A Swiss cow called Australia, from Scotland, wins championship in England

2016 Borderway UK Dairy Expo Champion of Champions Illens Atwood Australia. Left to right are: Izzy Wright, Ann Laird, Colin laird, Alister Laird and Cathleen Laird
2016 Borderway UK Dairy Expo Champion of Champions Illens Atwood Australia. Left to right are: Izzy Wright, Ann Laird, Colin laird, Alister Laird and Cathleen Laird
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Eyes in the UK dairy industry were firmly focused on Carlisle last weekend when thousands of spectators flocked to the city for Borderway UK Dairy Expo 2016.

With an international line up of judges this is one of the top dairy cattle shows in Europe.

“This is a key event for the industry, and for us. Although uncertainty surrounds the dairy industry, today’s breeders and exhibitors demonstrated faith and confidence, going forward.”

Brian Richardson, Chief Executive, H&H Group

The event highlighted the tremendous quality of dairy cattle that the UK has to offer, and all three judges were hugely impressed with the line-up of entries, and enthusiastically praised all the animals on display as being world class in breeding and presentation.

However, without a doubt the star of the show in 2016 was Alister Laird, of Blythbridge in Peebleshire. Alister and his family won three championship awards, including Champion of Champions with Holstein cow Illens Atwood Australia. Alister himself won the John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award for is commitment and dedication to the dairy industry.

Organised by Harrison and Hetherington, Borderway UK Dairy Expo brings together the very best of British dairy cattle, talent from the UK dairy industry and international dairy genetics. With over 6000, visitors, 350 dairy cattle entries, 50 showmanship entries, over 120 trade stands, it is an industry platform which is aimed at supporting farmers, and commercial representatives.

Brian Richardson Chief Executive of the H&H Group said: “This is a key event for the industry, and for us. Although uncertainty surrounds the dairy industry, today’s breeders and exhibitors demonstrated faith and confidence, going forward.”

From Blythebridge Holsteins, Alister and Colin Laird’s five year old Holstein cow Illens Atwood Australia won three championship awards, including Champion of Champions. Alister Laird was also the recipient of the 2016 John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award, which is presented in memory of John Dennison.

Commenting, Alister said: “We have owned Illens Atwood Australia for just over a year and are absolutely delighted, to be taking two trophies across the border tonight.”

Commenting on his choice of champion, Holstein Judge, Michael Heath from Maryland America, commented: “The depth of the show demonstrated a high calibre, with the top end being at an exceptional level. The winning animal was a very balanced angular cow of a good size, not over big. In the championship class she pulled it all together feet, legs and free moving made her really stand out. This is definitely a cow that anyone, anywhere in the world, would want to have.”

The breed champions were as follows:

The Jersey winner was, for the second year running, Bluegrass Vindications Harp owned by the Fleming Family, J Henning and K Agnew, Downpatrick, Co Down. Reserve Champion went to Izzy Wright, Peebles with Fourcrosses Anthony Carroza.

Champion Ayrshire was Beeline Swiss Florence, and owner SN Bailey and Partners, Cheshire. W & A Watson, Ayrshire won reserve with Muir Oblique Ursula.

Dairy Shorthorn champion was Churchroyd Bronte Wildeyes 39 owned by IRG Collins and Partners, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire who also took reserve champion with Churchroyd Lady Rose 21.

British Friesian breed champion was Oakalby Vienne Sheila 41, and reserve was Oakalby Quadrant Sheila 50, both owned by ES Burroughs and Son from Suffolk.

The Holstein breed champion was Illens Atwood Australia from Blythbridge Holsteins, Peebleshire. Reserve was taken by Milliedale Dusk Rhapsody from Yasmin Bradbury, Derbyshire.

Taking the championship for the Brown Swiss was T Lochhead & Sons, Dumfries with Old Mill Wonderment Sunset. In reserve was Kedar Rhapsody also from Messrs Lochhead.

B Weatherup & Partners, Fife, with Parkend Director Starlet Red were Red and White breed champions. Standing reserve was WJ Nadin & Co, Derbyshire with Sterndale Alchemy Noel Red.

Coloured Breeds judge Jeff Stephen of Troy, Ontario, Canada, commenting on the quality of what he saw said: “The Brown Swiss champion was quite exceptional and could, without a doubt, compete on an international level. The cow is one of the best we have seen for over 40 years. It was an exceptional show, the cattle have great mammary, excellent feet and legs and the atmosphere throughout the day has been very good.”

The International Dairy Youth Championships attracted both UK and international entries and this year’s overall winner, judged by David Gray, was 24 year old James Doherty from Shrewsbury.

Through a number of demonstrations visitors could view ways of adding value, optimising opportunities and minimising costs for dairy farming enterprises, and this was a particular focus for this year’s event. SHEPHERD AGRI showcased a new range of small scale dairy equipment, demonstrating cheese and yoghurt making, which came with expert cheesemakers, from the Po Valley in Northern Italy. XL Vets demonstrations were targeted at ensuring the welfare of the cow and her calf.

A major draw for many of the international crowd were the trade stands which showcased the latest developments in dairy farming practices, breeding, genetics, equipment, technology, livestock marketing and export opportunities.

Mark Holliday, Sales Specialist and Marketing Manager from Carrs Billington both an exhibitor and sponsor of the event in Carlisle, commented: “Borderway UK Dairy Expo really is a tremendous show of dairy cattle, one of the best in the country. It is a very important part of the UK showing calendar, and from a business side it is a good time to have a show. This time of year, as we are going forward to spring and talking about the summer grazing, a lot of people on the stand expressed interest in the Grassland products.

“People visit the Dairy Expo from a very wide area, including Northern Ireland which makes for a very busy day.”

Borderway UK Dairy Expo 2016 was this year supported by seven mainline sponsors Holstein UK, CIS, Clydesdale Bank, Norbrook, Farmers Guardian, Carrs Billington and World Wide Sires. Without this support events such as this, quite literally, would not happen, and speaking afterwards David Pritchard Operations Director for Harrison and Hetherington and Event Organiser said: “When we launched UK Borderway Dairy Expo five years ago, we specifically held it at a time of year which would be of most benefit of dairy farmers and exhibitors. Feedback from today indicates that there is confidence in the long term for the UK Dairy industry.

“We are delighted that once again Borderway UK Dairy Expo has completely exceeded our expectations, in the terms of the quality of the animals on show. The event was incredibly well represented and the very high standards of entries across all of the classes were truly exceptional. I congratulate all of the winners, and thank everyone who took part in the competitions. Testament to the excellent display of entries and trade stands was the International crowd, with people attending from as far afield as Canada and Scandinavia.”