Animals, as always, proved a popular attraction at the 2014 Great Yorkshire Show, with many prize winners and impressive displays from horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and dogs on show.
However, it wasn’t all smiles for farmers rearing cattle at the show, as some of them protested the crisis in beef.
Members of the National Farmers Union (NFU) closed stands belonging to various supermarket chains on the first day of the Great Yorkshire Show.
Armed with placards, they explained to the public that their protest was in response to supermarkets’ lack of support for farmers facing falling prices, which are leaving many with a £200 loss on every animal they produce.
Yorkshire and Humber chair of the NFU David Hamer said on Tuesday: “Supermarkets aren’t promoting British beef like they should be, and as a consumer you are paying more for beef than you were six months ago, and the farmers aren’t getting enough.
“The supermarkets all say the consumer has a choice of what produce they buy between British and Irish beef but they don’t have a choice.
“The British goes off the shelves first and they don’t restock those shelves so the Irish goes. Then it looks like they don’t care about provenance but that is high on producers’ agenda.”
According to the NFU, farm gate prices have fallen by more than 60p per kilo in the last year, while retail price has increased by more than 46p per kilo. The gap between the price in shops and the farm price is now £1.20 a kilo more than in 2007.
Tom Hind, agriculture director for Tesco, said: “It’s fundamentally important we build stronger and lasting relationships with farmers. We’ve made progress and we’re keen to do it further.”
Nevertheless, there were plenty of show highlights from the animals this year. From the horses in particular this was the case, with 1,813 equine entries including impressive show jumping and a new side-saddle demonstration.
The ever popular Lorenzo also returned this year. The equestrian dynamo, back by popular demand, topped the Main Ring programme with his 10 horse daredevil bareback display.
Yet it isn’t only the horses that draw the crowds, with categories for cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, dogs, rabbits, and poultry all attracting the crowds.
The Mayor of Harrogate Jim Clark was especially interested in the cattle. He said: “The Great Yorkshire Show is a great annual event for Harrogate and the whole of the county.
“I am looking forward to seeing some of the cattle, and particulrly the bulls.”
As were the Hoylands who came from Pickering for the first two das of the show.
Hilary, who came with her husband Graham, said: “We like the cattle parade tomorrow, which is why we usually come for the first two days. As much as we enjoy it we couldn’t do three days.”
Graham said: “The cattle parade I think is one of the great things about the show. All the different breeds walking round is amazing.”
The Countess of Wessex herself displayed a clear love of animals, visiting the dog and cattle areas and holding Camilla - a bird of prey known as a sea eagle - as she toured the Showground.
The Supreme Interbreed Beef Championship, crowning the best beef animal in the show, attracted the usual vast crowds around the cattle ring.
This year the title was taken by an eight-year-old limousin from Chesham, in Buckinghamshire.
Bolshoi, owned by Doug Mash, is no stranger to Great Yorkshire Show success, having taken the breed championship at the event just two years ago.
Speaking following his victory, Mr Mash conceded that this triumphant outing for the veteran beast could well be her last.
“We are not quite sure yet, but this might be her last one.
“We have not made our minds up completely but this could well be the final one.
“We are obviously delighted. We have exhibited at the show many, many times but we really did not expect to win, especially with cattle being here from all over the country.”
Mr Mash, who runs 60 cows at his home farm, said that Bolshoi’s proud success on the Great Yorkshire Show stage could simply be atttributed to good genetics and, what he called a “good jockey”, referring to his stockman Ben
The reserve was taken by the Galloway named Nerris 1307, owned by Jim Ross who had travelled down from his farm in Dumfires and Galloway in Scotland for the show.
“She took reserve champion at the Highland Show and was native breed champion here last year,
“We are obviously delighted.
“I have been here so many times I have lost count.”
Ring announcer Mike Keeble, kept the crowd entertained during the judging process by taking them through what the officials were looking for and what it takes to breed a championship winning animal.
“What a fantastic display of cattle,” he told the crowd.
“I knew the Galloway would be there or thereabouts.
“A fantastic advertisement for what we can do as farmers in this country.”
Read a full report and see pictures from the 2014 Great Yorkshire Show in Thursday’s Harrogate Advertiser series of newspapers.
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