A prestigious dairy competition with a prize fund of more than €10,000 has opened for entries for 2018.

The 35th Diageo Baileys Champion Dairy Cow Competition was launched this week by Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle at the Baileys production site in north-west Dublin.

The all-Ireland competition finale takes place on August 22 at the Virginia Show in Co. Cavan and offers cash prizes across several categories, including Junior Cows in their second lactation.

2017 Diageo Baileys Cow

Last year’s winner was well-known Holstein breeder Sam McCormick from Co. Down with Hilltara Lanthority Echo 2. The family has seen much success over the last two decades with their Hiltara herd.

Congratulating both companies on reaching a 35-year milestone, Minister Doyle said: “I commend Diageo and Glanbia Ireland for sponsoring such an important event that is now in its 35th year.

“This event is the most prestigious competition for pedigree dairy stock, with strong entries from across the island.

It’s an opportunity for the best breeders in the country to compete against each other for a competition that rewards cows with both good commercial milk production practices, outstanding appearance and show ring characteristics.

“Better breeding has a key role in developing our vital export-led agri-food sector.”

Cash prizes

The top place of Overall Champion attracts a €2,500 prize; followed by €1,000 and €500 for Reserve Champion and Honourable Mention respectively.

Cash prizes will also be awarded for Highest Protein Content, Best EBI and Best Exhibitor-Bred Cow and Best Junior Cow.

The popular Best-Heifer-in-Milk category carries a fund of €1,700 with first place worth €500.

Awards for Best EBI and Best Protein also emphasise the most profitable factors for both breeding dairy herd replacements and milk production.

Martin Tynan General Manager of Glanbia Ireland Virginia added: “The Diageo Baileys Champion Cow rewards breeders who combine good conformation in their animals with exceptional milk production capability.

“As suppliers of the Irish cream for Baileys we see it as the perfect way to celebrate the long-standing partnership with our customer Diageo.”