It’s an amazing achievement: 10 breed championships; four inter breed titles and an elite breeding ewe championship, all racked up in one show season.
This is the scale of the imprint that Comber Charollais breeder Diane Christie has left on the sheep breeding world this year. And, no doubt there will be more success to follow in the sheep breeding sales that get under way throughout the UK over the coming weeks.
What makes the Christie success story even more remarkable is the fact that it has been achieved with a wide selection of animals. This year’s Clogher Valley Show saw her notch up a tenth breed title with an eye catching mature ewe.
But, as it turned out, Christie was pipped at the post for the Clogher inter breed title by Brian Williamson and Adrian Liggett, from Omagh in Co Tyrone. They won the class with a home bred Texel ewe. It was their second champion of champions’ title on the spin, having beaten all contenders at Antrim last weekend.
Harry Woodmass, from Cumbria, judged the sheep inter breed championship at Clogher. He described the turnout of animals for the class as being of a tremendously high quality.
“My champion has a lot to commend her,” he said.
“She has tremendous length and character, combined with excellent muscling.”
Adding to the theme of Co Down success at Clogher Show was the outstanding victory of the Connolly family, from Ballynahinch, in the Beef Inter-Breed Championship. They took home the big prize with their outstanding Charolais cow – Wesley Glamorous.
This was her third breed inter breed title of the 2015 show season. Judge Ian Anderson said that the cow was, possibly, the best example of the Charolais breed that he had ever seen.
“She has everything, strength, shape and tremendous length. The fact that she has her own calf at foot adds significantly to her attraction as a breeding animal.”
David Connolly confirmed that the cow is now back in calf to the family’s stock bull Brampton Petition. All being well, she will calve next spring.
The dairy classes at Clogher saw the McLean family, from Bushmills in Co Antrim, sweeping the boards yet again. They won the Ayrshire, Jersey and Holstein championships. For good measure, their elite black and white cow - Priestland 4951 Shot Bedazzle - took the dairy inter-breed championship. She then went on to win the supreme cattle championship of the show.
“Bedazzle was recently classified EX 93,” said Iain McLean.
“This is the top score that can be attributed to a third calving cow. There is a strong demand for embryos, produced from her eggs.”