in farm incomes
This years Royal Welsh Show opens its doors on Monday of
next week. Robert Davies explains that despite farmings
problems, it continues to be a commercial success with
all stand space sold and livestock entries steady
PRINCE Charles will open the four day Royal Welsh Show at Builth Wells in Powys on July 24. In a break with tradition the ceremony will take place in the main ring rather than outside the Presidential pavilion, and the Prince has indicated that he wants to meet as many people as possible by touring the showground on foot.
The first thing he is likely to notice is that every bit of trade-stand space is occupied, including the balcony in the new exhibition centre. The 1000 plus trade exhibitors will contribute £575,000, or 24.5% of the societys budgeted income.
Show director, Harry Fetherstonhaugh, says it is a measure of the events commercial success that, despite farmings problems, over 200 applications for space had to be turned down.
Predictions that sheep entries would level out have proved wrong, the total on-the-hoof entry is up 2.2% at 2480 head. Classes are scheduled for 42 breeds, with Texel entries standing at 311 head, or more than double the total for any other breed. Resurgent interest in Lleyn sheep has led to an entry of 138 head, and both the Badger Faced Welsh Mountain and Charollais breeds will pen more than 100 sheep.
More than 60 lambs are also entered in a prime lamb competition and 80 will compete in the lamb carcass classes.
Dairy cattle entries are down by 33 head to 126, and a total of only 18 animals are scheduled to be involved in classes for Ayrshires, Jerseys and Guernseys. Catalogued will be 534 cattle representing 14 beef breeds, plus 97 commercial cattle, making the total cattle entry 757 compared with 824 in 1999.
Entries for pig classes are unchanged at 81 head, but goat entries are 8% down at 249.
"Livestock exhibitors have supported the show in strength again this year despite the difficulties with which farming is having to contend," says secretary, Peter Guthrie.
When? July 24-27
Where? On a permanent site adjacent to the River Wye at Builth Wells on the A470.
Cost? Car parking is free and special areas are reserved for disabled drivers. First day entrance for adults costs £9. On the second and third days this increases to £10, but falls to £8 on Thursday. Senior citizens pay £7 and children £2.
Timetable? Beef cattle classes and the supreme individual interbreed beef championship are judged on Monday, with the interbreed pairs competitions on Wednesday. Dairy breeds parade on Tuesday and again on Wednesday for interbreed championships.
Sheep judging is spread over three days and culminates in the spectacular head-to-head interbreed clash for the coveted title of Intervet UK Champion of Champions.
Pigs are judged on the first two days and the interbreed supreme champion is selected on Wednesday afternoon.
Young Farmers Club and international sheep shearing competitions take place throughout the four days.
Crowd-pulling main ring highlights include the grand parade of prize-winning stock at 3.25pm on Wednesday, the judging of Welsh Cob stallions that precedes it, and daily musical rides by the Household Cavalry.
Richard Powells Kerry Hill comes under scrutiny at last years
Pictures: Emma Davies