Ritchie rears success at overwintering show and sale


Following months of preparation, Aileen Ritchie from Tamala Burnside, Whitecairns has scooped the overall champion rosette and second highest price at this year’s Young Farmers’ Overwintering Show and Sale at Thainstone Centre this week.
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.
Aileen, 22, said: “I have been competing in these shows since the age of 14 and this year has been a real team effort from my family.  You put all your time and commitment into this – and it becomes your life - to ensure your entry shines on the day.   I am delighted with the results achieved here at Thainstone and look forward to returning again next year.”
North East young farmers – aged between 14 and 30 and affiliated with a young farmers’ club - gathered at Thainstone for the grand finale of the overwintered cattle competition on the evening of Thursday 17 March and the sale the following morning. 
The annual event, sponsored by Ledingham Chalmers and organised by Aberdeen & Northern Marts (part of the ANM Group), provides competitors with the chance to breed and rear cattle over the winter months before showing them in friendly competition with their peers before selling at auction.  
Topping the sale at £3,500 was Jack Hendry of Heads of Auchinderran, Aultmore, Keith for his one-year old British Blue cross heifer weighing 442kg which sold to I S Sinclair, 3 Clyth Mains, Occumster, Lybster.   The heifer also received first prize for best presented and paraded animal from section judge Derek Nelson, Mains of Lundie, Edzell, in addition to the titles for best overwintered animal (heifer) and highest gross margin (heifer).
The steer champion was exhibited by Grant Fraser, Easter Clune, Nairn.   The 11-month old Limousin cross weighed in at 518kg and sold to A & E Cumming, Tillydesk, Ellon for £1,340.  
The home bred class was won by Craig Hendry, Heads of Auchinderran Aultmore, Keith with his 450kg, 11-month old, Limousin cross steer realising £1,800 again to I S Sinclair of Lybster.  
A fundamental aspect of the competition is the skill behind commercial livestock production in terms of average daily weight gain and feeder margins.  The titles of best overwintered steer and top daily weight gain (steer) were awarded to Ellie Sutherland, Maisley, Keith for her 10-month old, 472kg, British Blue cross.  First prize for daily weight gain in the heifer section was claimed by Lauren Stronach, Maisley, Keith for her 11-month old, 486kg, British Blue cross.
In the highest feeders’ margin category, Alexia Chalmers, Midhill of Seggat Auchterless, Turriff won first prizes for her 10-month old, 462kg, Charloais cross steer.  Keith & District Young Farmer’s Club won best overall club again by acquiring the most points at this year’s competition.
Allan Collie, Partner in Ledingham Chalmers, said: “We are delighted to continue our association with this tremendous event which gives young farmers the opportunity to showcase their skills.   The turnout of livestock is always first class and the event provides ideal experience and encouragement to our young farmers.”
Tim McDonald, Auctioneer for Aberdeen & Northern Marts, said: “The impressive presentation of cattle - along with the excellent turnout and prices achieved - serves as a testament to the commitment of not only our young farmers but the agricultural community as a whole in supporting this prestigious show and sale year on year.”
View the full list of show results and prizes.