4.45pm: update from the cattle rings

Judging is well under way in the British Blonde ring in Balmoral, with judge James Weighman in full flow.

These classes are sponsored by ABP and are well supported by local breeders.

In the cow class, the Rodgers family was first out with their April 2020-born cow Hillhead Rose. Sired by Allacott Herbert, this cow and calf pair were a very impressive duo.

In the junior cow and calf class, Moneyscalp Blondes came out on top with Moneyscalp Shauna, while Mr Doorman’s Coole Perle followed up in second place.

The Rodgers family in the British Blonde ring with their Blonde pair at the 2024 Balmoral Show. /Shanon Kinahan

Simmental judging is also under way here in Balmoral and this time the Norbrook-sponsored classes are being judged by Ballyclare man Norman Robson.

Last year's supreme champions were back in winning form earlier this afternoon, with the father and son duo Alan and Joseph Wilson taking the first red rosette of the day with their Saltire Impressive daughter Ballinlare Farm Nikita.

Noel Kilpatrick took the second place rosette here with Ballymoney Nancy.

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In the class for heifers born between July and December 2022, it was the Weatherup family who came out on top with Dermody Princess, another Saltire Impressive daughter born in September 2022.

John Glasgow was up next with his August-born heifer Bridgewater Farm Evie, while third place in this class was another heifer from John Glasgow, Raceview PCH Vivkim bred by Peter and Marion O’Connell from Co Cork.

The junior heifers were led by David and Johnny Hazelton with their June 2023-born heifer Ranfurly Weikel. The Weatherup family took second in this class, while Andrew Clarke took third and fourth place.

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The first of the bull classes are also put to bed here in Balmoral, with the first male winner of the day in this section coming from Shane O’Neill. Seaview Patriot bred by Ava and Tony O’Leary from Cork was a lucky chap in this class.

Salers judging

Adam Crockett from Earlson is the master judge in the Salers ring this afternoon and he is flying through the classes.

Hannah Burns with her Salers bull, Lisnamaul Sidney at the 2024 Balmoral Show. /Shanon Kinahan

The Lisnamaul herd cleaned up in the first class with their March 2020-born heifer Lisnamaul Princess sired by Nemo.

J & EA Elliot from the Drumlegagh herd took second and third prize in these classes.

In the second heifer class of the day, Seamus Connell took the top spot with his May 2020-born heifer Ballykeel Snapchat, sired by Baron.

Lisnamaul Salers were back in the top line up here with their second-prizewinner Lisnamual Shakira.

British Blue classes

Irish eyes were smiling in the first of the British Blue classes this afternoon, where judging was taking place under the watchful eye of Andrew Kay from Ayrshire.

Thomas O'Doherty with Darragh Docs Rachel at the 2024 Balmoral Show. /Shanon Kinahan

In the cow in-calf or in-milk class, Ivan Allen came out on top with his September 2021-born cow Kilcombe Philly sired by Imperial. This stylish heifer was bred by Shay Hayden.

Second to take the plaudits in this class was Co Clare man Thomas O’Doherty with Doon Katie, a September 2016-born daughter of Boherard Cantona who has excelled on the show circuit since she was a young calf.

3.30pm: Irish interest in Charolais section

There was some big southern Irish interest in the cattle rings, with some Dongeal-, Sligo- and Clare-bred cattle in action in the Charolais section this afternoon.

The Brigadoon team from the Connolly family took home first prize for their Charolais cow born in 2021.

In the spring 2022-born heifer class in the Charolais section, it was the Devine brothers who came out on top with their March 2022-born heifer sired by Newhouse Big Al.

It was a Sligo heifer who came in second in this class, with the McGovern brothers from Fivemileboune making the long trip to Balmoral with their February 2022-born heifer sired by Neptune.

In the autumn 2022-born heifer class, it was Harry Heron’s heifer that took home the first place rosette. His August 2022-born heifer was sired by Gretnahosue Pouncer and out of Holywell Latin.

2.30pm: continental classes kick off

The first of the continental classes have kicked off on the cattle lawns in Balmoral.

In the British Blonde ring, the first prizewinner of the day came in the form of Shanvalley Lucy from the herd of Alex McAuley. Sired by Seaview Barney and bred by the Savage bros, the February 2015-born cow is the first red rosette winner of the afternoon.

Judging is also under way in the Limousin ring, with judge Rheon James taking on the task of judging. These classes are sponsored by ABP.

In the first class of the day in a hotly contested Limousin section, Ian Davidson has taken the red rosette with Ballyrickard Unicorn, a February 2023-born daughter of Gleneagle Icon.

Second prize in this class has been awarded to Michael and Kyle Diamonds Pointhouse Una, while Keadyview Unique from the Keadyview herd has taken the third place rosette.

In a hotly contested junior championship, it was Aghadolgan Udiva that has taken the plaudits for Raymond Savage. The Savage family are no strangers to the show ring or to winning at Balmoral and this is just another shiny feather to their bow.

1pm: Herefords next up

There are almost 60 cattle entered in the pedigree Hereford section here in Balmoral, which is this year sponsored by Smyths Daleside Feeds.

Judge in the Hereford ring is James Ludgate.

Male champion in the Hereford section saw Trevor Andrews take the plaudits with his November 2020-born bull Kinglee 1 Victorious.

Sired by Cleland 1 Nelson, he was tapped forward as the overall male champion with professional showman Steven O’Kane on the halter.

Kinglee 1 Victorious owned by Trevor Andrews and exhibited by Steven O'Kane was the overall male champion in the Hereford section at the 2024 Balmoral Show. \Shanon Kinahan

In the reserve male championship spot, the plaudits went to the Dorepoll Hereford herd with Dorepoll 1 Westminster. The September 2021-born bull was sired by Dorepoll 1 T1 Tessa.

In the female section, it was Stephen Cherry who took home the champion sash with Ballypallady 1 Wizzbit, while the reserve championship spot went once again to Trevor Andrews with Mountview 1 Nirvana.

Aberdeen Angus

Tensions were high in the Aberdeen Angus section this morning, as really strong competition left judge David Johnstone from Banffshire with some tough decisions to make.

David found his overall Angus champion in A&C Armours Woodvale Miss Annie, a super baby heifer sired by Woodvale Powerplay. A super achievement for a January-born heifer.

Woodvale Ms Annie from A&C Armour was the overall Angus champion at the 2024 Balmoral Show. \Shanon Kinahan

Stepping up to claim the reserve championship title was Old Glenort Precious Pollot from the herd of William Porter. Plenty of spectators around the ring watching these classes throughout the day.

With the traditional breeds all wrapped up, all eyes turn to the continental judging later this afternoon.

12.15pm: traditional breeds show big classes

Huge crowds are currently looking on at the cattle judging here in Balmoral.

Some very big classes in the traditional breeds are currently being judged, with some big wins for a number of Northern Ireland’s leading cattle herds.

It’s proving to be a record-breaking day for the famous Cherry Valley Shorthorn herd, with the team taking home champion and reserve titles in the female Shorthorn section and champion and reserve in the male Shorthorn section as well.

Cherry Valley Whats The Craic, the March 2023-born Shorthorn heifer, has just been crowned Shorthorn champion at Balmoral Show.

Judging in the Irish Moiled cattle section is well under way, with first place in the 2022-born heifer class going to Burren Royal Pandora from Edwards and McAuley.

The October 20220-born heifer is by Ballyknock Toro and out of the homebred Burren Princess Pandora.

Overall champion in the Irish Moiled section went to R and C Maxwell for their 2017-born cow Beechhill Daisy.

The junior champion went to Albert Baxter in the Irish Moiled section.

Judith and Alan Baxter pictured with their junior champion in the Irish Moiled section at Balmoral Show.

Their January 2023-born heifer is sired by Woodbine Elmo and out of the homebred Beauty Hill Glacier.

11.30am: judging under way

Judging is well under way in the cattle and sheep rings here in Balmoral.

Some very big classes have already been judged in the sheep section, with entries up across most breeds.

Dexters

The Dexter cattle breed has some of the largest class entries at the show and it was Mr and Mrs Patrick and Gill McAreavey who came out tops with their 2017-born Dexter cow in the cow class.

Some big Dexter classes in the cattle section are currently under way.

Shorthorn

In the Shorthorn ring, it’s a double for the famous Cherry Valley herd, with Cherry Valley What’s The Craic taking the championship rosette.

The March 2023-born heifer is by the Irish-bred Cregga Rolex and out of the homebred Cherry Valley Willow cow.

The future is safe with throngs of young people eagerly watching the judging in Balmoral on the cattle lawns.

9.50am: all systems go for Balmoral Show

It’s all systems go at Balmoral Show on Wednesday morning with the gates opening to welcome patrons to the 155th Balmoral Show.

Traffic was light with no queues on the approach roads to the Eikon exhibition centre or at the front gate entry to the showground.

It is expected to get a lot busier as the crowds throng to the famous showgrounds.

Day one is all about the beef cattle on the cattle lawns, with the Shorthorns, Aberdeen Angus, Hereford, Irish Moiled and Dexter all being put through their paces this morning in the judging rings. Judging commences at 10am on the cattle lawns.

In the sheep rings, Llyens , Zwarbles, Hampshire Downs, Texel and Beltex will all be judged on Wednesday morning.

The show attracts thousands of visitors every year and is an annual pilgrimage for many farmers, those working in the industry and the general public.

A large contingent of farmers also make their way from southern counties, especially on the traditional beef day, which takes place on Wednesday.

The Irish Farmers Journal stand is located right beside the cattle lawns and if you're around the show over the next four days, be sure to drop in for a quick cup of tea and a chat.

Shanon Kinahan and Adam Woods will be reporting live from the cattle lawns and Niamh Murphy will be catching up on other parts of the show.