The inaugural Northern Ireland Pedigree Calf Fair & Beef NI Expo event took place on 14th November in Balmoral, Belfast, bringing together the very best on offer for Northern Ireland beef producers.
Key suppliers across all sectors were in attendance; with leading producers from UK and Ireland judging this new NI event.
The theme was “Beef Strategy 2020” with input from across all sectors of the beef industry.
There was a strong show of Charolais cattle and breeders commented “that it was a great opportunity to showcase young Charolais stock”. The event was spearheaded by the NI Charolais Club along with stakeholders from nine other beef clubs and organised with partners NBA and LMC.
It provided an opportunity to see what will be on offer at the club’s sales and shows next spring and summer across ten pedigree breeds. The event was hailed a great success with 303 calves under 15 months exhibited stalled in the Londonderry hall. The showing took place in two show rings with 10 breed judges; the breeds were alternated to keep interest around the show ring all day.
It was a fine spectacle in late afternoon with 10 junior breed champions and ten senior breed champions lined up to receive their plaques from event chairman David Connolly and secretary Ann Orr.
There was a great buzz and sponsors and traders were very happy to have the opportunity to showcase their products and services and meet new and potential customers.
Judges came from across the UK and Ireland travelling into Belfast the previous day to join their hosts for a meal and get together before the event. Some of the judges have commented that ‘they were privileged to be involved in such a well organised and successful showcase for the pedigree beef breeds in NI’.
The four classes for the Young Stockmanship competition were very popular with many young people trying their hand at preparation and handling for the first time. This section was judged by Alison Connolly with Philip Johnston gaining the highest marks as the top Charolais handler and retaining the Animax Cup.
Leading suppliers for the beef industry recognised the importance of the event and pledged their financial support; with leading retailer Tesco, suppliers Isuzu Gormley Motors, Crystalx, Bovipast RSP, HVS Animal Health and Farm Wardrobe reflecting the strong commitment to the beef and indeed the wider agri-food industry in Northern Ireland. With trade space for 70 exhibitors full to capacity, showcasing a broad range of products and services; suppliers provided information and advice and showed some new and interesting concepts for the visitors attending.
The stakeholders feel it is essential to work together as a group to showcase the whole beef industry in the province, and they expect to build on the success of the event. The date for next year is set as Saturday 19th November 2016 in Balmoral Belfast.
Junior champion: Brigadoon Lolly owned by WD & JA Connolly
Reserve Junior Champion: Fury Leader owned by Pat Hackett
Senior Champion: Coolnaslee Jillie owned by G J Crawford
Res. Senior Champion: Ratoary Justrite ET owned by Sean McGovern
Senior Champion: 147 Gilbert J Crawford, Coolnaslee Jillie, Barnsford Ferny, Coolnaslee Danielle
Reserve Senior Champion: 135 Sean McGovern, Ratoary Justrite ET, Lochend Apache, Clooncullane Chloe
Junior Champion: 188 WD & JA Connolly, Brigadoon Lolly, Brigadoon Himself, Brigadoon Dolly
Reserve Junior Champion: 154 Pat Hackett, Fury Leader, Crossmolina Euro, Fury Cara.