Ayrshires and Charolais top breeds at Royal Ulster

The Ayrshires were worthy winners of the inter-breed dairy cattle competition at the Royal Ulster Show at Balmoral in 1981, reported Farming Life, with the Friesians runners-up.

Sunday, 19th September 2021, 12:00 pm
Major General E G D Pounds. Chief executive of the British Friesian Cattle Society, handing over the societyâ€TMs awards to exhibitors of the champions at the Balmoral Show in 1981. They included Mr Austen Alexander, supreme, and Mr David Heenan, reserve. Picture: Farming Life archives
Major General E G D Pounds. Chief executive of the British Friesian Cattle Society, handing over the societyâ€TMs awards to exhibitors of the champions at the Balmoral Show in 1981. They included Mr Austen Alexander, supreme, and Mr David Heenan, reserve. Picture: Farming Life archives

The Ayrshires captured supreme dairy honours with a strong group which defied the challenge from other breeds, particularly the Black and White.

Instead of including their Ayrshire supreme champion, Crumlin brothers Charles and Reggie Sufferin, selected a choice heifer, which stood second to the champion in the heifer derby.

Making up the team were the reserve breeds champion of J and J Liggett of Tandragee, and a grand cow of Brian King of Ballymena.

Presenting the E T Green Trophy to NI Charolais Club chairman, Mr David Heenan, after a Charolais won the inter-breed competition for beef cattle at the Balmoral Show in 1981. Holding the winning Charolais trio are Mrs Florrie Short, Cyril Millar and James Simpson. Picture: Farming Life archives

FRIESIANS

For the Friesians it was the breed champion, exhibited by W E Alexander and Son of Newcastle, who also put up a first prize cow, with one from Barbican Farms, Newcastle.

Mr John Beatty from Dublin, formerly chief livestock officer of the Eire Department of Agriculture, who was the inter-breed judge, told Farming Life afterwards that he had no hesitation in giving top place to the Ayrshires as the best balanced team.

“The dairy group were a good representations of the breeds,” he said. “The Ayrshires were excellent on their legs, with remarkably good udders, and were very well selected for the job. They were closely followed by the Friesians which were not just as even a team as the Ayrshires.”

Mr Cyril Millar, Coleraine, with his Charolais supreme champion cow, crowning several breed successes at the Balmoral Show in 1981. Picture: Farming Life archives

There was tremendous interest around the crowded tree-lined judging ring as the beef breeds competed for top honours.

The Charolais, which had put up an excellent all-round display, took top place with the supreme champion owned by Cyril Millar of Coleraine, the choice reserve female champion heifer was owned by Walter Shortt of Omagh, and the reserve champion bull owned by Campbell Patterson of Lisdoonan, Carryduff.

SIMMENTALS

The Simmental trio which were runners-up comprised a first prize heifer owned by Jack Boggs from Strabane, one from Bertie Watterson from Magherafelt, and the other from Joe Campbell also from Strabane.

Mr Oliver Campbell, left, secretary of the NI Limousin Cattle Club, looks on as Mr William Mulligan, on behalf of the club, presents a figurine of a Limousin bull to Mr William Spiers in recognition of his services of inspection of the animals. Picture: Farming Life archives

Mr Beatty was impressed by the good presentation of the breeds which, he said, resulted in a very close finish for the first three places.

“The Charolais earned the premier place, closely followed by the Simmentals and there was little between them and the Limousins,” he said.

HEREFORDS

The Hereford team was led by the excellent breed champion bull of Eric McMordie of Ballygowan, backed by the female champion owned by Jack Barron, who made up the team with a cow.

John Stewart, Drumcullen, Randalstown, and his wife with their champion and reserve champion hunter brood mares and foals at the Balmoral Show in 1981. Picture: Farming Life archives

The Aberdeen Angus group was headed by the breed champion cow owned by Robert Campbell from Seaforde, Co Down.

While the Continentals were well balanced, the “native” teams lacked uniformity in size and tailed the Exotics.

BREED HONOURS

There was keen rivalry in the different sections. Most of the top awards in the dairy shorthorn classes, including the supreme championship, went to a grand heifer owned by Kenneth Workman of Garvagh, Co Londonderry, with Samuel Kelly of Castlecaulfield, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, taking the top reserve award with a bull.

The Ayrshires produced an impressive display of quality cattle and it was a “field day” for Charles and Reggie Sufferin from Crumlin, who won their eleventh supreme championship at Balmoral. With their heifer and another heifer, which had been fancies for top honours, they won the “heifer derby” and had the best group among several other successes.

The reserve supreme championship went to a cow exhibited by J and J Liggett from Tandragee, whose successes included the reserve best group.

Mrs Margaret King, Ballymena, with her prizewinning Jersey cow, as husband Brian, gives a helping hand with another of Mrs Kingâ€TMs Jerseys. Mr King was among the successful Ayrshire exhibitors at the Balmoral Show in 1981. Picture: Farming Life archives

FRIESIAN LEADERS

Farming Life reported that there had been better all-round displays of Friesians at Balmoral but the top impressed the judge, Miss Cynthia Hall from Buckinghamshire who, in turn, impressed exhibitors by her efficient manner in placing the winners, some of which she had to select from some very big classes.

She awarded the supreme championship to a cow exhibited by W E Alexander and Sons of Newcastle, giving the reserve ticket to Barbican Farms, winner of the Friesian heifer “derby” - the two had been placed in that order for the female championship.

When it came to the best group of three females bred by an exhibitor, Miss Hall reversed the order – the top group award going to Barbican Farms with the Fiddlersgreen Herd in reserve.

The male champion came from the herd of John McKeen and John Smith from Islandmagee, Co Antrim.

The judge of the Jersey cattle, Captain P G D Aizlewood from Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, made it clear that he was “not exactly over the moon” about the general quality of the exhibits. He thought highly of the leaders, however, giving the supreme breed championship award to a grand bull owned by E J Carey of Katesbridge, Banbridge, the reserve going to a cow exhibited by David McClurg of Crossgar.

The reserve female was a cow exhibited by Mrs Brian King of Ballymena. The reserve male was shown by Miss Margaret Martin of Ballyknock, Moira.

Mr Alastair Mackay, secretary of the British Simmental Cattle Society, and Mr George Allen, Portadown, watching judging of the Charolais cattle at the Balmoral Show in 1981. Picture: Farming Life archives
Mr Hubert Gabbie, Crossgar, with his top prizewinning Large White at the Balmoral Show in 1981. He is pictured here with the champion gilt. Picture: Farming Life archives
Mr Robert Campbell, Seaforde, Co Down, and his daughter with the Aberdeen Angus supreme champion cow at the Balmoral Show in 1981. Picture: Farming Life archives
The Jersey supreme championship was won by this bull of E J Carey, Katesbridge, at the Balmoral Show in 1981. Picture: Farming Life archives
Mrs Cynthia Hall from Buckinghamshire with the Friesian supreme champion cow of W E Alexander. Picture: Farming Life archives
Mr George Mackey, LEDU chief executive, presenting trophy to Mrs Sam Moore of Moore Uni-Drill Ltd, Ballymoney, at the Balmoral Show in 1981. On the left are Lord Oâ€TMNeill and Mrs Mary Doran, Newcastle, who made the silver casket which was that yearâ€TMs award. Picture: Farming Life archives
Mr Charles Sufferin, Crumlin, with the Ayrshire supreme champion heifer at the Balmoral Show in 1981. Picture: Farming Life archives
Alistair Armstrong, Broughshane, with his fatherâ€TMs Blackface prizewinning ewe at the Balmoral Show in 1981. Picture: Farming Life archives
Among the visitors to the Balmoral Show in 1981 were William Beatty, Ballyclare Road, Newtownabbey, with his wife Mabel, and their son, Barry. Picture: Farming Life archives
Mrs Sheelagh Wilson, Newtownards, with her first prize hunter brood mare at the Balmoral Show in 1981. Picture: Farming Life archives