With breaks of sunshine in between cloud, day one of Balmoral Show yesterday (Wednesday, May 16) brought thousands of visitors to the Eikon Exhibition Centre location in Lisburn.

Among the guests of honour at the event organised by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) was Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Andrew Muir.

Later this week, the First Minister, Michelle O’Neill and Deputy First Minister, Emma Little-Pengelly will make an appearance at the iconic agri event.

The four-day event is expected to attract a total number of visitors in the region of 110,000.

Balmoral Show

Yesterday’s activities included national show jumping; judging in the poultry pavilion; the show of beef shorthorns; sheep display; shearing competition; youngstock competitions; as well as Limousin and British Blonde cattle in the show rings.

Lely’s 50,000th Astronaut milking robot was also unveiled at yesterday’s Balmoral Show.

RUAS president, John Henning OBE, said he was honoured to be invited to unveil the 50,000th robot which has been purchased by David Cargill from the Hollybank Holstein Herd, based at Parkgate, near Templepatrick in Co. Antrim.

Since its commercial introduction in 1995, Lely has said that its Astronaut has revolutionised dairy farming worldwide, with Astronaut robots milking over 2,500,000 cows daily in over 50 countries.

Jim Irwin from the Lely Center Eglish said: “Congratulations to David Cargill who is the new owner of the 50,000th Lely Astronaut.

“David is a valued customer and work is currently underway in preparation for the installation of four Astronaut A5 robots.

“The Parkgate farm is also home to the Lely Vector automated feeding system and a number of Discovery barn cleaners.”