Thousands of visitors are expected to attend this year’s NSA Scotsheep at Quixwood, Berwickshire in June. And they can look forward to an action-packed event with a huge variety of activities to grab their attention throughout the day.
The farm tour is always a major attraction at Scotsheep but with around 150 trade stands and more than 30 exhibits by sheep breed societies, there will be plenty to see and do from morning to night.
Eight regional teams of top open shearers will take part in a novel sheep shearing competition when many of Scotland’s leading shearers will be competing by invitation in regional teams of two for the top prize of £280 for the first-placed pair. It will be the first time an inter-region competition has been held on this scale in Scotland and is set to be one of the day’s major highlights.
The top pair will net £280 in the Nettex-sponsored competition which is also being supported by the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB).
“This has never been done before and will generate keen competition between the regions and provide a real spectacle for spectators,” said Dave Turner, former head of agriculture at
Oatridge College, who has devised and organised the competition.
Each team member will shear four hoggs of each breed in three heats in the morning with the top three teams with the lowest penalty points competing in the final in the afternoon when they will shear 20 mules. Organisers also hope to arrange a Scotland v England challenge between the top two shearers on the day and a team invited from the north of England.
The competition will be judged by Euan Campbell, Strathyre, Peter Kinstry, Broughton, Andy Rankin, Luss, John King, Jedburgh, Lance Armstrong, Newbigging, and Andrew Dodds, Jedburgh.
Scotsheep’s programme will also include a sheepdog trial and visitors will have the opportunity of taking part in a stockjudging competition, which will include a young farmers’ section as well as an open competition.
The seminar programme with top industry experts will cover CAP reform, animal health and increasing the consumption of lamb and local young chefs are to be invited to take part in a Ready Steady Cook lamb cookery competition.
Grassland management and soil health will be a major feature of the educational display by SRUC and other demonstrations will include fencing, sheep dressing, wool spinning and crook making. An ATV driving competition is also planned. It is also hoped to have a farmers’ market with craft stalls and the Royal Highland Educational Trust is arranging for a number of school visits from local primary 4 and 6 pupils.
The organisers have invited a leading personality in the industry to perform the opening ceremony and Scotland’s Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Richard Lochhead, plans to attend.
It will be a great day out for anyone with an interest in sheep and will cover all aspects of sheep production, from husbandry, nutrition and health to marketing and promotion of the finished product.