Thousands of entries set for Royal Highland Show

The heavy horse turnouts, such as this example from the MacMillan family on Bute, are a spectacular sight.

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The UK’s premier agricultural show will once again showcase the country’s finest livestock, as thousands of animals vie for the honour of being crowned champion.

Organisers of the event Royal Highland Show, supported by The Royal Bank of Scotland, are preparing for what will be an exceptional display of livestock, with well over 5,000 entries for all sections of the show.

The Highland Hall will again be at maximum capacity, housing almost 1,100 beef and dairy cattle, with commercial cattle recording their highest number for entries in the last decade, standing at 93 animals up from 75 last year, an increase of almost 25 per cent.

With 104 entries, the Shorthorns are set to dominate this year, up from 88 entries in 2017. The Simmentals are hot on their heels with 103 entries, a 10-year record  and an increase from 85 in 2017. And the Charolais are also seeing a resurgence, with a jump to 76, from 61 last year.

The numbers in the dairy section total 109 entries, with the largest class being the Ayrshire with 38, up from 29 in 2017. Holsteins total 29 entries, and the Dairy Shorthorn class has seen numbers more than double from 12 to 25. This year’s Queen’s Cup will be in the dairy class.

Sheep entries once again command the Royal Highland Show with 2,029 animals making this the second largest number of entries in more than a decade.

Leading the way is the Texel section with 182 entries, with the Beltex close behind with 177. Elsewhere in the sheep classes, the Suffolks have their highest number in 10 years with 110 entries (90 in 2017). The Ryelands and the Rouges also see record numbers for the last decade, with 82 and 39 entries respectively (up from 65 and 34 in 2017). Commercial sheep entries are also seeing increased interest with 104 entries, up from 85 in 2017.  The North of England Mule class was introduced to the Show in 2011 and sees its highest ever entries, with 69 in the class.

The Young Handler competition has 56 entries, illustrating the continued interest from the next generation particularly in this the Year of Young People.

An exciting development is the interest in the goat classes; with a ten-year high of 39 entries and the Boer breed, increasing from 16 to 27.  Six goat young handlers will also compete for the title.

1,665 entries have been received in the light horse section, with the HOYS qualifying Mountain and Moorland Under Saddle section again dominating with 197 entries, up from 192 in 2017.

The Heavy Horse section continues to have a strong presence, with 392 entries. Highland females lead the way with 94, with Shetland females closely behind with 84.

In 2009 the show separated the Welsh C and Welsh D classes due to increasing demand, and that has proved to be winning formula with record entries again this year, with 43 and 59 respectively.

Royal Highland Show Manager David Jackson, said: ‘The Highland continues to be the leading event for showcasing the very best the livestock industry has to offer, and it extremely rewarding that the industry continues to recognise its importance as a platform for the sector.

‘We continue to see very strong entries, with increasing numbers in many sections, especially in the commercial classes, and I know we will see some fierce competition for a winning place.

‘As an event, we grow year on year and attract new audiences as we widen the appeal for visitors from town and country. Yet we remain true to our roots as an agricultural show and work hard to be truly relevant to all aspects of farming and rural life.

‘The Grand Parade always proves to be a high point of the show and gives us a chance to celebrate the commitment and dedication of all our cattle and heavy horse exhibitors. I recommend everyone to make time to observe this truly spectacular display.

‘The team look forward to welcoming all our exhibitors, from the Scottish islands to South West England to Northern Ireland. They are dedicated to their craft, and I am extremely grateful for their continued support and wish them all the best of luck.’

Supported by Royal Bank of Scotland, the 178th Royal Highland Show will take place at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh, on June 21-24.