Young farmers' overwintered cattle set to compete at Thainstone


Young farmers in the north east are priming their cattle ready to compete at the 25th Young Farmers’ Overwintered Cattle Show and Sale at Thainstone Centre next week.
The competition - organised by Aberdeen & Northern Marts and sponsored by regional law firm Ledingham Chalmers - provides young farmers (aged 14 to 30) with hands-on experience in the art of stockmanship, preparing cattle for showing purposes, running a livestock enterprise and competing against their peers.
Following the purchase of the cattle through Thainstone Centre’s autumn sales, young farmers rear the livestock over the winter months in preparation for exhibition at the show in spring time with the aspirations of grabbing the judge’s eye and achieving top prices at auction.  
This year’s competition – open to full and associate members of an affiliated young farmers’ club – has attracted an entry of 53 cattle, comprising of 25 steers and 28 heifers and with £2,200 and an array of prizes up for grabs, the young farmers will be looking for their entry to really stand out on the day.  The contest will be judged by Mr Graham Easton, The Ranch, Letham for the classes and champions and Mr Harry Brown, Auchmaliddie Mains, Maud for the best presented and paraded animals.
To celebrate 25 years of this prestigious event, young farmers will also battle it out for ‘The Calladrum Cup’ – a new trophy introduced to emphasise the commercial aspects of livestock production – which will be awarded to the winner of the ‘Best Overwintered Animal’ title in addition to a £100 cash prize.  The award will be granted to the entry that attains best overall achievements in the highest feeders’ margin; highest average daily live-weight gain; best presented and paraded animal; and best quality animal categories. 

Alan Hutcheon, Auction Operations Manager at Aberdeen & Northern Marts, said: “Without our young farmers and events like these, we risk losing this industry in the years to come.  We strive to recognise young talent and showcase their knowledge and skills by putting them at the forefront of our competition programme.  With live broadcasts of our shows and sales through our website and social media channels, we aim to promote these events to an even wider audience whilst raising the importance of their continuation.
“The large number of entries year on year shows the enthusiasm and commitment for these shows and sales and ensures the next generation receive the recognition and credit they deserve.”  
Last year’s event saw the championship title and second highest price scooped by Aileen Ritchie from Tamala Burnside, Whitecairns.  The overall champion, a 17-month old, 534kg, Limousin cross heifer – selected by judge Martin Barker, Middlebank End Farm, Cumbria out of the 54 entries - sold for £2,500 at auction.
The home bred class was won by Craig Hendry, Heads of Auchinderran Aultmore, Keith with his 450kg, 11-month old, Limousin cross steer which realised £1,800 to I S Sinclair, 3 Clyth Mains, Occumster, Lybster.
This year’s show – broadcast live via - will start at 6pm on Thursday 23rd March 2017 with the sale commencing at 10am the following day.   The sale on Friday 24th March will be conducted through the online facility,, permitting potential buyers far and wide to view a live auction and bid with confidence.