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Renewed vigour for the Royal Ulster Winter Fair

THERE WAS a real feelgood factor to last week's 'new' Royal Ulster Winter Fair, in Belfast, but none more so than for the winner of the supreme championship, the Clandeboye Estate show team.

The breed champions and reserves line up at the new facilities in the Kings Hall Complex in Belfast
The breed champions and reserves line up at the new facilities in the Kings Hall Complex in Belfast

Led by farm manager Mark Logan, they produced the show's top animal in front of Canadian judge, Patrice Simard, from Quebec, who performed in front of a large crowd obviously intent on seeing how the RUAS could revitalise their major winter event without the aid of the soon-to-be-let Kings Hall, which has been its home since its inception 27 years ago.

Taking the top honours was the second calver, Clandeboye CR Evita, a daughter of Clandeboye Rocket and out of Clandeboye Jazz Evita, herself a former Winter Fair champion. Back home, she's part of a 25-cow Jersey herd which matches up with a 65-cow Holstein herd. Two months calved, this cow is already looking set to improve on her 4100kg first lactation, which had high BF and protein levels of 5.68% and 4.16%, respectively.

The Holstein champion filled the runner-up spot in the inter-breed, just managing to split the Jersey winner and reserve. This was Sam McCormick's Hilltara Zenith Echo, an Ex 92-rated daughter of Ocean-View Zenith which goes back to an American family brought into the herd many years ago, with her dam, Hilltara Champion Echo, also being a successful show cow. Calved way back in May, this third calver is following on from a second yield of 11,600 litres at 4.49% BF and 3.43% P. She has also recorded some show success in the past for the Bangor-based herd, having won the Causeway Classic as a heifer in milk.

See this week's The Scottish Farmer for full report, including prizelist and photos of the show leaders, out December 22.

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