TWO cattle competitions will take place at this year's Beef Expo 2020 held near Darlington.

For the first time the Burke Beef Trophy will be awarded to the best commercial pair.

The award is widely seen as the pinnacle of UK cattle breeding and will be awarded to commercial cattle for this year only, to mark the opening of the new Darlington Farmers Auction Mart at Humbleton Park Auction Centre on Thursday, May 28.

Entries for the Burke Beef Trophy pairs class are open to cattle entered into the NCCS, and can be a pair of bullocks, a pair of heifers or a bullock and heifer, but each pair must be owned by the same exhibitor.

Andrew Lazenby, chief executive of the Royal Agricultural Society, said: "The RASE is delighted to support the presentation of the Burke Trophy at this year’s Beef Expo and we’re looking forward to an impressive entry of cattle to showcase UK beef production."

The Burke Beef Trophy will also be awarded to the Pedigree Beef Interbreed Pair at the South of England Show, which takes place from June 11-13.

Entry forms and schedules for the Beef Expo NBA Commercial Cattle Show (NCCS) will be sent to exhibitors in the middle of this month. They will also be available at www, Entries close on April 27.

Gwyn Edwards of Denbighshire will judge the Native and Continental classes, as well as the supreme championships. Dafydd Lewis of Carmarthenshire will judge the Baby Beef classes, Baby Championship and Young Handlers competition. Both will judge the Burke Trophy pairs class.

The awards are judged over 10 classes. Last year 123 head of cattle were entered into the awards, along with 14 entries in young handler classes.

For the fifth year, the South Devon Herd Book Society is holding its Performance Championships, inviting performance breeders from across the country to compete.

This technical event is a showcase for Breedplan performance-recording South Devon herds, to highlight the importance of Estimated Breeding Values as a tool for breeding selection.

Each class will be judged on inspection of the animals, and on their performance (Quality Beef Index for each bull and Suckler Replacement Index for each female). From these winners the male, female and breed champions will be selected.

The Society anticipates around 25 entrants across the classes, with entries open to animals between 12 and 30 months of age. Performance Championship entry forms will also be available from the NBA Beef Expo website, with entries closing at the beginning of May.

A full seminar programme and working machinery demonstrations will be announced shortly, as well as farm tours and the Beef Industry Dinner, which will be held at Wynyard Hall, Tees Valley. Visitor tickets are available online and are free to NBA members.

Exhibitor trade stands and Breed Society bookings are still being taken. Full details at the Beef Expo website or from Katie Pearson on 07393 452544.