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Balmoral Show 2016: Agriculture crisis casts pall, but milk farmers determined to prevail

By Richard Halleron

Published 12/05/2016

Max Watson and cow Daisy from Coleraine at the Balmoral Show at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Balmoral Park near Lisburn, Co Antrim. Picture By: Arthur Allison Pacemaker Press
Max Watson and cow Daisy from Coleraine at the Balmoral Show at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Balmoral Park near Lisburn, Co Antrim. Picture By: Arthur Allison Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker press 13/05/2016 All the fun of the fair as one of the biggest events on the farming calendar takes place at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Balmoral Park near Lisburn, Co Antrim. The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS)Õs annual show is 10% larger than last year. Pictured is Ryan Donaghey and Jack and Lisa Hood from Plum Bridge. Picture By: Arthur Allison Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker press 13/05/2016 All the fun of the fair as one of the biggest events on the farming calendar takes place at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Balmoral Park near Lisburn, Co Antrim. The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS)Õs annual show is 10% larger than last year. Pictured is Wendy and Gordon Smyth from Donegal. Picture By: Arthur Allison Pacemaker Press
13 May 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. First Minister Arlene Foster attended the final day of the Balmoral Show. First Minister Arlene Foster pictured at the Balmoral Show with Andrew Boal and Jo Jordan from the Cancer Fund for Children
13 May 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. First Minister Arlene Foster attended the final day of the Balmoral Show. First Minister Arlene Foster pictured at the Balmoral Show with Liz Birch from Armagh
13 May 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. First Minister Arlene Foster attended the final day of the Balmoral Show. First Minister Arlene Foster pictured at the Balmoral Show with 2 year old Aimee Neill from Newtownabbey.
13 May 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. First Minister Arlene Foster attended the final day of the Balmoral Show. The First Minister visited the Cooktown stand in the NI Food and Drink Pavilion and is pictured Gillian Cahoon, Wendy Donaldson and Helen Bell.
13 May 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. First Minister Arlene Foster attended the final day of the Balmoral Show. First Minister Arlene Foster pictured at the Balmoral Show with Dorothy Randal and Mary Miller from Strabane.
13 May 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. First Minister Arlene Foster attended the final day of the Balmoral Show. The First Minister visited the Pop Notch stand in the NI Food and Drink Pavilion and is pictured with Graham Neill and Michael Heaslip.
13 May 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. First Minister Arlene Foster attended the final day of the Balmoral Show. The First Minister visited the Sea Source stand in the NI Food and Drink Pavilion and is pictured with Hal Dawson.
13 May 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. First Minister Arlene Foster attended the final day of the Balmoral Show. The First Minister visited the Sea Source stand in the NI Food and Drink Pavilion and is pictured with Hal Dawson and Simon Hamilton MLA.
13 May 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. First Minister Arlene Foster attended the final day of the Balmoral Show. The First Minister visited the Sea Source stand in the NI Food and Drink Pavilion and is pictured with Hal Dawson and Simon Hamilton MLA.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 13th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the final at the day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 13th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the final at the day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by / Press Eye
Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the second of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye
Paul Mills and daughter Katie
All the fun of the fair as one of the biggest events on the farming calendar takes place on it's second day Thursday the 12th of May at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Balmoral Park near Lisburn, Co Antrim. The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS)s annual show is 10% larger than last year. Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press
Alison McCullagh and daughter Amber
Leah Graham
James Stewart
A proud owner with his prize bull at the Balmoral Show
All the fun of the fair as one of the biggest events on the farming calendar takes place on it's second day Thursday the 12th of May at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Balmoral Park near Lisburn, Co Antrim. The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS)s annual show is 10% larger than last year. Picture Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
Liam Devlin, Lucy Steele and Alan Lawrence from Cookstown enjoying an ice cream at the Maze
Archie Anderson gives thumbs-up to the Balmoral Show
Joel, Jake, Emily Rose and Lindsey Ferguson from Maghaberry cooling down with ice creams yesterday
Secretary of State Theresa Villiers with RUAS president Billy Robson (right) and chief executive Colin McDonald yesterday
©Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, second day: At the showgrounds in Balmoral Park were Keri Dillion and Denvor Jameson form Tandragee Co Armagh Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye Chloe Burgess, Catherine Cleland and Claire Montgomery from Glastry Farm Ice Cream
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye Clare Stone from Foodie Folk
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye Tarna Moss (13) and Isaac Groves (5)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye Rhys Morrison and Daniel both 11 from Lisnaskea
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye Jenifer Meeke and Pauline Crompton from Dromara.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye Eleanor O'Neill from Clandeboye Estates
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye Mark Henry from Ballymoney
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye Sisters Grace (7) and Eva (5) Scott from Ballynahinch
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye Raymond McFarland and Rayderjem Legend
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye Lily Rose (1) and her Dad Robert Vance from Maguires Bridge
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye Sophie Henry.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye Darcy Getty from Dromara celebrating her 4th Birthday
©Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, second day: At the showgrounds in Balmoral Park were Michelle O'Neill MLA, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Richard Donnan Head of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland and Dan McGinn Communications and Corporate Affairs Manager Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
©Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, second day: At the showgrounds in Balmoral Park were Ethan, Rhonda, Sean and Orla McAfee from Ballymoney enjoying a cup of tea in the Ulster Bank tent Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
©Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, second day: View of Day 2 of the Balmoral Show Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
©Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, second day: At the showgrounds in Balmoral Park were Eamon Askin, Sinead Askin and Liam Askin Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
©Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, second day: At the showgrounds in Balmoral Park were Joel, Jake, Emily Rose and Lindsey Ferguson from Maghaberry Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
©Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, second day: Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Caroll at the Balmoral show Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
©Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, second day: At the showgrounds in Balmoral Park were Sammy Adams and Stuart Dunlop from Banbridge Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank Picture by Freddie Parkinson /Press Eye Liam Devlin, Lusy Steele and Alan Lawrence from Cookstown
Robert Wilson, Scott Wilson, Tracey Wilson, Alison Feathers and Stephen Marshall
Cattle being judged on the first day of the Balmoral Show
Freestyle Moto-X Display team entertaining the crowds
Kelly Minford, Templepatrick
Dr Tome Cole showing Rare Breeds pictured at Balmoral Show. Picture Kevin McAuley/McAULEY MULTIMEDIA
Relaxing at Balmoral Show. Picture Kevin McAuley/McAULEY MULTIMEDIA
Councillor Garath Keating from Armagh
©Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, first day: At the showgrounds in Balmoral Park were Clidhna McTague, P6 St Patrick's PS Rashakin, one of the winners of the Ulster Bank Farm Safty Competition pictured with Agri Kids funder Alma Jordan. The book of Short Stories will be available for download free of charge to all schools in Northern Ireland. Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Audrey Moore, Omagh
©Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, first day: At the showgrounds in Balmoral Park were Clidhna McTague, P6 St Patrick's PS Rashakin, one of the winners of the Ulster Bank Farm Safty Competition pictured with Agri Kids funder Alma Jordan. The book of Short Stories will be available for download free of charge to all schools in Northern Ireland. Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Stewart Wilson, Lisburn
©Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, first day: View of the Balmoral Show Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Pictured at Embrace Farm launch on the UFU stand at Balmoral Show. From left: Brian Rohan, founder, Embrace Farm; Rory Best, Captain, Ireland Rugby Team; Seamus Bannon, ABP; Sinead McLaughlin, award winning Tyrone Ladies GAA footballer and Victor Chestnutt, Deputy President, UFU. Embrace Farm have an Ecumenical Remembrance Service for bereaved farm families on 25 June in Abbeyleix. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Natasha Richards, Lisburn
Pictured at Embrace Farm launch on the UFU stand at Balmoral Show. From left: Norma Rohan, founder, Embrace Farm; Keith Morrison, HSE NI; Barclay Bell, President, UFU; Rory Best, Captain, Ireland Rugby Team and Roberta Simmons, President, YFCU. Embrace Farm have an Ecumenical Remembrance Service for bereaved farm families on 25 June in Abbeyleix. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Alan Fraser and grandson Alfie Bowen
Rory Best, Gilford
William McMordie
91 year old Robbie Mulligan from Banbridge
Colin Todd, Lisburn
In the sheep ring at the Balmoral show
A young judge helps pick a winner
Michelle McLararnon from Cookstown enjoying the colour during the first day of the Balmoral Show
Emma McInnes preparing an Limousin Bull for competition during the first day of the Balmoral Show
Show Jumping
Aerial view of Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show.
Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn.
Jack Dunlop
Stefan Smyth pictured in the goat section ahead of the Balmoral Show in association with Ulster Bank. Pic Steven McAuley
Annie Spratt(7) From Crosgar checks out the life size Irish Moiled bull, the latest sculpture by the Ulster Folk & Transport Museums award winning willow sculptor and basket maker Bob Johnston. The sculpture was made especially for the museum stand at the Balmoral Show which also includes blacksmithing and basket making demonstrations. The Ulster Folk & Transport Museums Farm Manager, Robert Berry, said, The willow bull is the stands centrepiece and, of course, visitors are very welcome to get a photo with this fabulous sculpture. We hope visitors will enjoy our stand which focuses on Ulsters old farming traditions and practices.
Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Pacemaker Press 10/5/2016 Judging sheep at The opening day of the Balmoral Show at the Maze Site near Lisburn , Thousands of people attend The three-day extravaganza of farming, food and family fun celebrates many aspects of agricultural life. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/5/2016 Judging sheep at The opening day of the Balmoral Show at the Maze Site near Lisburn , Thousands of people attend The three-day extravaganza of farming, food and family fun celebrates many aspects of agricultural life. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Judith Baxter from Newtownstewart preparing Irish Moyle cattle for competition during the first day of the Balmoral Show. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
William Montgomery from Maghera feeding straw to a goat during the first day of the Balmoral Show. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
William McElroy and Eddie Mercer, aged 9, from Dromara preparing Ivaniskey Pedigree for competition during the first day of the Balmoral Show. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 11 th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye RUAS Chief Executive Colin McDonald during the first day of the Balmoral Show. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 11 th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Emma McInnes preparing an Limousin Bull for competition during the first day of the Balmoral Show. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 11 th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Lyndsey McAllister from Portadown with 'Nota' an Hereford calf preparing for competition during the first day of the Balmoral Show. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 11 th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Eddie Mercer, aged 9, from Dromara preparing Ivaniskey Pedigree for competition during the first day of the Balmoral Show. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 11 th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Nathan Allison (left) from Richhill and David McTurk from Markethill , aged 13, enjoying their visit during the first day of the Balmoral Show. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 11 th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Lily Anderson aged 4 in the huge shovel of a CAT Wheel Loader during the first day of the Balmoral Show. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 11 th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Competition Sheep judging during the first day of the Balmoral Show. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 11 th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye An Alpaca on show at Mourne Alpacas during the first day of the Balmoral Show. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 11 th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Michelle McLararnon from Cookstown enjoying the colour during the first day of the Balmoral Show. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 11 th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye The Goat pens during the first day of the Balmoral Show. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show 2016. Thousands to flock to agricultural extravaganza for the first of the three day show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
©Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th May 2016 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, first day: The Dengie 5 Year Old Championship At the showgrounds in Balmoral Park were Fyfin Eko ridden by Jonathan Smyth Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Sean Blaney, wife Helen and sons Seanog and Rory launched a new division of their engineering business, Blaney Motor Company, during a VIP launch on Wednesday morning at Balmoral Show. Two new concepts wheel loaders were launched during the event.
Gemma McLaughlin from Ballymena gives a firm farmers wave to show off her new agri themed nails on the first day of Balmoral Show. Picture: Chris McCullough
Gareth Gault and Kirsty Ward from Grassmen launch their new website www.grassmen.com during the first day of Balmoral Show. Picture: Chris McCullough
Pacemaker Press 10/5/2016 The opening day of the Balmoral Show at the Maze Site near Lisburn , Thousands of people attend The three-day extravaganza of farming, food and family fun celebrates many aspects of agricultural life. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/5/2016 The opening day of the Balmoral Show at the Maze Site near Lisburn , Thousands of people attend The three-day extravaganza of farming, food and family fun celebrates many aspects of agricultural life. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/5/2016 Judging sheep at The opening day of the Balmoral Show at the Maze Site near Lisburn , Thousands of people attend The three-day extravaganza of farming, food and family fun celebrates many aspects of agricultural life. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/5/2016 Judging sheep at The opening day of the Balmoral Show at the Maze Site near Lisburn , Thousands of people attend The three-day extravaganza of farming, food and family fun celebrates many aspects of agricultural life. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/5/2016 Show Jumping at The opening day of the Balmoral Show at the Maze Site near Lisburn , Thousands of people attend The three-day extravaganza of farming, food and family fun celebrates many aspects of agricultural life. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/5/2016 Judging sheep at The opening day of the Balmoral Show at the Maze Site near Lisburn , Thousands of people attend The three-day extravaganza of farming, food and family fun celebrates many aspects of agricultural life. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/5/2016 The opening day of the Balmoral Show at the Maze Site near Lisburn , Thousands of people attend The three-day extravaganza of farming, food and family fun celebrates many aspects of agricultural life. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/5/2016 The opening day of the Balmoral Show at the Maze Site near Lisburn , Thousands of people attend The three-day extravaganza of farming, food and family fun celebrates many aspects of agricultural life. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/5/2016 Show Jumping at The opening day of the Balmoral Show at the Maze Site near Lisburn , Thousands of people attend The three-day extravaganza of farming, food and family fun celebrates many aspects of agricultural life. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/5/2016 Sheep sheering at The opening day of the Balmoral Show at the Maze Site near Lisburn , Thousands of people attend The three-day extravaganza of farming, food and family fun celebrates many aspects of agricultural life. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Brothers Eddie, Sam & Matthew Mercer travel with Ruby the Hen and Louie the lamb to announce Translinks special bus, coach and train transport plans for this years Balmoral Show
Rhonda Geary from RUAS in the cattle halls in preperation for Balmoral Show in association with Ulster Bank.
Gary McClelland from Belcoo prepares cattle ahead of the Balmoral Show in association with Ulster Bank. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia
Eamon McGarry prepares cattle ahead of the Balmoral Show in association with Ulster Bank. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia
Balmoral Show. Women's Institute
Balmoral Show. Women's Institute
Balmoral Show. Women's Institute
Balmoral Show 2016 preparations
Balmoral Show 2016 preparations Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Balmoral Show 2016 preparations
Balmoral Show 2016 preparations
Balmoral Show 2016 preparations
Balmoral Show 2016 preparations
Balmoral Show 2016 preparations
Balmoral Show 2016 preparations

Will Balmoral help lift the gloom hanging over agriculture?

The 2016 show began against the backdrop of the biggest crisis to impact on local agriculture in more than half-a-century.

Annie Spratt (7) from Crossgar checks out the life-size Irish Moiled bull, the latest work by the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum’s award-winning willow sculptor and basket maker Bob Johnston
Annie Spratt (7) from Crossgar checks out the life-size Irish Moiled bull, the latest work by the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum’s award-winning willow sculptor and basket maker Bob Johnston

>>Day One Full Results - Click here<<

Milk, beef, pig and cereal prices are at record lows, a reflection of the current slump in international food commodity markets.

This 'perfect storm' follows a combination of factors, including the continuing Russian ban on EU food imports and the 57% drop in dairy and beef imports recorded by China in 2015.

Northern Ireland's food industry exports 80% of its output annually and is wholly dependent on international markets to secure customer outlets.

But it is the dairy sector, more than any other, that is feeling the pinch at present. Prices paid to local dairy farmers have fallen by 50% in the past 12 months.

Day one of Balmoral was marked by confirmation that the Ulster Farmers Union and Dairy UK (Northern Ireland) have joined forces to establish a working group to address the specific challenges to the milk industry.

According to Ulster Farmers Union policy officer Chris Osborne, the initiative is to let the milk sector identify how best to deal with the increasing unpredictability of world markets.

"We are already discussing this matter with union colleagues in other parts of the UK," he said. "Our aim is to come up with a self-help solution that can deliver a sustainable solution for dairy farmers. And all options are currently on the table."

Osborne recognises the commitment by dairy farmers in the United States to agree an insurance-type model with the Washington administration.

"It's too early to say if a scheme of that nature would work in this part of the world. But our core aim is to put in place a series of measures which will have an impact here in Northern Ireland and, possibly, throughout the rest of the UK."

Dairy UK director Mike Johnston confirmed the working group will draw members from all relevant stakeholder groups.

"These include the farming organisations, milk processors, feed companies, the banks, the department of agriculture, the advisory services and research bodies," he said

"The work will entail a root and branch review of every link in the dairy chain and putting in place a development strategy which will help secure a sustainable future for every group within the industry."

Belfast Telegraph

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