The much-anticipated RUAS Balmoral Show kicked off today under glorious sunshine.

Having been cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, the show got postponed this year from its usual date back in May.

Northern Ireland’s biggest agricultural show, the event is expected to attract thousands over the coming days.

One of the biggest attractions of the show continues to be the livestock section.

That said, the main shed where the cattle are housed is well reduced in capacity due to COVID-19 spacing considerations.

These restrictions also mean that no livestock from the Republic was accepted this year.

With competition starting for cattle at 10am today, Wednesday 22 September, competition is as hot as ever despite reduced numbers.

Half the breeds have now gone in for judging with the others set to enter the cattle greens just after lunch.

Champions so far

In the Belgian Blue ring, top honours went the way of Faughanvale Pure Class.

Belgian Blue champion Faughanvale Pure Class.\ Houston Green

Bred by Oliver and Anthony McGuiness, this April 2020 born heifer is sired by Gitan Du TTIT Mayeua. The same exhibitors also secured the reserve overall championship with Faughanvale Peggy. Another April 2020-born heifer, this time sired by Aughenlay Vagabond.

Overall champion in the Irish Moile section went to Woodbine Casper from Brian O’Kane. This four-year-old bull is classified EX93 and out of Tully Jack. This bull was originally bred in Co Wexford and had won his class at the Tullamore Show as a calf.

Standing reserve was the senior cow class winner Ballyvesey Palm. Bred by R&L Davis, this 11-year-old cow is a daughter of homebred Ballyvesy Ben.

Onto the Shorthorn section and top award went to Cherryvalley Farm with Cherryvalley Pearl. This two-year-old heifer is a daughter of southern Ireland bred bull Creaga Malibu.

Standing reserve to Pearl was the junior cow champion, Glebefarm Duchess Molly. Bred and exhibited by Alfie and James Shaw, this three-year-old first calver is sired by Fearn Jumpstart.

Well-known Hereford breeders the McMordie family took both champion and reserve for the breed. Securing the overall championship was their senior cow Solpoll 1 Starlet.

Hereford champion Solpoll 1 Starlet. \ Houston Green

This six-year-old cow is a daughter of the herd’s well-known stock bull Panmure 1 Henry. Taking the reserve championship was the young bull Solpoll 1 Triumph. Born March 2020, this stylish young bull was sired by Moeskaer Mentos.

The Armour family took overall championship in the Angus section with Woodvale Miss Annie U436.

Angus champion Woodvale Miss Annie. \ Houston Green

This super two-year-old first calved heifer is sired by the herd’s stock bull Oak Moor Mr Paul. Standing reserve was the junior heifer champion Crew Blackbird. This Linton Gilbertines Preacher daughter was bred by Allen Shortt and Samantha Smyth.