Blondes have more fun at farming showcase

One of the most interesting decisions taken to date on this year’s agricultural show circuit was that of John Blackburn to award the beef inter breed reserve title at Newry to a seven month old Blonde calf, bred and exhibited by the Johnston family from Co Tyrone.

“I looked at the young bull and felt it had tremendous potential for the future,” said the Clogher man, who judged all of the beef inter breed classes at Newry.

Victoria and Andrew Johnston interbreed Pairs winners   at Newry Show on Saturday

Victoria and Andrew Johnston interbreed Pairs winners at Newry Show on Saturday

“The calf has tremendous size and shape for its age.”

The animal in question was sired by the elite Blonde bull Ark Diego. He was the top UK priced Blonde in UK back in 2010, selling for £8000. Since then his progeny have gone on to make up to £9000 in the sale ring.

The Newry beef inter breed championship was won by th Connolly family, from Ballynahinch, with their four year old Charolais cow Wesley Glamorous. She entered the show ring with her eight week old calf at foot. The cow’s beef inter-breed championship at Newry follows on from her successes at Balmoral Show. Back in May she won both the Charolais Championship and the reserve inter breed title.

John Blackburn described the cow as an almost perfect example of the Charolais breed.

“The fact that she has her calf at foot is a tremendous bonus: she is a proven breeding animal,” he said.

The dairy championship was won by Downpatrick breeder Jim Morrison with his choice Holstein second calver Inch Sam Roxy VG88.

“She calved back in January and is currently giving 42 litres of milk per day,” he said.

“She is a young cow with tremendous potential for the future. Our aim is to take her to Antrim Show next month, where she will take her chances in the McLarnon’s Dairy Cow Championship.”

Meanwhile, Comber Charollais breeder Diane Christie was having another day to remember in the sheep ring. She won the Newry inter breed title with an eye catching ewe. She had previously won the Lurgan 2015 inter breed championship at Lurgan with the same animal.

Newry continued the welcome theme now apparent at all this year’s shows of encouraging an excellent turnout of sheep. Also worthy of note was the sheep inter breed reserve title won by Maghera-based Ile de France enthusiasts Porter & Hyndman. Both have been to the fore in promoting Ile de France sheep for the last number of years and thoroughly deserved their successes at Newry 2015.