Antrim Show: Fleming family’s Jersey champion hailed as almost perfect

Lauren Henry and Adam Wright from Stranocum
Lauren Henry and Adam Wright from Stranocum

After two months of intensive heats – at venues all over the Province – Saturday’s Antrim Show saw the Fleming family’s truly elite Jersey second calver Potterswalls Glams Elisha crowned as the Northern Ireland Shows Association Dairy Cow champion.

Judge Edward Griffith, from South Yorkshire, characterised her as an almost perfect example of the breed.

Charlie Harbinson with her prize-winning Simmental heifer at Antrim Show

Charlie Harbinson with her prize-winning Simmental heifer at Antrim Show

“In my opinion she has all the attributes of a top class dairy cow,” he told the News Letter.

“Jersey breeders have done a tremendous job in improving the commercial attributes of their stock. And this is why so many dairy farmers are now seeking out Jersey milking stock as a means of improving the overall efficiency of their businesses.

“The line-up of cows for this year’s final was excellent. But, in truth, I could not fault the winner.”

Elisha calved back in February. The cow gave 5,400 litres at 5.8 per cent butterfat and 4.2 per cent protein as a heifer. She is projected to give 7,000 litres during her current lactation.

Holstein young handler Wallace Shanks, Dunadr

Holstein young handler Wallace Shanks, Dunadr

“Elisha is the most functionally correct cow that we have ever bred,” Ashley Fleming confirmed.

Antrim Show is also unique in hosting a significant number of the most important Inter-Breed beef cattle and sheep competition finals.

Last Friday Texel sheep enthusiast Alistair Gault, from Newtownabbey in Co Antrim, secured 6,060 guineas for a ram lamb at Lanark Sale while the following day going on to secure the Sheep Inter Breed Champion title at Antrim with an exceptional young ewe.

“She is home bred and had her first lamb this year,” he explained.

“Her maternal half brother made 68,000 guineas in the sale ring. So the quality is there.

“Initially, I had thought of flushing her but the plan now is to let the ewe run with the rest of the flock this autumn, get her back in lamb and see what next year brings.

“We have had a tremendous year in the show ring with Balmoral and now Antrim Show being key highlights.”

Banbridge Limousin breeder Jim Quail also had a tremendous day at Antrim courtesy of his elite bull Lynderg Hero winning both the Breed Championship and the Supreme Beef Inter-Breed accolade.

And the victory was made all the sweeter, given the tremendous turnout of stock for the event.

“Antrim is our flagship show of the year as it plays host to the Northern Ireland Limousin Championships,” Jim explained.

“Breeders were out in large numbers for this year’s event and the standard of competition was exceptionally high. Hero is home bred.

“Before coming to Antrim he had already won the Male Championship at this year’s Balmoral and Highland Shows.

“Our aim is to keep him as a stock bull. At just 30 months of age, he is only now coming into his prime.”