Diageo, the company behind the world’s top selling liqueur brand, Baileys, has ended this year’s search for Ireland’s finest Holstein Friesian dairy cow with the fifth calfer Hallow Advent Twizzle 3 crowned the Diageo Baileys Irish Champion, owned by Philip and Linda Jones from Killowen Gorey, Co Wexford.
The competition took place at the 75th Virginia Agricultural Show in Co Cavan, home to Diageo’s cream supplier, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, Virginia, who co-sponsor of the event.
The competition rewards strength and form in body conformation as well as proven excellence in quality milk production.
According to this year’s judge Kevin Wilson: “The standard of the cows could grace any show in the world.”
Evergreen Duplex Ebony owned by Liam and Sandra Murphy from Co Carlow was declared reserve champion.
Honourable mention went to Patrick Colton from Co Monaghan for his cow Ardnasalem Baltimore Robin.
Other prizes were awarded in specialist categories for breeders that travelled to Virginia from as far afield as Co Antrim and Co Cork to compete.
These included: Diageo Baileys champion heifer-in-milk winner, Garry Hurley from Co Wicklow, best EBI winner, James and Tom Kelly from Co Louth, and best protein winner, Mike Magan, from Co Longford as well as best dry cow Winner, John Barrett from Co Cork.
Widely acknowledged as Ireland’s top dairy livestock event, attracting the super-elite of the Holstein Friesian breed, the top awards in the €10,000 prize fund were presented by Irish Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, alongside Breffni O’Reilly, quality director for Diageo Ireland and Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Ltd chairman Henry Corbally.
Speaking afterwards at the winners’ reception, Hazel Chu Diageo Ireland’s head of corporate and trade relations said that Diageo’s production bases for Baileys in Dublin and Mallusk “relied on a top quality cream supply and that the competition was an opportunity to reinforce the provenance of Baileys and the quality of its primary raw ingredient”.
Also speaking at the event, chairman of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, Henry Corbally praised all the entrants for the calibre of pedigree cows on display and congratulated the Virginia Show on a very successful 75th anniversary.