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Top breeders square up for cream of the cattle prizes at Antrim Show

By Richard Halleron

The final of what is now regarded as one of the most prestigious dairy cow competitions held in the UK and Ireland was held at Antrim Show on Saturday.

The great strides made by Dairy Shorthorn breeders over recent years were fully reflected in the victory achieved by Iain Mclean, from Bushmills, in this year’s McLarnon Feeds: NISA Dairy Cow of the Year competition.

And McLean carried the day with his elite third calver Marleycote Sea Lily 14. Judging the class was Duncan Hunter, from Hertfordshire. He described the winning cow as an almost perfect example of the Shorthorn breed. “I couldn’t fault her,” he said.

The McLean family had five cows participating in Saturday’s final.

All in all, it turned out to be a landmark day for what would be regarded as the traditional coloured dairy breeds — Shorthorn, Jersey and Ayrshire.

The last four decades have seen black and white bloodlines assume almost total prominence within the local dairy sector, relegating many of the more established breeds to almost ‘endangered’ status.

However, given the developments that unfolded at this year’s Dairy Cow of the Year final, one senses that the ‘worm is turning’.

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