Laura’s the cream of the dairy crop

UK Dairy Expo Princess Laura Hickey.
UK Dairy Expo Princess Laura Hickey.

UK Dairy Expo is set to be recognised as a world-class event with livestock entries, trade stands and elite sale entries exceeding expectations, according to organisers Harrison & Hetherington.

The UK’s latest agricultural show takes place on Friday, March 2, and Saturday, March 3, at Borderway Exhibition Centre, Carlisle.

It features more than 80 competitive classes and individual awards, 300 livestock entries and 125 trade-stands.

A sale consisting of 30 elite heifers follows the International Youth Dairy Championship at 7pm on the Friday.

The show will also feature the introduction of a Dairy Princess, a role filled by Laura Hickey, who comes from Wooler.

UK Dairy Expo has taken 16 months of planning from the initial stage of conception to delivery.

The show, established as a national event, is expected to have the largest number of dairy cattle entries this year.

Livestock co-ordinator Glyn Lucas said: “The UK Dairy Expo team set out to deliver a leading agricultural event in order to promote the best interests of UK dairy producers.

“The event is aimed at commercial and pedigree breeders and includes trade-stands, exhibitions, business seminars, international dairy youth championships, an all-breeds dairy show and interbreed championship as well as an elite auction sale featuring the best of British breeding.

“The show provides a format allowing networking opportunities, marketing, buying and trade selling, the promotion of British livestock as well as agricultural technology and machinery to an international audience.

“The event is a one-stop show and has received immense support from the dairy industry.”

The event has captured the imagination of UK dairy farmers and show animals will come under scrutiny from two of the world’s most respected cattle judges, Canadians Brad Sayles and Donald Dubois.

Mr Sayles, from Ontario, is casting his expert eye over the young stock showmanship section on Friday, as well as judging the Red and White and Component breed line-ups on Saturday with Mr Dubois, from Quebec, who is judging the Holstein dairy classes.

Friday’s International Youth Showmanship cattle clipping classes will be judged by one of Europe’s leading cattle show fitters and expert leadsperson, Erica Rijneveld.

Young handlers from the UK, Ireland as well as mainland Europe will compete for the prestigious title by demonstrating their expertise by washing, clipping, preparing and leading animals in the show ring.

The show includes another first – the introduction of a Dairy Princess.

A prominent feature at leading events in North America, the Dairy Princess role involves PR and corporate responsibility, event promotion, presenting awards and working with sponsors.

The inaugural UK Dairy Expo Princess is 22-year-old Leeds Met University student Laura Hickey, the current Miss Northumberland, who is in her third of a four year degree course in osteopathy and is heading for her second tilt at the Miss England crown.