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Antrim Show a mix of farming and food

Young handler Ashton Wallace at Antrim Show
Young handler Ashton Wallace at Antrim Show
Exhibitors Megan Agnew and Kristina McKeag
Taking a break are Charolais exhibitors David Connolly, Margaret McCune and Tarra McNeille

By Julie Hazelton

Thousands flocked to Shane's Castle for the 113th Randox Antrim Show on Saturday.

The historic site on the edge of Lough Neagh proved a popular venue for the one-day show which attracted exhibitors and spectators from far and wide.

The packed schedule featured a host of classes for farm livestock and horses. The home industries section was also well supported.

One of the highlights of this year's show was the Food Village supported by the NI Regional Food Programme, with regular cookery demonstrations from BBC chef Paula McIntyre and other local chefs.

Antrim Agricultural Society chairman Fred Duncan was delighted with the success of the day: "The weather has been fantastic and it has been a great family day out. We are indebted to Randox, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and our numerous sponsors for their continued support."

The Antrim Show hosted a number of competitions in the cattle section, including the Aberdeen Angus Ulster Championship, the NI Limousin Championship and the NI Dexter Group's Premier Show.

The final of the NISA and Thompsons Dairy Cow Championship saw 13 qualifiers paraded before Yorkshire judge Wendy Young, who tapped out Robinview Atwood Vicky 11 EX94 as the recipient of the £500 top prize. The fourth-calver is owned jointly by Mark Henry, Andrew Kennedy, Lindsey Fleming and David Simpson, and is putting 47 litres of milk in the tank daily. The Fleming family's Potterswalls Jersey herd had a day to remember, lifting a number of plaudits in the inter-breed line-up, including supreme overall champion, dairy heifer champion, the inter-breed pairs award, and top honours for the best group of three.

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Leading the dairy line-up was the Seaforde-based herd's home-bred Potterswalls Primero Elisha VG89. This second-calver was inter-breed champion at Castlewellan a few weeks ago, and won the inter-breed heifer award at Antrim last year.

Runner-up was the Ayrshire champion Ardmore Orphan 110 EX93 from John and Michael Hunter's 200-cow herd at Crumlin. She produced her fourth calf in April, and is giving 44 litres of milk every day. Top honours in the beef section went to the much-admired Shorthorn cow Ricketstown Lovely exhibited by Duncan McDowell from Newtownards. This four-year-old was accompanied by her January-born heifer calf.

Claiming the reserve interbreed award were Herbie and Stephen Crawford from Maguiresbridge, with their Limousin cow Culnagechan Liberty. At foot was her February-born heifer calf sired by the 17,000gns Culnagechan Lazio.

Leading the inter-breed sheep line-up was the Bluefaced Leicester champion, a ewe exhibited by Michelle Wright from Ballymena. Standing in reserve was a Suffolk Cheviot ewe lamb shown by Randalstown farmer and machinery dealer James Alexander.

Belfast Telegraph