Royal Norfolk Show: Record livestock entry indicates show's enduring farming appeal
The agricultural heartbeat of the Royal Norfolk Show will beat louder than ever at this year's event, with organisers celebrating a record livestock entry amid a wealth of farming displays and contests.
More than 2,000 farm animals will be displayed, including best-ever turnouts in many categories, plus more than 1,700 horses in the equine shows and competitions.
Show director Mark Nicholas said: “Across the board, our livestock entries are up significantly, and isn’t that amazing in 2018? What it tells me is that farmers and smallholders see the utility of coming to the Royal Norfolk Show to win a champion rosette.
“We are looking at 1,742 equine entries across all classes. That is a record entry and it includes heavy horses, show jumpers and carriage horses.
Moving onto livestock, cattle entries are 780, which is very high, pigs are 180 and sheep are 950, which are both records, and goats are 192, which is a very high figure.”
Mr Nicholas said while the importance to livestock breeders was clear, the growing livestock presence was “massively valuable” as an educational tool for the show’s thousands of public visitors.
“That is why we invest in having our own farm,” he said. “Mr Mawkin’s Farm is deliberately designed to allow children to connect with farming and livestock. They can see really interesting and rare breeds like the Norfolk Horn, which is always a favourite.”
Livestock highlights this year include the Heygates Country Feeds Team of Five competition – a “battle of the breeds” which will bring more than 70 beef cattle into the Grand Ring for judging on Wednesday.
“It is going to be an enormous spectacle, never seen before,” said Mr Nicholas.
The event, on June 27 and 28, will also host the Dexter National Show, with over 100 entries.
Mr Nicholas said he was “delighted” with the fine weather forecast for next week, and that contingency plans were in place to ensure animals remained safe if the temperatures rise.
“It looks like a perfect Norfolk day,” he said. “We always keep an eye on scenarios which develop, and we will ensure that animal welfare is the highest priority, and to make sure there is plenty of water available. It is also about being sensible, making best use of shade and making sure competitions and judging does not last any longer than it needs to.
“The ground can be quite hard for the equine events, but we are monitoring the condition of the ground very carefully. As we approach the Royal Norfolk Show we have got measures in place, including the irrigation of the equine rings to make sure they are safe and in tip-top condition.”