Visits from the Countess of Wessex and the Prime Minister this year demonstrated the profile and value of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.

But it was still all about the livestock as the Fair celebrated increased cattle entries, increased entries in the carcass hall and the poultry show.

One of the most prestigious titles to be won at the event each year, the supreme cattle champion, was awarded to I Candy, a Limousin x heifer weighing 672kg, exhibited by Edward Brothers from Corwen.

It was a wonderful achievement for the family who through Trebor, Gwyn and now the next generation, are great supporters of the society.

Later sold by official auctioneers McCartneys for £6,600, I Candy was bought by the heifer and supreme champion judge, local farmer and butcher Mr Arwyn Morgan from Builth Wells, on his wife’s 70th birthday.

“The Winter Fair is now the greatest prime stock show in the UK, attracting exhibitors throughout the UK.” said Mr Maurice Jones in his address during the official opening ceremony.

“The fair has developed, not only continually raising the standard of stock, but also in the promotion of Welsh produced food, which is so important as we enter unchartered waters.

“As an industry, we are very proud of the quality of stock we produce, and in Wales we have some of the best farmers in the world, supported by a huge allied industry in the supply chain and in the food processing sector, producing some of the best and safest food in the world, and providing much employment, ably supported by Welsh Government.”

David Lewis, chair of the society’s council explained that agriculture continued to form the heart of our events. “One of the pillars of our success is the unwavering support of our exhibitors. We are delighted, despite challenges to have increased cattle entries, increased entries in the carcass hall and the poultry show and strong entries in the sheep, horses and pig sections.

“We also have record entries in the homecraft section and strong entries in floral art and horticulture section. This event goes from strength to strength!”

On Monday, the society welcomed Sophie, Countess of Wessex to the showground while the Tuesday saw another high-profile visitor as Prime Minister Theresa May attempted to sell her Brexit deal to Welsh farmers.

Accompanied by the secretary of state for Wales Alun Cairns, she held talks with Welsh farming leaders on the impending Brexit withdrawal agreement and met traders and the public as part of her busy schedule.

Another new addition was the Royal Welsh Winter Fair Taste Awards. Designed to showcase the many speciality products produced in Wales, this year the taste test focused on the native lamb breeds of Wales.

Gareth Ward, award winning chef from Ynyshir restaurant in Machynlleth, food specialist, Nerys Howell and executive chef from the Celtic Manor, Mike Bates made up the judging panel of three. Together they declared that, in their opinion, the best tasting breed was the Welsh Mountain - Hill Flock.

Winner of the new commercial hide completion was Double Shuffle, a British blue sired steer bred and exhibited by G H and A H Roberts of Star, Gaerwen, Ynys Mȏn. Judge and competition sponsor, Hayley Hanson, intends to use the winning hide to turn into luxury Royal Welsh leather goods.

Elsewhere on the showground, the winner of best overall tradestand award went to Bodoli Ltd, a small business which makes unique and personalised pebble art and hand crafted jewellery with a young 14 year old entrepreneur, Lili Jones at the helm.

This year saw over 400 tradestands, all of whom reported a busy few days. The late night shopping evening again saw thousands of visitors indulging in some Christmas shopping and enjoying the festive atmosphere and spectacular firework display.

MAIN RESULTS

Cattle Supreme Champion: I Candy, a Limousin X heifer weighing 672kg, exhibited by Edward Brothers from Corwen. Sold for £6,600 to Mr Arwyn Morgan from Builth Wells, Powys.

Baby Beef Supreme Champion: Queen Bee, a Limousin X heifer weighing 311kg, exhibited by Mr Llyr Hughes from Amlwch, Anglesey. Sold for £7,500 to S Bett from Stirling.

Sheep Supreme Champion: A pair of Dutch Texel lambs, exhibited by Steve and Sara Gibbons from Brecon, Powys. Sold for £800 pph to judge, J M and S M Rowlands from Llanidloes.

Pig Supreme Champion Single: A Welsh x Pietrain pig, exhibited by D B M and R C M Davies from Lampeter, Ceredigion. Sold for £300 to Mr Rob Rattery from Aberystwyth.

Pig Supreme Champion Pair: A pair of Pietrain x Welsh pigs, exhibited by Mr Myrddin James, Tregaron, Ceredigion. Sold for £240 pph to Mr Rob Rattery from Aberystwyth.

Carcass Supreme Champion Single: A Beltex X, exhibited by Mr Gwynne and Mrs Linda Davies from Tregaron, Ceredigion. Sold to Mr Brian Jones, Castell Howell for £1,800.

Carcass Supreme Champion Pair: A pair of Beltex lambs, exhibited by B Blandford and Sons from Ledbury, Herefordshire. Sold to E and S Thomas from Wauntrefalau,Cardigan for £380 pph.

Welsh Championship Horse: Idyllic Glamorize, a Welsh Mountain Pony, exhibited by Mark and Liz Kilbey from Great Bentley, Essex.

Supreme Champion Horse: Brynseion Red Hot Gossip, a Welsh Pony (Cob type) yearling, exhibited Mrs Ceri Fell from Newent, Gloucestershire.

Supreme Poultry Champion: An Old English Game Spangle Hen, exhibited by M and J Woolway from Swansea.

Supreme Dressed Poultry Champion: A goose, exhibited by Mrs E Marion Evans, Ceredigion. Sold for £160 to Nigels Butchers from Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

Overall Meat Hamper Champion: A Charcuterie Gift Box, by Ruth Davies from Neath Port Talbot. Sold for £50 to the T W Roberts and Son, Malt House, Lisvane.