Antrim Show: Fleming family milks the applause in top dairy classes

Antrim Show proved exhausting for Anna Steele from Glenavy. Picture: Julie Hazelton
Antrim Show proved exhausting for Anna Steele from Glenavy. Picture: Julie Hazelton
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The Fleming family from Seaforde dominated the dairy show ring at the 113th Randox Antrim Show, winning the supreme and reserve Jersey championships, and four out of the five top awards in the interbreed line-up.

Their haul of trophies included supreme overall champion, dairy heifer champion, best pair and the award for the best group of three animals.

Two-year-old James Richardson from Annaghmore enjoys an ice cream at Antrim Show

Two-year-old James Richardson from Annaghmore enjoys an ice cream at Antrim Show

Star of the show was the breed champion Potterswalls Primero Elisha VG89. Producing 26 litres of milk daily, she is one of 120 Jersey cows in the herd.

Claiming the reserve interbreed dairy honours was the Ayrshire champion Ardmore Orphan 110 EX93 from John and Michael Hunter’s 200-cow herd at Crumlin. She calved her fourth in April, and is producing 44 litres every day.

One of the highlights of the one-day show, held at Shane’s Castle on the shores of Lough Neagh, was the final of the NISA and Thompsons Dairy Cow Championships. Thirteen qualifiers from regional shows came under scrutiny from Yorkshire judge Wendy Young.

Mrs Young praised the quality line-up and awarded the £500 top prize to the fourth calved Holstein cow Robinview Atwood Vicky 11 EX94 owned in a four-way split by Mark Henry, Andrew Kennedy, Lindsey Fleming and David Simpson.

Antrim Show also played host to the Aberdeen Angus Ulster Championship, the NI Limousin Championship, the NI Dexter Group’s Premier Show, and the final of the Bank of Ireland and NI British Blue Heifer Championship.

Top honours in the interbreed beef line-up went to the Shorthorn cow Ricketstown Lovely exhibited by Duncan McDowell from Newtownards. This four-year-old cow was interbreed champion at Balmoral in May, and was shown with her January born Elliott Matrix heifer calf at foot.

Taking the reserve championship ribbons was the Limousin cow Culnagechan Liberty exhibited by Herbie and Stephen Crawford from Maguiresbridge. She was crowned breed champion, while her February born heifer calf, by the 17,000gns Culnagechan Lazio, won the reserve Limousin championship.

Scottish judge Garry Patterson was impressed with the beef cattle classes at the show. “There were some strong classes. The Beef Shorthorn cow really caught my eye, while the Limousin is another tremendous brood cow. These are both hard-working suckler cows, rearing good calves.”

Cumbria judge John Sinnett placed the interbreed sheep classes at the show. He awarded top honours to a Bluefaced Leicester ewe exhibited by Michelle Wright from Ballymena. Runner-up was a Suffolk Cheviot ewe lamb shown by James Alexander of Randalstown.

Thousands flocked to the show and society chairman Fred Duncan was delighted with the success of the day. “The weather has been fantastic, and we have attracted thousands of exhibitors and spectators from across the country and further afield,” he said.

“Entries were strongly supported in the livestock, equine and home industries section. We are indebted to Randox, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, and our numerous sponsors for their continued financial support.”

The action-packed itinerary included entertainment for all ages, with bouncy castles, dog ability display, jiving competition, Kidz Farm, sheep shearing, YFCU county games, treasure hunt, and the hotly contested pet show.

The Food Vilage was another popular attraction. Supported by the NI Regional Food Programme, it featured a number of local artisan producers, and regular cookery demonstrations by local chefs and BBC celebrity chef Paula McIntyre.