Young farmers’ overwintered cattle set to compete at Thainstone


North East young farmers will take to the stage for a live online broadcast as they showcase the ‘cream of the crop’ of their overwintered cattle at a prestigious annual show and sale at Thainstone Centre next week.
The Young Farmers’ Overwintered Cattle Show and Sale - sponsored by Ledingham Chalmers and organised by Aberdeen & Northern Marts (part of the ANM Group) - provides entrants with first-hand experience in the art of stockmanship whilst engaging in some friendly competition with peers. Following the purchase of cattle at the autumn sales at Thainstone, young farmers then rear their livestock over the winter months to prepare for the show in spring with the ambition of achieving top prices at auction.  
This year’s competition – open to all full and associate members of an affiliated young farmers’ club between the ages of 14 to 30 - has attracted an entry of 54 cattle, comprising of 28 steers and 26 heifers.  With £2,200 of cash and an array of prizes up for grabs, the contest will be judged by Martin Barker, Middlebank End Farm, Cumbria for the classes and champions and Derek Nelson, Mains of Lundie, Edzell for the best presented and paraded animals.
The contest also offers an insight into the commercial aspect of livestock production, preparing cattle for showing purposes and the opportunity to gain experience in running a beef finishing enterprise.  The highest average daily weight gain and feeders’ margin elements provide an emphasis on these aspects for the overall competition.
Alan Hutcheon, Auction Operations Manager at Aberdeen & Northern Marts, said: “We are delighted with the number of entrants for this year’s event which provides valuable experience for the region’s young stock handlers.  Through our newly launched Marts website, we are all set to broadcast the show judging and sale live to those unable to attend.
“We are proud to continue supporting the next generation of young farmers and pleased to see their enthusiasm and commitment to rear and present livestock in preparation for a show and sale in direct competition with their peers.”
Last year’s event saw the overall champion from Ally Fraser, Easter Clune, Lethen, Nairn top the show. The 11-month old Limousin cross steer, weighing in at 456kg, went on to sell for £4,000 to Blair Duffton, Bogie Street, Huntly at auction.
The heifer champion – a 10-month old, 472kg, Charolais cross exhibited by James MacIver Jnr, Wester Coltfield, Kinloss, Forres - sold to show judge Harry Brown, Auchmaliddie Mains, Maud for £2,600.  The home-bred class was won by Grant Morrison, Newtack, Crossroads, Keith, with his 11-month old, 426kg, Limousin cross heifer which realised £1,700 to Miller Farms, North Lurg, Midmar, Inverurie.  
This year’s show – broadcast via - will start at 6pm on Thursday 17th March 2016 with the sale beginning at 10am the following day.   The sale on Friday 18th March will be conducted through the online facility,, permitting potential buyers far and wide to view a live auction broadcast and place bids.