Ballymoney Show: Dazzling day out for McLean family

Lawrence Murdock travels by pony and trap at Ballymoney Show on Saturday
Lawrence Murdock travels by pony and trap at Ballymoney Show on Saturday
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It was another tremendous ‘day at the office’ for the McLean family at Saturday’s Ballymoney Show.

Not only did their elite Holstein cow – Priestland 4951 Shot Bedazzle – win the supreme cattle championship, but they also scooped all of the main prizes in the coloured dairy section at North Antrim’s flagship farming event of the year.

Lawrence Murdock travelling by pony and trap at Ballymoney Show on Saturday

Lawrence Murdock travelling by pony and trap at Ballymoney Show on Saturday

Bedazzle calved down for the third time in March of this year and is currently giving 57 litres of milk per day.

“We have had a great start to the showing year,” confirmed Iain McLean.

“All of our stock performed extremely well at Ballymena last week and we have followed this up with an equally good performance at Ballymoney, which is our home show.

“Bedazzle was classified EX 93 earlier this week, which is the top score that can be attributed to a third calving cow.

Joanne and Maxine Smyth at Ballymoney Show on Saturday

Joanne and Maxine Smyth at Ballymoney Show on Saturday

“There is a strong demand for embryos produced from her eggs. So we might go down that route again before putting her back in calf.”

There was an excellent turnout of beef cattle at this year’s Ballymoney Show. The event is a key focus for beef Shorthorn breeders and the large number of entries in all of the catalogued classes confirmed this.

The beef inter-breed championship was won by Co Down man Trevor Dodds with his choice British Blue heifer Bushfield Ingrid.

“We bought her as a calf,” he explained.

Sponsor Gail Ritchie from Bank of Ireland at Ballymoney Show on Saturday

Sponsor Gail Ritchie from Bank of Ireland at Ballymoney Show on Saturday

“She won the British Blue championship at Balmoral this year and we have followed that up with today’s tremendous performance.

“Our initial aim is to produce embryos from her: she is still too young to put in calf at this stage.”

One of the most encouraging features of the 2015 agricultural show calendar to date has been the tremendous turnout of sheep at all the events. And the Ballymoney Show did not disappoint in this regard.

Sheep inter-breed judge James Sinclair, from Midlothian in Scotland, described the grouping of animals presented before him as being of elite quality.

“It really was exceptionally difficult to choose a winner from all of the breed representatives that had gained entry into the final class of the day,” he said.

“I chose the Charollais ewe as my champion because of her tremendous strength and all round character.”

The animal in question was bred and exhibited by the McAllister family, from Kells in Co Antrim.

“She is a two shear ewe with an excellent pedigree,” explained Elizabeth McAllister.

“She won the Sheep inter-breed title back in 2013 and has really come back to herself over the past number of months.”