Fermanagh Show: McElroy family’s prize cow a winner again

Jason Wilcroft, interbreed fourth position and young stock handler of the year at Fermanagh County Show on Wednesday
Jason Wilcroft, interbreed fourth position and young stock handler of the year at Fermanagh County Show on Wednesday

Ivaniskey Denise carried the field in the beef classes at this year’s Fermanagh Show.

In so doing, she brought down the curtain on what can only be described as an unimaginably successful show season for her owners – the McElroy family from Dromore in Co Down – and the British Blonde breed as a whole.

“She has notched up nine Breed Championships and six Inter Breed titles over the past four months,” William McElroy said.

“This may well be a record, I’m not sure. But what cannot be disputed is the fact that she has been presented before a host of different judges from various parts of the UK.

“They have all seen something special in the cow and have deemed her to be top of the class in terms of her elite quality and breeding ability.”

The Inter Breed judge at Enniskillen was William Glazebrook, from Lanarkshire in Scotland.

“The Blonde cow had everything: great strength, tremendous length and a wonderful sense of presence,” he said.

“And the fact that she had a choice calf at foot highlighted both her breeding potential and mothering ability.”

When asked if the Blonde breed was making a comeback in the UK and Ireland, Mr Glazebrook was quick to point out that a good cow is a good cow, irrespective of the breed that she represents.

“Having said that, I would have no hesitation in confirming that the Blonde cow stole the show today: she really is a very special animal.”

Meanwhile, the McElroy family are already working out the future road map for Denise.

Flushing her and selling contract produced embryos to Australia is an option. She is currently in calf to the elite French bull Tino.

Mr McElroy added: “She won’t calve down again until the spring of next year. So we can do nothing with her until then. Selling her might be an option.

“But it would take a very special offer to prise her from our grasp!”

The Sheep Inter Breed title at Enniskillen was won by a choice shearling ewe from the flock of Fermanagh Texel breeder Alistair Breen.

It was a fitting end to his first show season.

“I started up the pedigree flock three years ago,” he said.

“Notching up an Inter Breed Championship represents a tremendous boost for our endeavours.

“I bought the shearling as a lamb last year.

“Our aim is to flush the animal over the coming weeks and then put her in lamb.

“We are now up to 20 breeding females.”

He added: “I have a ram lamb entered for next week’s premier Texel Show and Sale in Ballymena.

“So it will be interesting to see what price he makes!”

For results see farminglife.co.uk