Three is reputed to be a lucky number, but in the case of the Fleming family from Seaforde in Co Down, the figure seven can now be added to that list.
Friday of this year’s Balmoral Show saw the Jersey breeders pick up their seventh Dairy Inter-Breed title.
And for good measure, it was also three-in-a-row. The winning cow – Potterswalls Action Daisybelle – is a home bred 4th calver.
“This is her first Balmoral,” confirmed Ashley Fleming.
“Previously, she had won the Jersey championship at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair in both 2013 and 2014. Daisybelle gave 9,000ltr of milk during her last lactation and is on course to give 9,500ltr this time around. She is due to calve again later in the autumn.”
Inter-breed judge Rebecca Jarvis, from Harrogate in Yorkshire, described her champion as a tremendous example of the Jersey breed.
“Physically, the cow has everything,” she said.
“But the fact that she has had four calves also points to her longevity. This is a key attribute of a cow that can produce milk profitably. I am very aware of the fact that the dairy industry is under tremendous commercial pressure at the present time. But it is totally reassuring to know that pedigree herd owners are doing all they can push forward the frontiers, from a breeding point of view.”
Jarvis confirmed that the inter breed line up at Balmoral 2016 would grace any venue in the UK.
“At the end of the day, selecting the winner was not an easy decision, such was the tremendous quality of the cows taking part in the final class,” she added.
The reserve champion, Kilwarden Winbrook, is a Holstein second calver from the Co Kildare herd of Brochan Cocoman.
“She is home bred and had won her class at last year’s Royal Ulster Winter Fair,” he said.
“We had hoped to do well at this year’s show. But winning the breed championship and then coming in as reserve in the inter-breed class really is a tremendous bonus. The cow is projected to give 10,800ltr during her current lactation at 3.8 per cent butterfat and 3.45 per cent protein. She is giving 40ltr of milk per day at the present time.”