What a few days it’s been for the Booth family, from Stewartstown in Co Tyrone. Last Saturday saw them secure the runner’s up spot in the Northern Ireland Shows’ Association Dairy Cow Championship at Antrim with their more than impressive Holstein cow Clandeboye Shottle Willow. However, this achievement was more than surpassed at Clogher Valley Show, held on Wednesday past, when the same animal initially won the Dairy Inter Breed Championship but then went on to ‘carry the field’ by securing the Champion of Champions accolade.
“Willow calved for the third time in January and is currently giving 40 litres of milk per day,” Jason Booth told Agriland.
“She is due to calve again in November to the bull Atwood. What made the day complete for us was the fact that her daughter won the heifer championship in the morning classes.”
It has also been an exciting few days in the life of Charollais sheep breeder Jonathan Aiken. Last weekend the Co Down man picked up the Reserve Inter Breed Sheep title at Antrim with a tremendous shearling ewe. However, at Clogher he went one step further and secured the Inter Breed title of the show, proving – yet again – that the Charollais breed has a lot to offer the Irish sheep industry.
What makes the results achieved by both Jason Booth and Jonathan Aiken so impressive is the fact that their stock have performed so well at shows held in different parts of the province. One of the most encouraging aspects of the 2014 agricultural show season has been the tremendous turnout of livestock at all of the events held to date. Over 1,000 animals were catalogued for Clogher yesterday, making it now one of the most popular one-day shows held in Northern Ireland.
Another defining aspect to the 2014 show season has been the tremendous quality of the livestock entered for the myriad competition classes. Hazel McNee, from Dundee, who judged yesterday’s Inter Breed Beef Championship, characterised the line-up of cattle taking part as being‘right up there’ in terms of quality.
“It doesn’t get much better than this,” she added.
“I am aware that the cattle industry has not had its problems to seek over recent months. Commercial beef prices have fallen and this has impacted on farmer margins. However, I am confident that the livestock sector in Ireland can look forward to a bright future, given the quality ofthe pedigree bloodlines that are available to them, from a breeding point of view.”