AROUND 150 dairy animals were presented for judging at the 2021 RUAS Winter Fair at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, near Lisburn, in Northern Ireland, last week.

Organisers RUAS and the trade exhibitors said they were content with the number of visitors to the event, particularly given the long list of Covid-19 regulations they had to adhere to.

Being able to stage the event this year was a huge relief for the RUAS as it had been forced to cancel last year’s event. Plus, there were many similar agri-events being cancelled as the new Omicron Covid-19 variant takes a firm grip across the UK and EU.

Judge Edward Griffiths, the first Englishman to ever judge at the RUAS Winter Fair, chose the Jersey breed champion, Clandeboye Tequila Cookie, as his overall inter-breed champion.

This seven year old home-bred cow, owned by the Clandeboye Estate, was sired by Tower Vue Prime Tequila and is out of dam Newmoor Sultan Cookie. She was the reserve inter-breed champion at the Winter Fair in 2019 and was voted the people’s champion of the decade during the virtual 2020 fair that was cancelled due to the Covid-19 regulations.

On picking his inter-breed champion, the judge said: “When you are judging an inter-breed you are looking for breed character, dairy strength and great mammary system, power and capacity. This cow has all those traits you talk about. She is a wonderful mature Jersey cow and is in terrific form here today.

“She is a fabulous example of the breed and I don’t know where you would get a better cow anywhere in the world than this cow standing here,” he added.

The reserve inter-breed champion was Hallow Atwood Carmen, which was also the Holstein breed champion, owned by Hallow Holsteins, from Wexford, in the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Griffiths said of her: “This champion Holstein cow carries her milk higher and wider and is a bit more youthful than the others in the class. She also has good legs and feet.”

Holstein reserve champion was Baldonnel FM Sunshine, from John Dowling, Dublin, while the Jersey reserve was the Fleming family's four-year-old cow, Potterswalls Chrome Glamour, sired by River Valley Cece Chrome and out of the much shown Potterswalls Tequila Glamour.

In the Ayrshire breed championship, Mr Griffths picked out Threemile Pretty Rock, a six-year-old home-bred cow from Monaghan breeder, Christian Keenan as champion. Sired by Ouraska Rockstar she was out of Cuthill Towers Pretty Maid.

The judge said: “This Ayrshire champion has got great breed character and type. She has a good dairy frame with super udder and carries her milk well. The cows is very cleaned boned and is an easy winner of the championship today.”

In reserve, during the Ayrshire judging, was Kirkinriola CA Margie from Martin King, who farms just outside Ballymena, in Co Antrim.

Only one Dairy Shorthorn animal was presented at the event and was therefore the champion – that was Sunrise Perfect Heather from Sunrise Shorthorns, in Downpatrick.

RUAS operations director, Rhonda Geary, said: “There was a great atmosphere throughout the day and fierce competition with the crème de la crème of dairy cattle competing for champion titles. This year the society streamed the show online and it was delivered to dairy enthusiasts worldwide.

“Following the cancellation of the show last year, we felt it was important to be able to successfully run the fair this year. We wanted to show our ongoing support to the dairy industry across the island of Ireland as well as providing support to the events and commercial industry. It was a wonderful day and we look forward to returning in 2022.”