WITH everything from the best livestock show in the UK, to a lively entertainments package, plus a possible world record attempt – this year’s Royal Highland Show is building up to be another cracker.

Blessed with superb weather last year, organisers will be hoping for a repeat this time for their four-day show which runs from next Thursday, June 20, to Sunday, June 23.

This year’s event comes on the back of a year of growth for the show’s governing body, which has just reported that its total income in the year ended November 30, 2018, was £9.6m – an increase of £1.56m on the previous fiscal term.

The show, of course, is the flagship event and it delivered a fifth successive year of record revenue, generating £4.76m in 2018.

There is also provision being made the new £5m members’ pavilion which is currently under construction and that means that members' facilities will once again be housed within a temporary structure – ‘Bear with us on this’, said the organisers, who plan to have it up and running by the 2020 show.

But it is – and will remain so, according to RHASS chief executive, Alan Laidlaw – an event with livestock at its heart. This year, the show pens and stalls will again be full to bursting point, with some entries having to be turned away due to a lack of space. It will again be the pinnacle for many breeders who will be bringing 5500 entries to the show with the hope of gaining that all-important rosette and maybe even a championship trophy.

The cattle housed in the Highland Hall will ensure it is at maximum capacity, with more than 1100 beef and dairy cattle – and one of the highlights will be that the dairy section has shown a strong performance this year.

Overall, the numbers are up on the year and the beef cattle classes have a strong showing from our native breeds, including a 17% increase in Highland cattle up to just shy of 100 head – a fitting element for the organisers as this breed is the figurehead of the show’s advertising campaign this year.

With 117 entries, the Shorthorns boast the largest section, while the Herefords have experienced a resurgence following a recent inter-breed championship win at Ingliston, with a jump to 65 from 54 last year. The Galloway (39), Belted Galloway (44) and British Blue (67) classes have also seen an increase from 2018.

In the dairy section, the number of entries has increased to 114 from last year’s figures. The Ayrshire class has shown yet another increase to become 2019’s largest class, with 40, up from 38 in 2018.

Sheep are on the up, with a 10-year high figure of 2128 entries. Leading the way is the Texel with 182 entries, followed by the Beltex on 174, while the Suffolk has its highest number in 10 years at 118 entries.

The show team is also highly committed to encouraging youngsters into the white-hot show atmosphere of the Highland and the young handler classes in the beef and sheep sections have both shown a strong increase, with 21 and 67 entries, respectively, who will be vying for a new overall young handler trophy.

Close to 1700 horses will be at the event, with solid numbers across all HOYS qualifying classes and the Mountain and Moorland under saddle section has increased by 11% from 2018 and is once again dominating with 220 entries. This year’s Queens Cup will be awarded in the light horse section.

The heavy horse section also continues to have a strong presence, with 416 entries. In the year of the Clydesdale Celebration, showcasing 100 years of the working animal, the males classes has seen an increase of 43% to 43 while the females dominate once again with 74 entries.

But definitely one to keep an eye out for is the Shindig in the Show – a personal introduction to the show by its chairman, Jimmy Warnock, who is hoping for what could be a world record eightsome reel on the Friday evening (7.00pm)! Even a team from The Scottish Farmer will be taking part – definitely one not to be missed.