The sixth Royal Ulster Premier Beef & Lamb Championships will take place on Tuesday, November 21 at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Lisburn.

A large number of premium cattle and sheep will be exhibited with entries expected from across all counties in Northern Ireland.

Entries just closed this week. Some of the judges have been announced.

Jean Mackay from Scotland will be judging the cattle classes and championships with Derek Frew from Antrim, selecting the Ulster Housewife Championship.

Martin Tumilty, Co. Down, will be in charge of judging the breeding heifer section with James May, Worcestershire, judging the calf classes.

David Millar will be selecting the top lambs, with Sheila Malcolmson announced as lamb young handler judge.

The cattle young handler judge is Elizabeth Rodgers, a native of Fermanagh, now farming in Co. Down.

Announcing the lamb young handler classes, the RUAS, organisers of the event, said Sheila Malcolmson, judge, and her husband and son run a dairy herd alongside a small acreage of cereals and a flock of pedigree Charollais sheep near Newry.

She is the current Chair of the Northern Ireland Charollais Sheep Club, and has exhibited at Balmoral Show.

There will be keen interest in the calf classes at this year’s Royal Ulster Premier Beef & Lamb Championships, judged by James May from Worcestershire.

Growing up on a busy commercial mixed farm in Bromsgrove, James helped his family business dive headfirst into the world of showing.

From local shows to young farmers competitions, the family regularly competed and celebrated their first major success in 2016 when their red Limousin heifer, ‘Tinkerbell’, won the Overall Supreme Champion title at the English Winter Fair.

Since then, James’ focus turned from buying calves in the spring to breeding their own show calves.

Using mostly Limousin bulls, he now utilises a mixture of natural service and embryos.

The family farm is currently milking 150 Holstein cows, lambing approximately 1,000 Texel cross ewes, and are finishing their own beef cattle in an ever-increasing suckler herd.

James’ showing success continued last year when his homebred heifer, ‘Party Girl’, was crowned Overall Champion at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show.

In November, 2022, another homebred heifer calf, ‘Queen of Hearts’, did the honours of picking up the Baby Beef Supreme Champion at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.

On the day of the Beef & Lamb Championships, James said he will be looking for an “eye-catching calf suitable for next season’s show circuit on either side of the water”.

The Breeding Heifer section at this year’s Royal Ulster Premier Beef & Lamb Championships will be judged by Martin Tumilty from Annaclone, Co. Down.

Martin works alongside his father and son on their multi-generational family farm, which focuses on a mix of arable crops and livestock.

Their main enterprise is sourcing top-quality breeding heifers from all across Ireland for their annual in-calf heifer sale in October.

Martin prides himself on having a keen eye for detail and has previously judged suckler calves for the Northern Ireland Limousin Club.

At the Championships this year, Martin will be looking for “a correct, long, deep-bodied heifer with shape, natural width, square plates, good legs and a sweet head”.