Preparations are in full swing for the upcoming 154th Balmoral Show, one of the most anticipated events in the Northern Irish agri-calendar. The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS), the organizers of the show, are hoping to attract over 100,000 visitors during the four-day event, which begins on Wednesday, May 10th, and continues until Saturday, May 13th. The show will feature a wide variety of livestock classes, including beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, ponies, and horses. However, due to the ongoing threat of avian influenza (bird flu), the RUAS has decided not to offer poultry and pigeon classes at this year’s event. Nonetheless, there will be a display of various types of poultry in the poultry hall.
In addition, new regulations have been introduced relating to Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD). The RUAS has stated that, following progress in BVD eradication and the growing awareness of animal health export requirements, it has decided to increase BVD animal health status requirements for those herds from Northern Ireland who will participate in the Balmoral Show in 2023. The enhanced BVD protocols will provide “added reassurance to all cattle exhibitors while also ensuring that Balmoral can be an inclusive event for all participating cattle breeders,” according to the society. The RUAS is also advising exhibitors from the Republic of Ireland to ensure they have their BVD accreditation certified on entry courtesy of Intra Community Health Certification. To meet the requirements of higher BVD health standards, the RUAS is requesting that cattle breeders from Northern Ireland (NI) can meet the standards of a ‘low risk’ BVD herd.
The Balmoral Show will also feature a variety of family-friendly attractions, including the healthy horticulture marquee, music performers, competitions, funfair, food, and a ‘wee bugs and beasties micro zoo.’ The ‘NI Food & Drink Pavilion’ will also make a comeback this year, showcasing the produce of 100 companies over the four-day show. Three theatre kitchens will be in operation at Balmoral 2023, offering a glimpse of the magic that goes on behind the scenes. The Tesco kitchen will focus on cooking on a budget using local ingredients, the Tourism NI Kitchen will showcase a selection of Northern Ireland’s top food and drink experiences, and the pavilion will also host the Moy Park 80th anniversary kitchen.
The upcoming Balmoral Show is set to follow in the footsteps of a successful 2022 for the RUAS. The society’s ‘commercial arm’ generated a surplus of more than £1 million for the 12 months ending on October 31st, 2022. The latest financial results show that the society also generated a surplus from ordinary activities of £562,978 for the last financial year, and the fixed assets of the group have been valued at £19,345,953. These include residential and commercial property assets at the King’s Hall complex in Belfast.
The Balmoral Show is a significant event in the Northern Irish agricultural calendar, and its success is vital to the industry. With the introduction of new regulations relating to Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) and the absence of poultry and pigeon classes due to the ongoing avian influenza (bird flu) threat, the RUAS is working hard to ensure that the event is both safe and inclusive for all participating cattle breeders. The return of the ‘NI Food & Drink Pavilion’ and the introduction of three theatre kitchens will add to the excitement of the show, and the society’s recent financial success is a positive sign for the future of the event. Overall, the 154th Balmoral Show promises to be a fantastic celebration of Northern Ireland’s agricultural industry, and a great day out for visitors of all ages.