Great Yorkshire Show 2017: What to expect from the show ring

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National cattle societies are lining up their summer shows at the Great Yorkshire where just stepping out into the rings means so much.

It just does not get any bigger than this for the ranks of show teams that will line up their animals in the rings at the Harrogate showground.

The Great Yorkshire Show is the ultimate display of the very best livestock from across the UK.

Farmers bring their cattle, sheep, horses, goats and pigs in their thousands to compete for some of the most prestigious and hard earned rosettes in the business.

It is no exaggeration to say dreams are realised here, with many farmers parading animals they have bred, reared and meticulously prepared themselves in front of huge crowds that are unmatched elsewhere.

For many, just stepping out at the show is the realisation of an ambition held since first attending as wide-eyed children. For others it is a mandatory and proud upholding of family tradition dating back generations.

It is the exhibitors and their entries that make the show what it is. Many only stump up the confidence to compete here after proving their livestock’s credentials on the one-day show circuit and they will hope to impress the most experienced of judges from across the country here.

Key highlights of the show are always the dairy, beef and sheep supreme championships, with the winners declared on the Tuesday and Wednesday.

Other standout competitions include the British Charolais Cattle Society’s first ever National Charolais Show on the Tuesday. A record 72 entries will be travelling to Harrogate from as far afield as Cornwall to County Down, as well as a contingent from Yorkshire and the North.

Also in the cattle section, Beef Shorthorn breeders are scheduled to turn out an entry to match their 2016 record as it stages its annual UK championships once again this year.

There will be a television camera crew trailing around the beef rings capturing footage for the From Skye With Love documentary and following competitor Donald Rankin from North Skye, Scotland. He will be showing his Aberdeen Angus cattle after achieving great success at shows throughout Scotland.

There will be an international flavour in the sheep pens where shearers will go head to head in a thrilling England versus New Zealand ‘test match’ on the Wednesday.

Meanwhile, visitors can take a virtual pig tour every day of the show, at 11am and 2pm, with East Yorkshire pig farming sisters, Vicky Scott and Kate Moore, and the British Pig Association will stage its national Pig of the Year competition on the Wednesday.

Live milking returns at the Lely stand where visitors will see calves being trained to feed on an automated calf feeder. This will be the first time that calves fed on an automated system will have featured at the show in a move which will show to the public how calves can be reared away from their mother.

Possibly the most impressive spectacle of the entire show is the grand cattle parade which takes place in the main ring on both Wednesday and Thursday at 2pm.

During Wednesday’s parade the prestigious Blythewood Beef and Dairy Championships, for pairs of native beef, continental beef, and dairy cattle, are decided.

Joanne Mjadzelics

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