New winter show on the cards for beef breeders

There could be another Christmas show on the way for northern pedigree beef breeders – with plans underway for an industry-focused event similar to the Winter Fair.

The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) confirmed it has held positive discussions regarding a winter beef show, AgriLand can reveal.

Should plans progress, the event – which will be held at Balmoral Park – will involve showing and trade exhibitions but will focus solely on beef animals.

‘It’s a vision at the minute’

Speaking exclusively to AgriLand, RUAS chief executive Colin McDonald said: “The job [of chief executive] is going to be different over the next 10 years than it was over the last 10 years.

“I’d like to think there will be some kind of industry-focused beef event that will do the same thing for beef that the Winter Fair does for dairy – I would love to see the RUAS doing that.”

McDonald had recently confirmed he was likely to step down over the next six months after news the society was searching for a new chief executive emerged.

When asked if plans were already underway for the new show, McDonald added: “It is a vision at the minute – but not one that I will be able to realise.”

Scope for more than one day

He confirmed that discussions surrounding a new beef show had already been held with members and added that there could be scope for such an event to run for more than one day.

Winter events for beef breeders currently include Allams and the Pedigree Calf Fair, both held this year at the old King’s Hall site.

It’s expected Allams will be the last agricultural event to take place at the old showgrounds as redevelopment work begins to pick up pace.

Around 6,000 people attended the 2016 Royal Ulster Winter Fair – with turnout expected to have been even higher this year.

Logan Hall

The new beef event would likely make use of the new Logan Hall – a £3 million (€3.4 million) steel and aluminium structure currently under construction beside the Eikon centre.

It’s expected the building will be in use by May 2018 in time for next year’s Balmoral Show. The new covered exhibition space will make the Eikon the largest exhibition space in Ireland.

Already at least nine major events are scheduled to take place at the Eikon in the first six months of 2018 including a machinery show in February.

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