The farming calendar’s provincial show circuit got under way on Saturday as Lurgan Horse and Cattle Society hosted its 107th annual show in the town’s idyllic park.
Thousands basked in the sunshine at the Co Armagh event, which featured a packed schedule for visitors of all ages.
Among the spectators were DUP MLA Carla Lockhart, and four-week-old son Charlie; ABC Council’s Lord Mayor Mealla Campbell, and deputy Margaret Tinsley; DAERA’s Dr Eric Long; and UFU president Ivor Ferguson.
Michele Doran, who was celebrating 20 years in the role of show secretary, confirmed a strong entry across the various home industry, poultry, equine and livestock classes.
She said: “It has been another great show, and we’ve been very lucky with the weather.
“A big thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of our 107th annual show, especially ABC Council, Translink and principal sponsor ABP. We are also indebted to the many individuals who give so freely of their time to organise the show.”
The cattle and sheep sections attracted a variety of continental, native and traditional breeds.
Leading the cattle parade and securing the award for the supreme champion of champions was the Holstein cow Glasson Goldfish Form Erle VG88 from Philip and Simon Haffey’s 150-cow herd at Portadown. A second prize winner at Balmoral Show, she calved her third in March and is producing 42 litres of milk every day. Originating from the noted Erle family at Smiddiehill, her granddam was the 76,000gns Field of Dreams Formation Erle.
The Haffey family have won seven successive Holstein championships at Lurgan Show. Interbreed cattle judge Cyril Millar, from Coleraine, described the overall show champion as a spectacular specimen of the breed. “It’s never an easy task judging beef cattle against dairy cattle, and the exhibitors deserve credit for putting on a tremendous show of quality animals.
“Today’s overall winner is a flashy dairy cow with great power and scope. She has a big open frame, a well attached udder, and walks well on sound legs and feet.”
Taking the reserve supreme award was the interbreed beef winner, an Aberdeen Angus heifer from Richard and Fiona McKeown’s Herd at Templepatrick. This home-bred heifer was born in April 2017, and secured the reserve breed titles at Balmoral and Lurgan.
Cyril Millar added: “This heifer is a peach of a beast, and a very close second. She oozes breed character from head to toe, and has great conformation and muscle.”
Runner-up in the interbreed beef line-up was the two-year-old Charolais heifer Summervilla Nikki exhibited by Nigel and Gail Matchett from Portadown.
Claiming top honours in the rare breed cattle section was the Dexter champion Rathnafishogue T Bone owned by Ryan Laverty from Aghalee. The rare breed sheep section was led by a South Down ewe owned by Alice Cochrane, and grandfather RJ McAuley.
A Hampshire Down shearling ram owned by Sean and Gillian Doyle, Ballyward, scooped the interbreed sheep championship award. He was a first prize winner at Balmoral Show a few weeks ago. Taking the reserve interbreed award was Texel ram lamb owned by Owen Donohoe from Enniskillen.