Royal Three Counties Show welcomes record numbers of breed society national shows, as it hosts the prestigious Burke Perpetual Challenge Trophies

Royal Three Counties Show opened with extraordinary numbers of livestock entries this year, including over 2,000 sheep entires. Notable breeds who exhibited in high volumes featured the Coloured Rylands, Texels, Blue Texels and Hampshire Downs. The Show is one of the largest livestock and equestrian shows in the UK.

Pictured  (L-R) – Burke Trophy winners for the Catte Section: Beef Shorthorn, with the bull, Willlingham Spitfire, owned by Mrs Mary Cormack and the cow, High Sky Erin’s Enchantment, owned by Mrs Millie Birch

The Prestigious Burke Trophies for Beef and Dairy Cattle took centre stage on Saturday, chosen by the Royal Agricultural Society of England to take place at Three Counties Showground this year. The first Burke cattle awards took place over 70 years ago, recognising the best two animals of a breed male and female, in the beef cattle section and for the best two females, in a dairy cattle section. The winners in the beef cattle section were the Beef Shorthorn, with the bull, Willlingham Spitfire, owned by Mrs Mary Cormack and the cow, High Sky Erin’s Enchantment, owned by Mrs Millie Birch and the winners in the diary cattle section were a Holstein pair both owned by Molly Westwood, with Panda Ambrosia O’Kustard Red & Panda O’Christmas Red.

The three-day event is one of the UK’s largest livestock extravaganzas, with no fewer than 900 classes across 30 judging rings and a prize fund of £110,000 provided byThe Three Counties Agricultural Society.

Industry experts from across the UK were among the guest speakers at the event’s Future of Farming Theatre to guide, inspire and challenge those at the sharp end of agriculture and sponsored by Lightsource BP and Virgin Money.

The dedicated forum offered help and advice for growing and improving land-based businesses, including discussions over making the most of assets and finding alternative incomes and support in the current financial climate, and ample opportunities for asking questions and networking too.

Sixteen livestock breed societies held their national shows in the Farming Village during the three days and there were classes bringing together a large gathering of rare, minority and native animals.

Young farmers were encouraged to take part in the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s Junior Handlers’ Classes, and there was a qualifying round for the Trust’s Young Shepherd of the Year competition.

Each day was rounded off with the Grand Parade of Livestock in the Main Arena, with a new Group of Three Cattle class leading the parade on Friday.

One of the Three Counties Agricultural Society’s chief aims is to support farmers and the rural community by raising awareness of the importance of British agriculture, providing professional development opportunities and hosting social events to bring people together. These included the CLA Big Breakfast on the Friday, Farmers Club and RASE events and the Stockman’s Dinner on Saturday evening.

The National Farmers’ Union Tent was another hub for farming discussions, with President Tom Bradshaw talking to members on Friday, and members of Young Farmers’ Clubs were made welcome with their own village where they held activities and competitions, such as the Tug of War, plus the offer of discounted tickets.

There was also an unbeatable opportunity to view and buy cutting edge equipment and find inspiration from the new ‘Machinery Mile’ as part of the Farming Village running from South Gate.

“Over the past century, the Royal Three Counties Show has become a much-loved event in the farming calendar,” says Alice Arnold, Royal Three Counties Show organiser. “Hosting the prestigious Burke trophies was a huge honour for The Society this year after two days of outstanding livestock showing.”