Once again the overall supreme beef championship at AgriExpo went to an exhibitor from Northern Ireland. This time it was Dermot and Gareth Small from Kilkeel, Co Down, with their home-bred heifer, Strawberry Blonde.
Home-bred by the Smalls, who also had last year’s reserve champion and won the overall title in 2014, Strawberry Blonde is by the Charolais sire, Anside Foreman out of an ex-show cow. The 15-month-old heifer weighed in at 624kg and has already had numerous show ring successes including reserve female champion at the Royal Highland and at the Northern Ireland Commercial Calf Show and will next go to LiveScot.
Taking the reserve overall rosette was the reserve heifer champion, Red Hot Diamond from Stewart and Lynsey Bett, Stirling. The 19-month-old 651kg heifer, by the Limousin, Sarkley Digital, was bred by M.B. Nash, Bridgnorth, and bought from Bryan Griffiths at last year’s Royal Welsh Winter Fair where it was young farmers champion. Its wins this year include the inter-breed championship at Perth, reserve champion at the Great Yorkshire and reserve inter-breed at Perth.
The steer championship went to Katrina Donaldson and James Little, Ireby, with 15-month-old, Midnight, by the Limousin, Easegillhead Exterminate. Weighing in at 619kg, it was on its third outing having been steer champion at Countryside Live last month and a winner at the Great Yorkshire Show.
Reserve steer was June 2017-born Oreo, a son of Empire D’Ochain, from Blair Duffton and Rebecca Stuart, Huntly. Bought from breeder, Jack Smyth, at Dungannon mart in the spring, its successes this season include the male championships at Keith and Turriff shows.
The baby beef championship went to Queen Bee, a five-month-old heifer, by the Limousin sire, Derrygulinane King Bull, from Peredur and Llyr Hughes, Rhosgoch.
Home-bred and weighing 283kg, it was making its show ring debut.
The judge, Craig Malone, Cardenden, Fife, said he spotted his champion as soon as it came into the ring as it had the ‘X-factor’ with great potential for the future.
Reserve in the baby beef section went to Pearse McNamee, Co Tyrone, and Blair Duffton, with Sassy Lassy. April 2018-born and weighing 301kg, it was All Ireland champion calf at Strokestown show. Bred by Mr McNamee, by the Limousin, Powerhouse Elite out of a British Blue cow, it has now been sold to Mr Duffton for further showing.
It was a clean sweep for the Hall family in the sheep section with the overall supreme title going to the continental champions, a pair of three-quarter Beltex lambs, from John Hall and family, Dalston. Weighing 40kg apiece and by a Northcop ram, the champions had also been reserve supreme at Countryside Live.
Mr Hall’s granddaughter, April Skelton, who also won the young handler’s championship, took the reserve overall and reserve continental championship with a pair of Beltex cross Dutch Texels which had won the Young Farmers class.
The judge, William McAllister, Ballymena, Northern Ireland, said his champions were a superb pair which were evenly matched, very correct and full of meat with plenty of character.
The hill-bred lamb championship went to a pair of Blackface from T.N. Cavers and Co, Langholm, who also took the pair of lambs bred from a hill ewe championship with South Country Cheviot crosses.
Inter-breed (A. Veitch, Lisbellaw, Co Fermanagh) Supreme. and fem., D. Small, Strawberry Blonde; reserve and res. fem., S. and L. Bett, Red Hot Diamond; male, K. Donaldson and J. Little, Midnight; res. male, B. Duffton and R. Stuart, Oreo.
Baby beef (C. Malone, Cardenden, Fife) Sup., P. and L. Hughes, Queen Bee; res., P. McNamee and B. Duffton, Sassy Lassy.
Inter-breed (W. McAllister, Ballymena) Sup. and continental, R. Hall and Son (Beltex-sired); res. and res. continental, A. Skelton (Beltex-sired).
Hill bred lambs, sup., T.N. Cavers and Co (Blackface); res., A. Main (Cheviot).
Lambs bred from a hill ewe, sup., T.N. Cavers and Co (South Country Cheviot); res., M. and B. Allen (Mule).
Pair of Mule gimmer lambs, sup., P. and A. Sowerby; res., R. Batty.