Southern Agricultural Show attracts thousands

Derek Griffin's Bull In 2012, Sulby farmer Derek Griffin's Polled Hereford bull was crowned Supreme Champion

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Thousands of people are expected to attend the 99th Southern Agricultural Show in the Isle of Man later.

The two-day celebration of Manx agriculture will be held at Great Meadow on Saturday and Sunday.

Hundreds of animals from all over the island will be entered in various classes with the highlight the crowning of the supreme champion.

Last year Sulby farmer Derek Griffin's five-year-old Polled Hereford bull won the overall title.

Mr Griffin's bull went on to complete a double victory at the Royal Manx Agricultural Show.

'Particularly poignant'

As well as classes for traditional livestock the weekend will include local food and craft stalls, vintage machinery, children's entertainment and dog shows.

An event spokeswoman said this year's event is "particularly poignant" following the huge losses suffered by the Manx farming community during March's heavy snowfall.

More than 16,000 cattle and sheep died as a result of the island's worst snowfall for 50 years.

It is estimated that 12% of the national breeding flock and 18% of this year's lamb crop was lost.

The spokeswoman said: "The gathering provides a welcome opportunity for farmers to meet each other and show the wider community the fruits of their year-round labour.

"It has been a tough few months for many farmers on the island and hopefully the island community will turn out in force."

About 90% of the Isle of Man is given over to agricultural production with about 450 farms, some with thousands of livestock.

A spokeswoman from the Manx National Farmers Union said they would be displaying photographs from March's snow and thanking the public for their support.

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