ONE of agriculture’s key events in Carlisle went ahead despite the escalating coronavirus crisis.

There was concern that the Borderway UK Dairy Expo 2020 at Rosehill, might not be the spectacle it usually is, but organisers said, while numbers were down on previous years, the flagship event still oozed quality.

“Everything went well. Numbers were down, but breeders brought their best cows and visitors still turned out,” said Heather Pritchard, Pedigree Sales and Marketing Manager at organisers, Harrison & Hetherington.

“We had followed Government guidelines before deciding to go ahead and put posters displaying guidelines and installed sanitation units,” added Mrs Pritchard.

H&H put out a media announcement before the weekend to say that all exhibitors and stock attendants had been on site for over 24 hours and were not showing any symptoms.

But the position was being reviewed every two hours, and any change in Saturday’s itinerary would be made later on the Friday, but any decision could be changed at short notice.

The event, which attracts an international line-up of judges, hundreds of dairy cattle representing the UK’s finest dairy genetics and dozens of trade stands representing all sectors of the industry, normally attracts thousands of visitors and represents a huge boost to the local economy.

David Pritchard, the joint managing director and event organiser, says it was a difficult decision to let the event go ahead.

“Government advice at the moment was to continue, so we took that advice, and we talked to our staff, we talked to some of our key customers and the feeling was that we still go ahead,” he said.

“Once again, the event has evolved and we have seen it grow and develop as both a business platform and livestock showcase, and that is why today it is recognised as one of the premier dairy events in the UK. We are proud to acknowledge that it has become increasingly valuable to the whole industry as a place to network and be at the forefront of the very best of what is available to the farming community and wider agricultural industry,” added Mr Pritchard.

In its ninth year, the event this year included the inaugural H&H Safety Farm Zone, which ran specialist demonstrations and presentations in a bid to highlight what is a notoriously hazardous industry.