Thousands of farmers have made their way through the doors of this year’s Royal Ulster Winter Fair – with this year marking the first year cattle will be kept in the new Dr. E.F. Logan Hall.

Today’s show (December 13) also marks the 33rd year the show has run in association with its sole sponsor Danske Bank.

Footfall is expected to be up on last year’s 4,500, with the new larger space allowing for more trade stands.

Cow numbers remained stable with around 150 animals entered for the show classes.

The mood was positive as farmers checked out the latest machinery and dairy technology.

Live hoof trimming and calf rearing demonstrations have also been drawing in the crowds, while for others the main attraction was the show ring –  this year overseen by Brian Behnke, Wisconsin, USA.

The Eikon Exhibition Centre at Balmoral Park, Lisburn, will be filled with Christmas cheer and excitement as farmers, dairy enthusiasts and industry specialists gather at the premier annual dairy event in Northern Ireland.

The Winter Fair provides the perfect opportunity to network and do business over the day as well as offering a timely opportunity for farmers, their families and exhibitors to come together socially at the start of the festive period.

Speaking about the ongoing partnership, Rodney Brown, head of agri-business at Danske said: “The Royal Ulster Winter Fair is an important event in Northern Ireland’s agricultural calendar.

“Since 1986, the event has not only been a showcase of the excellent genetic resources available to our indigenous industry, but an opportunity to bring trade and farmers closer together and to collaborate on innovations and technology.

“Danske Bank is proud to have supported the Winter Fair since the outset, a reflection of our commitment to the continued success of the event, to the dairy sector and to the wider agri-food industry.”

‘A pinnacle event’

Rhonda Geary, RUAS operations director added: “The Royal Ulster Winter Fair continues to grow year-on-year; it has become a firm favourite in the agricultural calendar in the run-up to Christmas and has established itself as the meeting place for the dairy industry in Ireland.

“The one day show offers the chance to interact with dairy-related trade exhibitors and hear about up-to-date technological advances, difficulties and solutions within the industry. It really is a pinnacle event for farmers and industry enthusiasts.

‘‘Once again we have the generous financial support of Danske Bank for the event. Their continued support is pivotal in making the Winter Fair the successful event it is year-on-year.”