Almost 500 classes set for ‘big showing’ at Virginia

Tackling the effects of the heatwave on farms nationwide will be central to discussions at tomorrow’s farming conference at the Virginia Agricultural Show in Co. Cavan.

Guest speakers on the topic will include: Brendan Horan, grassland research officer at Teagasc; Derek Pepper from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE); David Brady who will speak on optimising stocking rates; and Joe Leonard, Nuffield scholar and dairy farmer who will focus on stress management and mindfulness.

With the event set to mark its 77th anniversary, large crowds are also expected at the show’s dairy conference.

Along with the prestigious 35th Diageo Baileys Irish Champion Dairy Cow competition, there will be lots of other top cattle highlights taking place on site during the one-day event.

These include:
  • Glanbia Virginia will sponsor the €700 Friesian In-calf-Heifer;
  • The Lakeland Dairies Champion of the Show;
  • The A.W. Ennis Interbreed Champion of the Show;
  • The Lisgrey House Restaurant Commercial Champion;
  • The North Eastern Simmental Club and Charolais Club junior championship finals; and
  • The Univet Ireland Limited and Virginia Show Commercial Heifer Championship.

Meanwhile, top-quality commercial cattle are expected to turn out for the Liffey Meats €2,000 Champion Beef Bullock competition.

Entries are confined to beef bullocks of any age, with organisers adding that the competition provides an incentive for farmers “to produce quality beef cattle necessary for the lucrative European market”.

A competitive display is also expected at the Carnaross Mart €5,000 Male/Female Champion Weanling show. Sponsored by Carnaross Mart, classes are open to calves born in 2018 – with a maximum weight for male listed at 430kgs; with the female calf listed at 380kgs.

Clerkins Virginia Veterinary Practice will sponsor a prize fund of €1,200 towards the open Charolais classes.

Also up for grabs is the Francie Brady Memorial Perpetual Cup and rosette presented to the champion.

Novice And Young Awards

Meanwhile, the young stock person finals in beef, sheep and dairy – open to those aged 12 to 16 years – will be judged on their ability to prepare animals for judging; plus their general knowledge of the breed.

The 7th annual Emerald Expo at the Virginia Agricultural Show. Image source: Lorraine Teevan

They will also be examined on the animals’ nutritional requirements and their ability to handle and present the animal in the show ring.

Virginia has also a unique Novice Competition – entrants can be any age, so long as they have not shown before.

Horses And Ponies

Among the horse and pony classes there will be titles up for grabs for brood mare, light and coloured horses, ridden hunter and cob, and heavy horses. As well, there are classes for palomino horses and ponies, Welsh and Connemara, and miniature horses and donkeys.

There are cups and trophies for many classes with a new cup in memory of Wilkie Lyttle – former master steward of the Horse Section.

Cattle

There will be dairy and beef classes for all cattle at tomorrow’s show.

Virginia Show

These include: Holstein Friesians; crossbred classes; commercial classes; continental; Shorthorns; Herefords; Angus; Charalois; Limousin; Salers; Simmentals; Belgian Blues; Aubrac; and Blonde D’Aquitaine.

Other Classes

There will be strong competition for sheep, including the Paddy Keoghan Perpetual Memorial Cup for pedigrees and the Hugh Faulkner Cup for crossbreds – as well as classes for Suffolks, Texels, Charallois, and Vendeen.

Virginia Show

There are also classes for goats, poultry, farm and garden produce, oats, barley, turf, hay, grazing and maize.

The Fleetwood All-Ireland Final Art Competition will also take place on the showgrounds; while McEvoys SuperValu are once again sponsoring the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA) Guild Skills of the Year.

This year, visitors to the Virginia Agricultural Show will also get the chance to enjoy a special sheep shearing demonstration by All-Ireland Sheep Shearing Champion Oliver Daly.

The show’s 200-strong committee stated that “credit must be given” to all sponsors for their continued support and visitors are also invited to shop local for the day in a bid to “keep money in our local economy and in turn support local jobs and help the environment”.

Arrive On Time To The Virginia Show

The Virginia showgrounds are set to open at 7:00am tomorrow morning and there is free car parking provided for patrons. The final event of the day will take place at 5:00pm.

Children go free, while further concessions will also be available.