Fermanagh Show: Tremendous turnout for season finale

The elements made it difficult for both exhibitors and spectators at the Fermanagh Show
The elements made it difficult for both exhibitors and spectators at the Fermanagh Show

Despite the very poor weather there was a tremendous turnout of livestock at Wednesday’s Fermanagh Show.

The Beef Inter-breed championship was won by the Matchett family, from the Birches area of Co Armagh.

The showers didn't deter Brian and Margaret King from enjoying the day

The showers didn't deter Brian and Margaret King from enjoying the day

Their home-bred Aberdeen Angus cow, Birches Lady Heather M026, caught the eye of the judge, John Applebee, who described her as an almost perfect example of the Angus breed.

The presence of her calf at foot, born in April, further highlighted the cow’s value as a breeding animal.

There was excellent representation from Angus, Hereford, Charolais and Simmental breeders at this year’s show with many having travelled long distances to get there.

The Sheep Inter-breed championship was won by Desmond Knox, from Kesh, with a two shear Rouge tip.

These girls enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Enniskillen event

These girls enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Enniskillen event

The animal was bred by his brother George and nephew Albert from Crumlin in Co Antrim, owners of the Kinsella flock.

Judge David Mawhinney described his champion as a breeding ram with tremendous potential.

The Texel classes were extremely competitive. Recent weeks have seen Augher-based Louise Breen pitting her wits against Omagh-based Brian Williamson and Adrian Liggett. Breen won the inter-breed sheep championship at Limavady with her eye-catching two shear ewe while Wilson and Liggett took home the honours at Antrim and Augher with their own two shear breeding female.

But at Enniskillen young Louise brought the Texel championship rosette back home to south Tyrone.

The Dairy Inter-breed title was won by the McLean family with their Holstein third calver Priestland 495 Shott Bedazzle.

Fermanagh Show brings to an end what can only be described as an immensely successful show season for the North Antrim household. Bedazzle alone won four Holsten Breed titles and three inter-breed championships in 2015.

Meanwhile, Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) president Billy Robson took in the sights at Enniskillen, and while there, he questioned the premise behind the entire Going for Growth strategy, which has been developed for all of Northern Ireland’s agri-food sectors over the past couple of years.

“We must be totally market focused,” he said.

“Expansion for expansion’s sake is not the answer. The dairy industry has grown significantly over the past 10 years or so. Today that sector is fighting to remain viable, given the current downturn in international markets.

“Supply and demand are the key drivers within all the international markets that our local food businesses are operating in.

“Scarcity of supply is the only factor that will drive up food prices to sustainable levels. And food processors in Northern Ireland must be very mindful of this fact as they plan for the future.”