Newry Show: ‘Picture perfect’ Charolais bull cut above the competition

Stephen Crawford with the Limousin Champion at Newry Show
Stephen Crawford with the Limousin Champion at Newry Show

It was a case of fun and sun all the way at this year’s Newry Show.

The event saw the Wilson family, from Newry, winning the Beef Inter-Breed Championship with their elite Charolais bull. The same animal had previously carried the day at Armagh.

It entered the show ring weighing an estimated 1,600 kilos.

Judge Brian McAllister, from Kells in Co Antrim, described his champion as being almost “picture perfect”, adding: “He has matured into a truly splendid breeding animal. Young stock can show lots of promise. But the trick is getting these animals to mature into the type of breeding animal that will make a real difference on-farm.

“The quality of the stock qualifying for the beef inter-breed class at this year’s show was excellent. But the Charolais bull stood out above the rest.”

The Inter-Breed Reserve went to Robert Miller, from Moneymore, with a choice cross bred heifer. She was produced as an embryo from Robert’s all-conquering cross bred heifer of 2013: She’s A Diamond.

Newry Show is unique in hosting a bespoke championship class for native breed cattle. That prize went to Duncan McDowell, from Newtownards.

His 19-month-old Beef Shorthorn heifer, Castlemount Matrix Zipy, is a half-sister to the 2017 junior champion at the 2017 Stirling Bull Sales in Scotland. That animal subsequently sold in the ring for 13,000gns.

The Sheep Inter-Breed Championship was won by Naomi Ardis, from Hilltown, with her mature Texel ewe.

“This is her first outing of the year, as she had a foot problem earlier in the season,” said Naiomi.

“The ewe lambed for the first time earlier this year. Her ram lamb came second in his class at Balmoral.

“We plan to flush the ewe and get some embryos from her later in the autumn.”

The Dairy Inter-Breed Championship was won by the Magowan family, from Rathfriland, with their impressive Holstein Cow, Goldilocks Sheba 72.

All of this activity was taking place as Newry Show celebrated its 150th anniversary.

“Cattle and sheep entries were up by one-third this year,” confirmed show secretary Brian Lockhart.

“This confirms that Newry Show has a strong future, as well as a very prestigious history.”

Mr Lockhart confirmed the role played by Newry Show in highlighting the importance of the agri-food sector to the south Down area.

“We are helping to communicate a strong message regarding the provenance of the food produced throughout our catchment area and the exemplary standards achieved by local farmers,” he explained.

“We want to build on this for the future. Brexit will throw up a host of opportunities and challenges for the farming and food industries. Continuing growth will be an ongoing priority for both sectors.”