THE rain poured and the sun shone for this year’s Balmoral Show, Belfast, but one thing that remained constant was the excellent quality of livestock on display. Hannah Noble reports.
Leading the day in the dairy ring was the Holstein champion, Hallow Atwood Twizzle, bred and exhibited by the Jones family, Wexford, Ireland, which was their first time winning the interbreed championship at Balmoral. The cow which was classified VG88 as a two-year-old and is yet to be re-scored, calved in December with its second and is currently giving 50kg daily. Residing in the 80-strong Hallon Holstein herd, Twizzle was honourable mention at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair in 2018 and will return later this year.
Taking the reserve spot was Clandeboye Tequila Cookie, the Jersey champion from Clandeboye Estate, Bangor. This was a third-calved-cow by Tower Vue Prime Tequila, which calved in November and is currently giving 28kg. Out of Newmoor Sultan Cookie, and matching her classification at EX93, the cow was reserve champion Jersey at Balmoral last year and took the Jersey championship and honourable mention in the inter-breed at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair in 2017.
It was a clean sweep in the Holstein championship for Hallow Holsteins who also took the reserve breed title with home-bred cow Hallow Atwood Grace and honourable mention with Thevalley amazing Frost. The reserve champion was a third calved cow, also by Maple-Downs-I G W Atwood calved in December and is currently yielding 45kg per day. This was the first show this year for the cow which was classified VG89 as a two-year-old, but it was named Holstein champion at Emerald Expo in 2018.
The reserve champion Jersey was Potterswalls Irwin Glamour from the Henry and Fleming families, Co. Antrim. The VG88-classified cow calved in October with its second calf and was named reserve breed champion at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair in 2018.
Taking the Ayrshire title for the second year running was Ardmore Janet 110 from Michael and John Hunter, Crumlin. The EX92-classified cow is by De La Plaine Prime and calved with its fourth calf in October. Residing within the family’s herd of 200 Holstein and Jersey cows, it is currently giving 34kg daily.
The Hunter family also took the reserve spot with Ardmore Orphan 110 which is also classified EX92. By Rosehill Blackthorn, the cow entered its fourth lactation in March and is currently giving 50kg daily.
The inter-breed beef championship went to the Beef Shorthorn champion, Ricketstown Lovely 191 from David Duncan McDowell, Co. Down. The cow by Nevada Nitetime was bought privately from Martin Kelly, Ricketstown, as a maiden heifer and was shown with its second calf at foot, a January-born, heifer by Elliott Matrix. Residing in the 40-strong Castlemount herd, the cow won its class at Balmoral 2 years ago.
The junior and Limousin champion was also named the inter-breed reserve champion, this was Millbrook Nelenya from William Smith, Co. Meath. The home-bred heifer is by Wildoge Vantastic and out of home-bred cow, Millbrook Enya. There are three generations of Balmoral champions in its pedigree, and this year, after a 5 year absence, Mr Smith took the junior and reserve inter-breed titles.
The Charolais champion, Elgin Nancy was given honourable mention. Exhibited by Paddy Gallagher, Co. Londonderry, it was bought privately from Elgin Charolais, Moaryshire. By Woodpark Elgin and out of Elgin Electra, the heifer was junior champion at the royal Highland show in 2018. It will go to some other local shows before going back to join the rest of Mr Gallagher’s 20-strong Gallaran herd.
The reserve junior champion was also pulled into the inter-breed final five, this was the commercial champion, Peppa, from Blackwater Limousins, Benburb. The January 2018-born Limousin cross heifer is by Craigatoke Jack was bought at Carrick on Shannon winter fair in 2018This was its first time out and will now head into the suckler herd which is a mixture of pedigree Limousins and commercial cows.
The fifth breed champion pulled out into the final shortlist was the British Blue. The 10-year-old cow, Castlerench Delia is owned by Oliver and Anthony McGuiness, Derry. It was bought two-years-ago from Donagal and has had four calves and is back in calf again.
Competing for his 44th year in the pig section at Balmoral show, Trevor Shields, Co. Down, took the inter-breed championship with his Large White junior gilt, Glenmarshal Dainty Lady. The September 2018-born gilt is part of the 1000-strong Glenmarshal herd and is by home-bred boar, Glenmarshal King David. Mr Shields also won reserve champion Large White, champion Landrace and champion and reserve pork pig.
In reserve was the Middle White champion, Nancenoy Fair Lady 27 from Ernest Gregg, Ballymena. Bought privately from Caroline Dunstan, Landsend, as a gilt last year, it is due to farrow in June to a home-bred boar. By Nancenoy Captain, it is out of Pinehurst Fair Lady and was part of the reserve champion inter-breed pair.
The shortwool breeds dominated the inter-breed championship with the Charollais champion taking the supreme honours. The home-bred shearling ewe owned by Graham Foster, Omagh, and this was its first time being shown, he also took the reserve breed champion title with the ewe’s full sister. It is by Rablestown Superman, a tup bred by Gareth Jones, and bought from Worcester two-years-ago for 2,200gns. It is out of a home-bred ewe by a Tullyear tup.
In reserve was the Suffolk champion, a January-born tup lamb from Mark Priestley, Co. Down who has competed at Balmoral about 20 times but has never lifted the trophy. The home-bred lamb is the first son of Limestone Aston Martin, a home-bred tup which sold at Stirling for 40,000gns and Mr Priestley retained a third share. It is out of a Limestone Brigadeer ewe, Brigadeer himself sold for 10,000gns. This was the lamb’s first show and he will now head to Stirling to sell later in the year.
In the longwool line-up, the Greyface took the honours, a three-year-old ewe from D. and N. Hamill and Sons, Co. Antrim. The ewe was bought two-years-ago from a sale at Ballymena and has never been shown but now may go on to compete later in the season.
The reserve longwool champion was the Bluefaced Leicester owned and exhibited by Joseph Adams, Co. Antrim. The home-bred shearling ewe is by J1 Carryhouse which was the champion tup at Hawes three-years-ago and as bought for 5,500gns. The family have been showing at Balmoral for the last 15 years and have never won breed champion but last year they were reserve with a ewe from the same sire.