Bumper year for cattle and sheep as Newry Show marks 150th anniversary
Large crowds and a record turnout of livestock formed the backdrop to Newry Agricultural Show's 150th anniversary.
Adding to the tremendous weekend atmosphere were the fantastic weather and the holiday mood, which permeated the show grounds throughout the day.
"Cattle and sheep entries were up by one-third this year," said show secretary Brian Lockhart.
"This confirms that Newry Show has a strong future, as well as a very prestigious history."
Lockhart said the show had an important role in highlighting the agri-food sector in the South Down area.
"We are helping to communicate a strong message regarding the provenance of the food produced throughout our catchment area and the exemplary standards achieved by local farmers," he explained.
"We want to build on this for the future.
"Brexit will throw up a host of opportunities and challenges for the farming and food industries. Continuing growth will be an ongoing priority for both sectors."
The Wilson family from Newry won the beef inter-breed championship with their elite Charolais bull.
The same animal had previously carried the day at Armagh.
It entered the show ring weighing an estimated 1,600 kilos.
Judge Brian McAllister described the champion as being almost "picture perfect".
"He has matured into a truly splendid breeding animal," he said.
"Young stock can show lots of promise, but the trick is getting these animals to mature into the type of breeding animal that will make a real difference on the farm.
"The quality of the stock qualifying for the beef inter-breed class at this year's show was excellent. But the Charolais bull stood out above the rest."
The inter-breed reserve went to Robert Miller from Moneymore, with a choice cross bred heifer. She was produced as an embryo from Robert's all conquering cross-bred heifer of 2013, She's A Diamond.
The Newry Show is unique in hosting a bespoke championship class for native breed cattle. That prize went to Duncan McDowell from Newtownards.
His 19-month-old beef shorthorn heifer, Castlemount Matrix Zipy, is a half-sister to the 2017 junior champion at the 2017 Stirling Bull Sales in Scotland.
That animal subsequently sold in the ring for 13,000 guineas.
The sheep inter-breed championship at Newry was won by Naomi Ardis from Hilltown with her mature Texel ewe.
"This is her first outing of the year, as she had a foot problem earlier in the season," said Naomi. The ewe lambed for the first time earlier this year. Her ram lamb came second in his class at Balmoral.
"We plan to flush the ewe and get some embryos from her later in the autumn," she added.
The dairy inter-breed championship was won by the Magowan family from Rathfriland with their impressive Holstein, Goldilocks Sheba 72.