BANGOR Holstein breeder Sam McCormick was all smiles on Thursday when his family won the supreme inter-breed dairy championship at the RUAS Winter Fair near Lisburn.

It's been ten years since the McCormicks took this coveted title which has been won by breeders from the Republic of Ireland for the past three years.

Sam’s cow, Hilltara Lauthority Echo 2, dazzled the United States judge to stand clear ahead of his reserve champion and honourable mention.

John McCormick said: “It’s a great honour to be back winning at the Winter Fair after ten years since winning it before. It is particularly pleasing to win with this cow because we bred her ourselves from six generations of excellent cows.

“Hilltara Lauthority Echo 2 is currently yielding 42 litres of milk per day and was third at last year’s Winter Fair. She won the Holstein championship here in 2012.” Born in June, 2012, she is by Comestar Lauthority, with and projected to yield yield 13,000 litres this lactation.

Under scrutiny from judge Hank Van Exel from California were just over 140 dairy animals, 20 of which that made the trek up from the Republic of Ireland to compete in the show. Hank and his wife Carolyn own and operate the 3000 cow herd Van Exel Dairy comprising 2,500 Holsteins and 500 Jerseys. He described the interbreed champion as a “strong black silky cow” and as “an easy winner in my mind.”

His reserve inter-breed champion was another Holstein cow from the same class having had three calvings. The McLean family from Bushmills were delighted to exhibit Priestland 5446 Shot J Rose in reserve place. Calved just a month ago, this cow was sired by Picston Shottle and is currently yielding 60 litres per day.

The honourable mention placing went to the Jersey cow Clandeboye Tequila Cookie owned and bred by Clandeboye Estates. This cow in second lactation is currently yielding 32 litres of milk per day and is sired by Tower Vue Prime Tequila.