For the second year in succession the McCann family’s 180-cow Simlahill Herd has been crowned winner of Holstein NI’s Ulster Bank-sponsored Herds Inspection Competition.
The Bangor-based herd is owned and managed by the father and son team of Jim and Nicholas McCann. The Simlahill herd is no stranger to success in the competition, having won the premiership award in 2012 and 2014. They were runner-up in 2013.
Dating back to 1990 the Simlahill prefix has been developed with strong emphasis on type and longevity, and prolific cow families include Danoise, Georgina, Oralie and Willow.
AI is used exclusively across the herd, with sires such as Commander, Doorman, Dempsey and Picston Shottle featuring in the breeding policy.
Milked twice daily, the herd boasts a 305-day average of 10,700kgs per cow at 3.92% butterfat and 3.24% protein.
The Simlahill herd is one of the top classified herds in the British Isles, and last year received Master Breeder status from Holstein UK. Current classifications include 73EX and 85VG, with the remainder of the herd ranked as Good Plus.
As well as claiming the top award, the Simlahill Herd won the prize for the best senior cow in the hotly contested premier section.
The home-bred sixth calver Simlahill Outside Dallas EX94(3) went on to win the award for the best overall senior cow for the third successive year.
Sponsored by Ulster Bank, Holstein NI’s herds inspection competition continues to attract an unprecedented number of entries annually.
Club secretary and competition co-ordinator John Martin confirmed that a record number of almost 70 herds participated in this year’s competition.
Speaking at the awards presentation BBQ, held in Dungannon, Ulster Bank’s agricultural manager Cormac McKervey said he was amazed at the high level of entries taking part.
“The competition is growing on an annual basis, and we are delighted to continue with our sponsorship.
“The number and standard of entries is exceptional, and I would like to congratulate everyone involved. It’s not an easy year for dairy farmers, but I am pleased to see the Holstein breeders are in good heart and showcasing their herds.”
Holstein NI chairman Stuart Smith thanked Ulster Bank for its continued support.
“I would also like to thank the judges and stewards who contributed to the smooth running of this year’s competition.
“It’s a mammoth task, and quite a challenge driving around finding farms and keeping to schedule.
“This has been a largest competition to date, and I’d like to congratulate all of the entrants who continue to fly the flag for Holstein genetics in Northern Ireland.
“You do the club proud, and I am honoured to be chairman.”
Separate judges were appointed for each section of the competition – junior, senior and premier. Premier herd judge Brian Weatherup Snr from the 180-cow Lesmay and Parkend herds in Fife, Scotland, thanked Holstein NI for inviting him to judge.
“It has been a tremendous competition, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the excellent hospitality.
“I never thought the number of entries and the quality of cattle would be as strong. The placings were very close, and there was very little between the highest placed competitors in each class.”
The junior section of the competition was judged by William Crawford from the Ardmore Herd based at Brookeborough, County Fermanagh.
“I was totally overwhelmed by the standard of entries in the junior section. It was a real pleasure to visit so many well managed herds and see so many good cows.
“I would like to congratulate everyone and thank them for their generous hospitality.”
Senior section judge Robert Wallace, Templepatrick, thanked Holstein NI for its invitation.
“It has been five years since I judged the junior section, and since then a new trend has evolved with more and more breeders keeping their cows housed.
“The herds I visited were well managed, and I was impressed with the number of productive dairy cows with hard wearing udders and sound legs and feet.”
Best Overall Herd: Jim and Nicholas McCann, Simlahill.
Best Overall Heifer: Philip and Simon Haffey, Glasson Meridian Balise.
Best Overall Junior Cow: Stephen Haffey and Sons, Kilvergan Amazing Snowball.
Best Overall Senior Cow: Jim and Nicholas McCann, Simlahill Outside Dallas.
Best Overall Bull Progeny Group: Iain and Joyce McLean, Picston Shottle.
Best Overall Cow Family: Lewis McMurray and Sons, Melanie.
Best small herd – 1, Willard and Adam Watson, Derrydorragh, Coleraine; 2, John Berry, Skybrook, Armagh; 3, Albert Wallace, Cloney, Tobermore.
Best medium herd- 1, David Simpson, Damm, Lisburn; 2, David Bloomfield, Cloghervalley, Clogher; 3, Paul Dunn, Dunbanard, Bangor.
Best large herd – 1, Steven Robinson, Cluntagh, Crossgar; 2, James Lowe, Lowesdale, Carryduff; 3, Conor Casey, Carnhill, Cloughmills.
Best heifer – 1, David and Gary Throne, Willofarm Kitty 75; 2, John Hamilton, Ards Atwood B Lou Ella; 3, Steven Robinson, Cluntagh Atwood Minnie.
Best junior cow – 1, Paul Dunn , Dunbanard Alexander Phyllis; 2, David Simpson, Maineview Jeeves Merry; 3, Trevor Keatley, Glaslough Iota Electric.
Best senior cow – 1, David Bloomfield, Cloghervalley Shottle Anita; 2, Paul Dunn, Dunbanard Palermo Sarah; 3, Denis Foreman, Knockbracken Kendall Crystal 5.
Best Cow Family – 1, Conor Casey, Erma; 2, Bolton Bros, Maisie; 3, Richard Charles, Roxanne.
Best Bull Progeny Group – 1, David and Gary Throne, Gillette Windbrook; 2, Denis Foreman, Joylan Gladiator; 3, Bolton Bros, Glen Valley BW Captain.
Best small herd – 1, William Robert Graham, Moorcastle, Kells; 2, Andrew Magowan, Bannwater, Rathfriland; 3, Ivor Bloomfield, Moneyquin, Armagh.
Best medium herd – 1, Cyril and Martin Millar, Millars, Coleraine; 2, John Patterson, Ballyginniff, Crumlin; 3, Mervyn Nelson, Tullylea, Maguiresbridge.
Best large herd – 1, Stephen Haffey and Sons, Kilvergan, Lurgan; 2, WT Morrow and Sons, Harmonyhill, Newtownards; 3, Henry Thompson, Caddy, Randalstown.
Best heifer – 1, Ivor Bloomfield, Moneyquin Lavanguard; 2, Andrew Magowan, Bannwater Goldilocks Sheba 72; 3, Stephen Haffey and Sons, Kilvergan Iota Erle.
Best junior cow – 1, Stephen Haffey and Sons, Kilvergan Amazing Snowball; 2, WT Morrow and Sons, Harmonyhill Octane Stargold 8; 3, John Patterson, Ballyginniff Shottle Spotty.
Best senior cow – 1, Cyril and Martin Millar, Rosstemple Mr Minister Cindy; 2, Stephen Haffey and Sons, Kilvergan Duplex Ethel 2; 3, William Robert Graham Laurelhill Dictator Lou Ella.
Best Cow Family – 1, Dermot Johnston, Deona Jurmel Roxie; 2, William Hunter, Lisnacloon Amy; 3, Gaston and John Wallace, Printshop Sophie.
Best Bull Progeny Group – 1, WT Morrow and Sons, Weeton Octane; 2, Stephen Haffey and Sons, Picston Shottle; 3, Gaston and John Wallace, Dunbanard Golden Balls.
Best small herd – 1, Kenneth Totten, Glenbank, Glenavy; 2, David and Austin Perry, Killane, Ahoghill; 3, Jay Warden, Ballygrainey, Newtownards.
Best medium herd – 1, Jim and Nicholas McCann, Simlahill, Bangor; 2, Geoffrey Patton, Carrowcroft, Carrowdore; 3, Philip and Simon Haffey, Glasson, Portadown.
Best large herd – 1, Norman McCollam, Bellemont, Coleraine; 2, Harry Patton and Sons, Ards, Newtownards; 3, Ronald McLean and Sons, Relough, Dungannon.
Best heifer – 1, Philip and Simon Haffey, Glasson Meridan Balise; 2, Wallace Gregg, Frocess Windbrook Queen; 3, Inch Genetics, Inch Destry Jane.
Best junior cow – 1, Harry Patton and Sons, Ards Atwood Lou Ella; 2, Iain and Joyce McLean, Priestland 4591 Shot Bedazzle; 3, Jim and Nicholas McCann, Simlahill L’Authority Shower.
Best senior cow – 1, Jim and Nicholas McCann, Simlahill Outside Dallas; 2, Norman McCollum, Bellemont Baxter Phyl; 3, Harry Patton and Sons, Ards Bolton Lou Ella.
Best Cow Family – 1, Lewis McMurray and Sons, Melanie; 2, Norman McCollum, Phyl; 3, Geoffrey Patton, Ruby.
Best Bull Progeny Group – 1, Iain and Joyce McLean, Picston Shottle; 2, Ronald McLean and Sons, Prehen Oman; 3, Philip and Simon Haffey, Picston Shottle.