Farmers, food processor and producers, retailers and a wide range of agricultural manufacturers and services were in big numbers at this year's Balmoral Show.

One of the leading retailers working closely with farmers is M&S, and their Agriculture Manager, Peter Kennedy, explained how the company had emerged from a difficult year with good results, although these are being officially released in the coming days.

The company presented special awards to farmer suppliers for their excellence.

He said they, like all companies, had targets for reaching net zero goals by 2040 and they were working with their partners to co-ordinate this.

He said they were striving for innovation, especially at key times in the season such as Christmas, and consumers would see the special food products on display.

M&S Food has launched a new advertising campaign in a bid to highlight the quality of its products.

One of their latest introductions is the Farm to Foodhall campaign, working with celebrity chef, Tom Kerridge.

The five-month campaign will see the chef visit farms which supply strawberries, honey and sourdough as well as milk and beef products.

Northern Ireland suppliers are involved in a number of key areas of food products, including milk and Wagyu beef.

In the cattle accommodation in the Logan Hall, one of the successful exhibitors was Fintan Keown from Belleek with his outstanding Aberdeen Angus yearling bull, ‘Home Farm Erne’, which not only won the junior breed championship, but also the male championship and the overall reserve breed championship.

Fintan runs 10 pedigree cows on the farm along with 25 commercial suckler cows.

On a stall adjacent was Caolan McBrien, from Boho, who won the Aberdeen Angus pairs class.

Another successful exhibitor was Nigel Edwards with his Irish Moiled cattle under the prefix, N and M Moilies, which he runs with Michele McCauley.

With farms at Dungannon, Tempo and Ballynahinch, they lifted the overall breed championship with ‘Burren Princess Pandora’, a three-year-old cow and second calver, with calf at foot.

Michele is currently Chair of the Irish Moiled Cattle Society, which has a healthy number of members across the island of Ireland.

In the sheep pavilion, there were numerous successes for local exhibitors too.

The Show features some of the best food producers in Northern Ireland. Artisan producer, Burren Balsamics, was showcasing some their accompaniments to a range of meals such as salads and meats.

Founded by Susie Hamilton Stubber, who grew up at Ashbrooke in Co. Fermanagh, the company based at Richhill provides a range of pantry products such as Balsamic salt and sugar, infused Balsamic vinegars in flavours such as Armagh Bramley apple and Roast Onion, infused white condiments such as Blood Orange and Cardamon as well as chutneys, jams and marmalades.

The food company was founded in 2014 to create 100 per cent natural infused Balsamic vinegars of Modena, and they have been awarded 37 Great Taste Award Stars, and are the only two-time winner of the Best Artisan Product at Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards, in 2017 and 2019.

Also in the food pavilion was the popular Kennedy Bacon, this year marketing their bacon and sausage burgers ready for the barbecue season.

In the extensive horticulture display area, growers and DAERA were promoting the health benefits of vegetables with a display on potatoes, showing various varieties and their characteristics.

Professional vegetable grower, Trevor Gabbie, donated trays of vegetable seedlings for sale for a cancer charity.

In the extensive grounds, ABP and Linden Foods were inviting their suppliers to tea in a new shed measuring 21.6m long by 15.2m wide and 4.4m high, complete with precast wall panels, galvanised roller door and pedestrian door.

They were offering the shed as a prize in a draw, or £20,000 cash, with proceeds going to Rural Support's Life Beyond initiative which provides bereavement support for farm families.

Dairy processors were also attracting plenty of farmer suppliers on their stands as the milk price continues to fall, with a further 3.5p drop last week.