The Bangor-based Simlahill Herd has been crowned overall winner of Holstein NI’s 2017 Herds Inspection Competition sponsored by Ulster Bank.
The awards ceremony coincided with the Holstein Celebration visit to the McCann’s dairy enterprise at Ballysallagh House, an event which attracted almost four hundred breed enthusiasts from across the UK and Ireland.
Owned by Jim McCann, and son Nicholas, the 180-cow herd is no stranger to success in the hotly contested competition which attracts upwards of 70 entrants annually.
The Simlahill prefix has won the premier medium herd section six times in succession, and this week’s award marks a total of four premiership titles for the County Down herd.
Founded in 1990, Simlahill is one of the top classified herds in the UK, and was awarded Master Breeder status in 2014.
Jim and Nicholas aim to breed balanced cows with strength, sound legs and feet, and tight udders. Prolific cow families include Danoise, Georgina, Oralie and Willow.
The herd boasts a 305-day average of 10,782 litres of milk at 3.94% butterfat and 3.21% protein, with 3,015 litres produced from forage.
As well as claiming the competition’s top award, the Simlahill Herd won the prizes for the best senior cow with Simlahill Shottle Lola. Herd veteran Simlahill Outside Dallas scooped the award for the best 70T cow.
Holstein NI chairman Tommy Henry thanked Ulster Bank for its continued support of the competition: “I would also like to thank the judges and stewards who contributed to the smooth running of the competition. It’s a mammoth task, and quite a challenge driving around the countryside and keeping to the daily schedule,” he added.
Separate judges were appointed for each section of the competition – junior, senior and premier.
Premier herd judge Richard Pilkington from the Aintree Herd in North Wales thanked Holstein NI for inviting him to judge: “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience as I like looking at good cows and various farming systems.
“It was quite a challenge placing the herds and individual animals in each category. I saw some stunning heifers, great 70T cows, and some excellent progeny groups. Well done to everyone involved.”
The junior section of the competition was judged by newly elected Holstein UK president David Perry from Ahoghill; while the senior section was placed by Dessie Dunleavy from Drogheda.
Results from 2017 herds inspection competition:
Best overall herd: Jim and Nicholas McCann, Simlahill.
Best new entrant: George Mitchell, Edenordinary.
Best small herd: 1, William and James Crawford, Ardmore Herd, Brookeborough; 2, Robert Hunter, Carndreen Herd, Castlederg; 3, Laurence Bailie, Creeyargon Herd, Ballynahinch.
Best medium herd: 1, George Mitchell, Edenordinary Herd, Banbridge; 2, George and Jason Booth, Beechview Herd, Stewartstown; 3, Conor Casey, Carnhill Herd, Cloughmills.
Best large herd: 1, Stephen Montgomery, Gortree Herd, Londonderry; 2, Denis Foreman, Knockbracken Herd, Castlereagh; 3, Wesley Gordon, Annalong Herd, Annalong.
Best heifer: 1, William and James Crawford, Ardmore Pinetree Sid Jill; 2, Conor Casey, Carnhill Oak Danse; 3, George and Jason Booth, Beechview Atwood June.
Best junior cow: 1, George Mitchell, Edenordinary Always Lulu Red; 2, George and Jason Booth, Beechview Ladd Lovestruck Red; 3, Paul Dunn, Dunbanard Destry Phyllis.
Best senior cow: 1, Gareth Smyth, Derrydorragh Shottle Kimo; 2, George and Jason Booth, Rowantree Das Tabath; 2, William and James Crawford, Ardmore Mailing Freda.
Best 70T cow: 1, William and James Crawford, Ardmore Mailing Freda; 2, John Thompson, Cullyhill Mike Tessel; 3, George Mitchell, Edenordinary Goldwyn Paradise.
Best cow family: 1, George Mitchell, Paradise; 2, Gareth Smyth, Nancy; 3, George and Jason Booth, Doris.
Best bull progeny group: 1, Gareth Smyth, Maples Downs IGW Atwood; 2, William and James Crawford, Pine Tree Sid; 3, George Mitchell, Plain O Durham Ross.
Best small herd: 1, Willard and Adam Watson, Derrydorragh herd, Macosquin; 2, Seamus Gunn, Edenvale Herd, Derrylin; 3, Ivor Broomfield, Moneyquin Herd, Armagh.
Best medium herd: 1, Dermot Johnston, Deona Herd, Magherafelt; 2, David Simpson, Damm Herd, Lisburn; 3, S and J Lyons, Skerryview Herd, Coleraine.
Best large herd: 1, James Lowe, Lowesdale Herd, Carryduff; 2, Bolton Bros, Carrickfarm Herd, Maghera; 3, Gaston and John Wallace, Printshop Herd, Nutt’s Corner.
Best heifer: 1, David Simpson, Burnhill Sabre Victoria; 2, Mervyn Nelson, Tullylea Sammy Georgina; 3, Bolton Bros, Carrickfarm Dempsey Ebony.
Best junior cow: 1, Steven Robinson, Ortongrange Snowman Alysia; 2, Gaston and John Wallace, Printshop Goldenballs Belle 47; 3, David Bloomfield, Cloghervalley Goldwyn Ruth.
Best senior cow: 1, Gaston and John Wallace, Printshop Goldenballs Mara; 2, J and R Morrow, Harmonyhill Matrix Carol; 3, Steven Robinson, Cluntagh Sam Noirette.
Best 70T Cow: 1, Seamus Gunn, Ernevale Shottle Maryan; 2, Ivor Broomfield, Skybrook Talent Peach; 3, Trevor Keatley, Aghyaran Stormatic Delight.
Best cow family: 1, Dermot Johnston, Roxie; 2, J and R Morrow, Lavender; 3, James Lowe, Cobie.
Best bull progeny group: Dermot Johnston, Mountfield SSI DCY Mogul; 2, J and R Morrow, Ballycairn Planet Matric; 3, Gaston and John Wallace, Dunbanard Golden Balls.
Best small herd: 1, Inch Genetics, Inch Herd, Downpatrick; 2,William Robert and Bryan Graham, Moorcastle Herd, Kells; 3, Ian and Kenny Watson, Majestic Herd, Macosquin .
Best medium herd: 1, Jim and Nicholas McCann, Simlahill Herd, Bangor; 2, Geoffrey Patton,Carrowcroft Herd, Carrowdore; 3, Lewis McMurray, Matfield Herd, Banbridge.
Best large herd: 1, Cyril and Martin Millar, Millars Herd, Coleraine; 2, Wallace and Wilson Patton, Ards Herd, Newtownards; 3, TS Haffey and Sons, Kilvergan Herd, Lurgan.
Best heifer: 1, Inch Genetics, Inch Cruise Daphne 2; 2, Geoffrey Patton, Carrowcroft Jacey Debra; 3, Wilson and Wallace Patton, Ards Kingboy M Lou Ella.
Best junior cow: 1, William Kerr, Fordwich L’Authority Agnes 2; 2, Wilson and Wallace Patton, Ards Trigger Danna; 3, Jim and Nicholas McCann, Simlahill Goldsun Lola.
Best senior cow: 1, Jim and Nicholas McCann, Simlahill Shottle Lola; 2, TS Haffey and Sons, Kilvergan Duplex Ethel; 3, Jay Warden Ballygrainey Bullion Bonnie 2.
Best 70T cow: 1, Jim and Nicholas McCann, Simlahill Outside Dallas; 2, Wilson and Wallace Patton, Ards Shottle Belinda; 3, Norman and Nathanael McCollum, Bellemont Baxter Phyl.
Best cow family: 1, Norman and Nathanael McCollum, Phyl; 2, R McLean and Sons, Raven; 3, William Hunter, Amy.
Best bull progeny group: 1, R McLean and Sons, Prehen Omen; 2, Cyril and Martin Millar, Derrydorragh Injury Time; 3, Jim and Nicholas McCann, Gillette Windbrook.