Balmoral Show 2014: Pictures, results and video Days 2 and 3
William Smith rewrites the record books with fourth title
"We will never see the like of it again" – that was the view of one awestruck farmer standing by the Cattle Lawn at Balmoral Show as he witnessed history being made.
The man was on hand to see Co Meath Limousin breeder William Smith winning his fourth consecutive Inter Breed Beef Championship.
It is an achievement that rewrites the record books at Balmoral and, by all accounts, it may never be beaten again, such is the standard of the competition that is now a hallmark of the event.
While fully aware of his tremendous success at Balmoral, William was quick to confirm the role played by previous generations of the Smith family – particularly his father John, who inspired him to breed elite quality cattle.
"Traditionally we were Hereford breeders and subsequent to that we invested in Simmental stock," William told the Belfast Telegraph. "Back in my father's day we also milked cows and kept a decent size herd of commercial sucklers.
"Then, about 30 years ago, I was given the opportunity of making a mark within the business. From the outset I wanted to get involved in a new breed with a future.
"Obviously we wanted cattle with excellent beefing qualities. But we also recognised the need to breed cows with good mothering abilities and a docile nature. And it was obvious to me that Limousins ticked all the boxes in this regard. What's more, I feel that the breed is as relevant today as it was back then."
The Millbrook herd currently comprises 40 breeding Limousin females. William is committed to continually improving the quality of the stock on the farm.
"It's not a numbers game," William said. "There is a tremendous selection of elite Limousin bloodlines to be found throughout the British Isles and beyond at the present time.
"My aim is to select those that best complement the genetic make-up of the breeding stock here at Millbrook."
William first exhibited at the Balmoral Show in 2008. Since then he has amassed a list of breed and inter breed titles that is the envy of the pedigree beef breeding world.
But he really hit the big time in 2011, winning the Balmoral Supreme Inter Breed Beef Championship with Millbrook Celine.
A year later the Smith family was back at Balmoral with Celine and a young heifer Millbrook Ginger Spice. And it is her performances that have taken the Smith family to the heady heights of four Balmoral Inter Breed Championships on the trot.