McCormick family takes centre stage at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair

After a break of 10 years, the McCormick family – from Bangor in north Co. Down – took centre stage at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair with their third calver Hilltara Lauthority Echo 2 winning both the Holstein and Supreme Inter-Breed Championships at the 2017 event.

“She was sired by Comestar Hilltara Lauthority Echo and is out of Hillstar Zenith Echo. The dam won the Holstein Championship at the Winter Fair back in 2012,” John McCormick said.

The McCormick family’s victory at the Winter Fair follows on from the success they notched up with the same animal at the Diageo Baileys Champion Dairy Cow Competition, held as part of Virginia Show at the beginning of August. Echo 2 is currently giving 42L per day.

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“Bringing the cow to next year’s Balmoral Show is a possibility,” added McCormick.

But this depends on how she performs between now and then.

The Holstein Reserve Champion and Reserve Inter-Breed Champion was Priestland 5446 Shot J Rose, bred and exhibited by the McLean family from Bushmills in Co. Antrim. A Shottle daughter, the cow was extremely fresh – having calved only four weeks ago.

She is currently giving 60L of milk per day; Rose produced 11,500L of milk during her second lactation.

Earlier this year she won her class at Balmoral Show and has performed extremely well at the Winter Fair, going back to 2015.

“Our plan is to take the cow to the 2018 Balmoral Show,” confirmed John McLean.

Meanwhile, the Jersey Championship and Inter-Breed Honourable Mention went to Clandeboye Tequila Cookie, bred and exhibited by Clandeboye Estates – near Bangor in Co. Down.

The estate is home to 30 Jersey and 70 Holstein cows, all pedigree.

“Cookie was All-Britain Junior Champion in 2016,” confirmed estate manager Mark Logan.

She is a young cow with a very promising future.

Hank van Exel, who farms on the outskirts of San Francisco, judged all of the show classes at this year’s Winter Fair. He was the 2015 recipient of the Dairyman of the Year award, an accolade bestowed upon him at the World Dairy Expo, held in Madison, Wisconsin.

“I was tremendously impressed with the cattle taking part in all of the classes at the Winter Fair,” he said.

“My champion has tremendous dairy quality and would hold her own in any international competition class.

“I was also very impressed with the quality of the young stock taking part. The future of the Irish dairy industry is in very safe hands,” he concluded.