Royal Highland Show 2019: Winners from the livestock rings

Winning his first-ever beef interbreed title at the Royal Highland Show and marking his 50th year since the establishment of the Balthayock Charolais herd was 85-year-old Major Walter from Perthshire.

Taking home the silverware was his two-year-old Dingle Hofmeister-sired heifer, Balthayock Nessie.

Charolais champion

Charolais heifer Balthayock Nessie from Major Walter’s Balthayock herd, Perthshire © Tim Scrivener

The Balthayock herd was one of the earliest Charolais herds to be established in the UK, with the first bull bought at the Royal Highland showground in 1969.

The winning heifer is in calf to Barbican Lancer and was shown by Davie and Tracey Nicoll. Commenting on his win, Major Walter said:

“It is all thanks to my wonderful team and their dedication and hard work that we have won today. The breed has improved enormously over the past 50 years, thanks to Breedplan identifying the genetic value scientifically.”

Taking the reserve title was Michael and Melanie Alford of Foxhill Livestock, Devon, with Foxhillfarm Naomi.

Limousin champion

Limousin heifer Foxhillfarm Naomi shown by Melanie Alford, Devon © Tim Scrivener

This home-bred two-year-old heifer is out of Foxhillfarm Isla, which is out of the herd’s foundation cow Bankdale Alice.

Alice has bred more than £1m worth of progeny. Naomi is sired by Trueman Jagger.

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She is no stranger to the show ring, having won breed and interbreed champion at the Devon and Royal Cornwall Show this year. She was the only Limousin entry from the Alfords at the show.

She has been AId to Ampertaine Foreman and has had six embryos flushed from her – two of which were implanted.

The judge, Stewart Wood, who farms 160 Simmental cross Limousin cows in Orkney, said the champion was full of breed character and had a lot of style.

He added: “The Lim was a close second, but it just lacked a little bit of breed character.”

Dairy interbreed

Taking the dairy interbreed championship title for a second year running was “every dairyman’s dream”, according to judge Paul Harrison, who milks 100 cows near Heddon on the Wall, Northumberland.

He described the winner, third-calver Blythbridge Jessy, as a page three girl with beautiful balance that walks well.

Holstein champion

Holstein cow Blythbridge Jessy shown by Colin Laird, West Linton © Tim Scrivener

Shown by Colin Laird, Blyth Farm, West Linton, this Atwood daughter calved in November and is giving 50kg a day.

She is classified Ex92 and was bought two years ago in France as a two-year-old.  She scooped the Holstein championship at the Highland Show last year.

Taking reserve place was Robbie Scott, with Clifton Vanahelm Clover. Also a third-calver, and due with her fourth in December, she is giving 41kg a day and is expected to give nearly 11,000 litres this lactation.

Jersey and reserve overall champion

Jersey cow Clifton Vanahelm Clover shown by Robbie Scott, Ayrshire © Tim Scrivener

She was bought in Carlisle as a two-and-a-half-year-old for 1,300gns and was bred and sold by Steven Bland of Clifton Jerseys, near Penrith.

She won the championship at UK Dairy Expo earlier this year, and was champion at the Ayr Show last year.

Mr Harrison said the Holstein had the advantage over the Jersey as it “carried its milk a little bit higher”. 

Sheep interbreed

Douganhill Farms, Castle Douglas, scooped the interbreed sheep title with their Texel shearling ewe.

The ewe is sired by Teiglum Younggun and is out of a dam sired by Cairnam Tavish.

Texel ewe

Texel ewe sired by Teiglum Younggun shown by David MacTaggart, Castle Douglas © Tim Scrivener

The MacTaggart family have not shown at the Highland Show for 12 years, when they last took the reserve interbreed champion.

Speaking to Farmers Weekly, David MacTaggart said: “We’ve not had anything we felt was good enough to show since then. This gimmer was shown as a ewe lamb and won at Dumfries last year.”

The family are renowned Texel breeders, having sold stock to 40,000gns for the tup lamb Geronimo at Carlisle 10 years ago.

In reserve was the Park Type North Country Cheviot from Willie Thomson, Scottish Borders. This two-crop ewe is home-bred and is by Wandylaw Scrumpyjack.

She won the Scottish National Championships as a gimmer two years ago and was the breed female champion at the Great Yorkshire Show last year.

Reserve sheep interbreed

Park type North Country Cheviot two-crop ewe from Willie Thomson, Scottish Borders © Tim Scrivener

Commenting on his winner, judge Archie MacGregor of Allanfauld Farm, Kilsyth, said: “My top four sheep were exceptional for their breed, but my final two were very close. They had real breed character.”