Top NI breeders enter Bailey’s cow contest

2016 Diageo Baileys Champion Cow, Hallow Advent Twizzle 3, owned by Philip Jones, Co. Wexford
2016 Diageo Baileys Champion Cow, Hallow Advent Twizzle 3, owned by Philip Jones, Co. Wexford

Organisers of the 2017 Diageo Baileys Champion Dairy Cow Competition have confirmed that some of the top dairy breeders in Northern Ireland have entered cows for this year’s event which takes place next week (23rd August) at the Virginia Show in Co Cavan.

Six breeders from four counties, Antrim, Down, Fermanagh and Armagh have confirmed their intent. Amongst them is chairman of Holstein NI, Tommy Henry, whose farm is based near Ballymoney.

He said he was “delighted to have such a strong representation from Holstein NI breeders and was looking forward to competing in the event”.

The competition director, Brendan Smyth confirmed it is biggest entry from Northern Ireland in the past 10 years at least.

“I think the success of the Dromore breeder, Neal Pepper, in 2013 has certainly spurred on Northern Ireland breeders,” said Mr Smyth.

The Irish Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring TD will be presenting the top prizes this year alongside sponsors Diageo, the makers of Baileys Cream and its cream supplier Glanbia Ireland. The two companies have been backing the competition for over 30 years.

Paul Miller, from Evesham, will have the task of judging the 20-plus entries including the new junior cow category. The allure of a 10,000 Euro prize fund has also attracted breeders from as far away as Counties Kerry and Cork. Along with Co Dublin, Co Cork holds joint record for breeding the biggest number of Baileys Champions. The event promises to be a ‘must-see’ for dairy breeding aficionados when it gets underway at 3.30pm.