive record of judging duties including The Royal Welsh, The Royal Highland, The Great Yorkshire, The Royal Cornwall, UK Dairy Day and The Autumn Show on Jersey Island.

Showmanship judge, Ben Yates, who manages the Y-Farm Partnership farm near Shepton Mallet, Somerset, also boasts a first-class judging record which includes the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show, Emerald Expo, Celtic Show Case, The All Ireland Calf Show and The Winter Show, Drenthe, Holland.

For many, competing and showing cattle in world class dairy events starts at a young age and it takes a huge amount of time, commitment and dedication, with many starting as young as five-years-old.

Specifically tailored to encourage young people to take part, the Showmanship Youth Championships and stock judging classes inspire the next generation of dairy breeders and attract dozens of young breeders from across the UK and Europe.

Acknowledging that individuals are also key in the continuing success of UK Dairy is the presence of The John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award. Now in its sixth year, the award is presented by the family of John Dennison of Cumbria, who was one of the industry’s most respected breeders until his sad death in 2012.

Seen as the “Oscar” of the dairy arena, it recognises a dairy cattle breeder, or exhibitor judged to be a high achiever and excellent role model within the industry. Already entries are being received by the judging panel for 2019. Last year’s winner was Jimmy Wilson from the Tregibby herd in Cardigan, Wales and a past president of the Holstein Association. The winner of the 2019 John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award will be announced during the judging of the Holstein classes on show day.

Outwith the actual show of livestock, the Borderway UK Dairy Expo, is also an event for the industry with UK and International business exhibitors representing all sectors. An a-z of companies and organisations features accountancy, breeding, buildings, engineering, equipment, feeding, financial, genetics, legal, technology, and veterinary – all there to provide advice and support, and to help farmers and breeders plan for the future. Many of the exhibitors will also be on hand to demonstrate the use of their products and appliances first hand.

Success is also demonstrated through the continued support received from mainline sponsors; Holstein UK, CIS, Norbrook, Farmers Guardian, Carrs Billington and new for 2019, HSBC. Demonstrating the key role these organisations have in the industry, their presence and sponsorship also ensures the continued appearance of UK Dairy Expo as an annual event.

Commenting on the 2019 event, David Pritchard added: “We really are delighted that Borderway UK Dairy Expo has become such an important event for dairy farmers, and for the wider industry as a whole. Rarely do dairy farmers get the chance to attend a specialist event, offering advice on a broad range of subjects related to the profitability of their business. Dairy Expo is now widely recognised as doing just this, and I believe explains why the event goes from strength to strength."

He added: “As everyone knows, 2019 is going to be a year of uncertainties, however, one thing that I know is certain, is that UK Borderway Dairy Expo will once again welcome thousands of progressive dairy farmers all wanting to gather the latest information to help them to future-proof their business”, concludes David.

* The 2019 Borderway UK Dairy Expo takes place at the Borderway Exhibition Centre, Carlisle, on Saturday, March 9, 2019 and continues to be free for all spectators who attend.