Virginia Show debutante takes Baileys Champion Cow title

Thousands of people flocked to Co. Cavan for the 76th annual Virginia Show today. Home to the Diageo Baileys Champion Dairy Cow Competition, this year’s championship was won by a Virginia Show debutante.

Widely acknowledged as Ireland’s leading dairy livestock event, attracting the elite of the Holstein Friesian breed, this year’s competition featured a prize fund of €10,000.

Tasked with selecting the winner was UK-based dairy farmer Paul Miller. Coming from a 400-cow dairy herd in Evesham, Worcestershire, England, he was particularly focused on selecting a winner that was “functional and had excellent udder placement”.

After whittling the entries down to his final four, Miller tapped forward Sam McCormick’s Hilltara Lanthority Echo 2 as his winner of the Diageo Baileys Champion Dairy Cow Competition.

Hilltara Lanthority Echo 2

Hailing from Bangor, the daughter of Comestar Lauthority produced 11,458kg of milk in her previous lactation and over 821kg of milk solids.

Speaking to AgriLand, McCormick explained that he started breeding pedigree Holsteins in 1992 and first started showing his stock in 1994.

He added that an imported in-calf heifer from the Cradewell Herd in Canada formed the bedrock of his breeding and he has continued to focus on such bloodlines over the years.

“We have won most of the major shows throughout the country; but this is the first year that we have had a cow good enough for Virginia.

“We have gotten used to the best cows from the Republic coming up and beating us in the North, so it’s nice to win this title,” he added.

Paul Miller pictured with his final three

Taking the reserve championship title was Denis and Eleanor O’Neills’ Dalevalley GWY Embrace. Sired by Braedale Goldwyn, the cow from Co. Monaghan produced 8,769kg of milk in her previous lactation and 666kg of milk solids.

Dalevalley GWY Embrace took the reserve title

Honorable Mention went to Brochan Cocoman’s Kilwareen Fever B Shower 2.

Other award winners:
  • Best Heifer in Milk: Baldonnel FM Sunshine – owned by Cyril Dowling, Co. Dublin;
  • Best EBI Award: Monamore McMargot – owned by Tom Kelly, Co. Louth;
  • Best Protein Award: Laurelmore Duplex Impala – owned by John Barrett, Co. Cork;
  • Best Junior Cow Winner: Kilwareen Fever B Shower 2 – owned by Brochan Cocoman, Co. Kildare.