Daisybelle crowned champion of champions at Lurgan Show

First prize winning British Blonde young handler Eddie Mercer at Lurgan Show at the weekend
First prize winning British Blonde young handler Eddie Mercer at Lurgan Show at the weekend

A five-year- old Jersey cow from the Fleming Family’s 120-cow herd in Seaforde was crowned champion of champions at Lurgan’s 104th annual show on Saturday.

The home-bred Potterswalls Action Daisybelle produced her fourth calf in October and is projected to yield over 9,500 litres of milk in her current lactation.

She claimed the day’s Jersey title, followed by the interbreed dairy honours, before taking the supreme overall cattle plaudits.

Daisybelle was Jersey and interbreed dairy champion at last month’s Balmoral Show.

Securing the reserve overall award was the British Blonde champion and interbreed beef winner Ivaniskey Jaquita, a two-year-old heifer bred by the McElroy family, Ivan, Ruth and William, from Dromara. Sired by the Irish-bred Clondown Eddie, she is a daughter of the herd’s multi-award winning show cow Ivaniskey Denise.

A first prize winner at Ballymena Show, Jaquita is in-calf to Anahorish Dude.

Runner-up in the interbreed dairy section was the Holstein champion Glasson Shottle JG Gail, a fourth calver bred by the father and son team of Philip and Simon Haffey, Portadown.

This was her third successive Holstein championship at Lurgan Show.

Calved five weeks ago, she is producing 46 litres of milk per day, and is one of 175 cows in the herd.

Claiming the reserve interbreed beef title was the cross-bred Limousin store heifer Miss Guinness exhibited by Stephen and Jack Smyth, Newtownstewart. She was reserve commercial cattle champion at Lurgan, and also secured the reserve interbreed prize at Ballymena Show.

In the sheep section the interbreed honours went to an aged Charollais ewe from Diane Christie’s Lornbrook flock based at Comber. Securing the reserve supreme title was the Suffolk champion from Philip and Timonthy Lamont’s Triple K flock based at Kells.

Secretary Michele Doran was delighted with the show’s success and thanked its sponsors for their continued support.

“We are indebted to our valued sponsors, without whom this show wouldn’t exist. A massive thank you to our new sponsors ABP Lurgan who have confirmed a three-year commitment to the show.”

Among the thousands of visitors attending the 104th annual show was DUP Lord Mayor Darryn Causby.

“This is one of the biggest events in the ABC council area, and it gets bigger and better every year. Lurgan Park is a phenomenal venue, and the organisers are to be congratulated on providing a tremendous family day out.”

One of the highlights, and a new addition to this year’s show, was the Food Heartland, hosted by award-winning chef Simon Dougan from the Yellow Door in Portadown.

Featuring local artisan produce, Simon and other local chefs cooked up an array of culinary delights throughout the day. Celebrity TV chef Rachel Allen hosted two masterclass demonstrations which tickled the taste buds of the large audience.

The one-day show attracted an array of farm livestock, equine and poultry exhibits from throughout the Province.

Many of the exhibitors are die-hard supporters of the agricultural show scene, but there was strong opposition following the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society’s decision on Friday to stage a four-day Balmoral show in 2017.

Several exhibitors told the News Letter that the RUAS wasn’t interested in feed-back from exhibitors.

“Attending the Balmoral Show in its current three-day format represents significant expense for trade and livestock exhibitors, and adding an extra day is simply going to increase the cost to an already crippled farming industry.

“Shows are an important shop window for our livestock, but the cost of attending Balmoral Show is phenomenal when you take into account entry fees, extra help, travel and in many cases accommodation for the duration of the show.

“The majority of the beef animals are stalled from the Monday evening or Tuesday prior to the show, so we are already attending the show for four or five days, and to add an extra day is simply ridiculous.

“The livestock entries are a major part of the show, and organisers should be trying to encourage exhibitors rather than discourage them.”