HAVING returned to its traditional May date after a slimmed down version in September 2021, Balmoral Show was hailed a success by organisers Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS).

More than 100,000 visitors attended the show over the four days which is good news for the RUAS as it desperately tries to balance the books after suffering heavy losses of over £1m following the cancellation of the 2020 show .

The Scottish Farmer: Jack Smyth holding his Charolais breed champion and overall interbreed champion, Bessiebell NanaJack Smyth holding his Charolais breed champion and overall interbreed champion, Bessiebell Nana

Whether its intentional or not, the RUAS is saving money on the salary of a chief executive as it currently is operating without one.

Former RUAS chief executive, Alan Crowe, took the lead post in 2018 but left the position, quite quickly, in November 2021. All the RUAS would say this week was: “Alan Crowe left the organisation on November 12, 2021 and the society wishes him well in his future endeavours.”

The Scottish Farmer: Pat Kelly's Simmental champion and reserve inter-breed beef, Ashland Topaz LopezPat Kelly's Simmental champion and reserve inter-breed beef, Ashland Topaz Lopez

Out in the livestock rings overall entries were down by more than 10% to 876 sheep and 590 cattle. 


The Scottish Farmer: Aberdeen-Angus champion, Woodvale Delia X867, from the Armour familyAberdeen-Angus champion, Woodvale Delia X867, from the Armour family

A number of breeds stayed clear of the event. There were no Dairy Shorthorn cattle and Blackface, Greyface, Mules and Swaledales opted not to compete in the sheep section. These absent breeds in the sheep rings normally brought big entry numbers but breeders cited high entry costs and four show days being too long as their main reasons for not attending.

The Scottish Farmer: Lleyn champion was Andrew Kennedy's gimmerLleyn champion was Andrew Kennedy's gimmer

On the flip side, three new sheep breeds were present at the show for the first time. Bleu de Maine, Valais Blacknose and Berrichon helped bolster numbers but were restricted to 20 entries per breed.

A splendid Texel gimmer from Gary Beacom’s flock in Tempo took the overall sheep inter-breed championship as well as the short wool championship.

The Scottish Farmer: Jimmy Mills, Kilwaughter, won the Bluefaced Leicester championship and reserve inter-breed sheepJimmy Mills, Kilwaughter, won the Bluefaced Leicester championship and reserve inter-breed sheep

Judge Brian McTaggart, Castle Douglas, put the long wool champion, the Bluefaced Leicester gimmer from James Mills, Larne, as reserve inter-breed sheep

There were a lot of eyes on the world’s cutest sheep, the Valais Blacknose breed. Winning the breed’s first ever championship at the show was Geoffrey and Irene Gray from Antrim.

The Scottish Farmer: Martin and Cyril Millar's Holstein champion and reserve inter-breed dairy champion Peak Chief FranMartin and Cyril Millar's Holstein champion and reserve inter-breed dairy champion Peak Chief Fran

In the beef lines, the home-bred Charolais cow, Bessiebell Nana, from Jack Smyth, Newtownstewart, was crowned inter-breed supreme. She was shown with her five-month-old twin calves at foot and was an easy pick for the overall judge Michael Durno from Aberdeenshire.

Bessiebell Nana, a five-year-old by Derryharney Jumbo, is currently in a flushing programme and was providing Mr Smyth with his first inter-breed championship at Balmoral.

The Scottish Farmer: Inter-breed dairy champion, was the Jersey Potterswalls Bontino Dawn from the Fleming familyInter-breed dairy champion, was the Jersey Potterswalls Bontino Dawn from the Fleming family

Standing in reserve was the Simmental champion, a heifer from Pat Kelly in Tempo. Ashland Topaz Lopez is a September 2020-born daughter of Saltire Impressive.

The Scottish Farmer: Champion Limousin, Jalex Riri, from James AlexanderChampion Limousin, Jalex Riri, from James Alexander

The Aberdeen Angus champion was the 14-month-old heifer, Woodvale Delia X867, bred by the Armour family from Dromara. Sired by Oak Moor Lord Ivanho, she stood out for judge Brian Clarke of the Duncanziemere herd, Cumnock who said: “This heifer is very correct and was an easy winner. She is sweet and feminine, and has that little bit of extra flash.”

The Scottish Farmer: Alfred and Norman Robinson's champion North Country CheviotAlfred and Norman Robinson's champion North Country Cheviot

In the dairy rings, it was the Jersey cow, Potterswalls Bontino Dawn from the Fleming Family, Downpatrick, that had the extra sparkle for sole dairy judge, Welshman, Iwan Morgan.

The Scottish Farmer: Champion Suffolk from Dennis TaylorChampion Suffolk from Dennis Taylor

Previously unshown, this home-bred cow is by Cairnbrae Bontino and on average produces 7000 litres per year at 6.9%BF and 4.5%P.

Reserve inter-breed was the Holstein champion from Cyril and Martin Millar, Coleraine. Peak Chief Fran, a five-year-old by Stantons Chief, is due to calf in September.

The Scottish Farmer: Inter-breed sheep champion, the Texel from Gary BeacomInter-breed sheep champion, the Texel from Gary Beacom

As the show neared its end on Saturday, Rhonda Geary, RUAS operations director, said: “We have had a fantastic four days for this year’s Balmoral Show. The crowds continued every day and once again there was something for everyone, from fantastic food to family entertainment and exceptional livestock.


Inter-breed champion – Jack Smyth, Newtownstewart, with Charolais cow, Bessiebell Nana, by Derryharney Jumbo

Reserve inter-breed – Pat Kelly, Tempo, with the Simmental heifer, Ashland Topaz Lopez, by Saltire Impressive

Breed champions

– Champion – Alwyn Armour, Dromore, with the heifer, Woodvale Delia X867, by Oak Moor Lord Ivanho; reserve, John Henning, Moira, with the cow, Drumcorn Lady Ida, by Blelack Duke J262.

Hereford – Champion – Haire family, Crumlin, with the heifer, Dorepoll 1 Sally 679, by 1 Perfection; reserve, James Graham, Portadown, with the bull, Richmond 1 Treadstone, by Mawarra Mustang.

Charolais – Champion – Jack Smyth, Newtownstewart, with the cow, Bessiebell Nana, by Derryharney Jumbo; reserve, WD and JA Connolly, with the bull, Brigadoon Sicily, by Newhouse Maxamus.

Simmental – Champion – Pat Kelly, Tempo, with the heifer, Ashland Topaz Lopez, by Saltire Impressive; reserve, WD and JD Hazelton, with the heifer, Ranfurly Stella 12, by Whitmire King Kong.

Limousin – Champion – James Alexander, Randalstown, heifer, Jalex Riri, by Trueman Natkingcole; reserve, DG Green, Lisburn, with the cow, Glenrock Inclusive, by Bremore Artist.

British Blonde – Champion – Molly Bradley, Armagh, with the heifer, Dernasigh Sally, by Gazou; reserve, I and R McElroy, with the bull, Nigransha Paddy Power, by Baltra Iceman

British Blue – Champion – Artlone Livestock, Randalstown, with the cow, Solway View Oki Doki, by Empire D’Ochain; reserve, Melvin Masterson, Co Wexford, with the cow, Boroside Lemon, by Dafydd.

Salers – Champion – Lisnamaul Salers, Downpatrick, with the heifer, Lisnamaul Princess, by Nemo; reserve John Elliott, Newtownstewart, with the cow, Drumlegagh Monique, by Fanfan.

Beef Shorthorn – Champion – Graham Duncan, Craigavon, with the heifer, Aghalee Rhona, by Creaga Logic; reserve, Caramba Shorthorns, with the bull, Westmoor Merlin, by Westmoor Merlin NT419.

Dexter – Champion – Matthew Bloomer, Dungannon, with the bull, Northbrook Atlas, by Saltaire Apple; reserve, James McCullough, Holywood, with the cow, Ballydavey Blossom, by Ballydavey Enzo.

Irish Moiled – Champion – Edwards and McCauley, Dungannon, with the heifer, Curraghnakeely Sylvia 0563, by Waikato Alister; reserve, Brian O’Kane, Ballymena, with the heifer, Ravelglen Josie, by Dungallia Tauras.

Commercial cattle – Champion – JCB Commercials, Newtownards, with British Blue cross Limousin heifer, Totally Illegal, by Mereside Lorenzo; reserve, Messrs Dufton, Small and Wilkinson, with Limousin cross British Blue heifer.


Inter-breed champion – Fleming family, Downpatrick, with the Jersey supreme, Potterswalls Bontino Dawn, by Cairnbrae Bontino

Reserve inter-breed – Martin and Cyril Millar, Coleraine, with the Holstein champion, Peak Chief Fran, by Stantons Chief.

Breed champions

Holstein – Champion – Martin and Cyril Millar, Coleraine, with Peak Chief Fran, by Stantons Chief; reserve, S and J McCormick, Bangor, with Hiltara Undenied Apple, by Our Favourite Undenied.

Jersey – Champion – Fleming Family, Downpatrick, with Potterswalls Bontino Dawn, by Cairnbrae Bontino; reserve, Fleming family, with Potterswalls Impression Magic 2, by Rock Ella Impression.

Ayrshire – Champion – Christian Keenan, Monaghan, with Threemile Elegant Bella, by Haresfoot Elegant; reserve, R McConnell, with Beechmount Russett 9, by Brieryside Magic.


Inter-breed champion – Gary Beacom, Fivemiletown, with the short wool champion, a Texel gimmer.

Reserve inter-breed – James Mills, Larne, with the long wool champion, a Bluefaced Leicester gimmer.

Breed champions

Beltex – Champion – Andrew McCutcheon, Trillick, ewe; reserve, David Brown, Newry, shearling ram.

Berrichon – Champion – Ryan McLaren, Dromore, ram; reserve, Jayne Tannahill, Coleraine, ram lamb.

Bleu de Maine – Champion – Andrew Wilson, Moira, ewe; reserve, Glen Baird, Armagh, ewe.

Blue Texel – Champion – Clive Richardson, Maguiresbridge, ewe lamb; reserve, Kaine Hoden, gimmer.

Bluefaced Leicester – Champion – James Mills, Larne, gimmer; reserve, Julie Loughery, Limavady, gimmer.

Border Leicester – Champion – Harold Dickey, Ballymena, shearling ram; reserve, Staphen Walace, Doagh, ewe.

Charollais – Diane Christie, Newtownards, ewe; reserve, Alister Moore, Portglenone, shearling ram.

Dorset – Champion – Alistair Moore, Portgenone, ewe lamb; reserve, Shane Wilson, Ballynure, ram lamb

Dutch Spotted – Champion – Liam Campbell, Carnlough, ram; reserve, Allen Shortt, Strabane, ram lamb.

Hampshire Down – Champion – Kevin McCarthy, Comber, ram lamb; reserve, Jim Fletcher, Comber, gimmer.

Ile de France – Champion – Rodney Balfour, Enniskillen, two-shear ram; reserve, Rodger Milligan, Maghera, ewe.

Jacob – Champion – Jonathan Harkness, Moira, gimmer; reserve, Jonathan Harkness, ram lamb.

Kerry Hill – Champion – Sean McAllister, Ballycastle, gimmer; reserve, Sean McAllister, ewe lamb.

Lleyn – Champion – Andrew Kennedy, Ballyclare, gimmer; reserve, Andrew Kennedy, shearling ram.

North Country Cheviot – Champion – A Robinson, Downpatrick, ewe; reserve, Messrs Graham and McNeil, Toomebridge, two-shear ram.

Minority breeds – Rebecca McBratney, Bangor, ewe; reserve, Philip Kelly, Armagh, two-shear ram.

Rouge de L’Ouest – Champion – Michael Graham, Antrim, ewe lamb; reserve James Kerr, Moira, two-shear ram.

Suffolk – Champion – Dennis Taylor, Coleraine, gimmer; reserve, Dennis Taylor, shearling ram.

Texel – Champion – Gary Beacom, Fivemiletown, gimmer; reserve Eugene Branagan, Kilcoo, ewe lamb

Valais Blacknose – Champion – Irene Gray, Antrim, ewe; reserve, Ryan Conway, Strabane, ram.

Zwartbles – Champion – Catherine McCracken, Banbridge, gimmer; reserve, C and D Cromie, Ballynahinch, ram.


Champion – Macfin Clydesdales, Ballymoney, with filly Macfin Delta Dawn, by Muirton Sabre; reserve, Macfin Clydesdales with Macfin Dancing Queen, by Muirton Sabre.