Funding of €250,000 has been announced for the rollout of a new class for four- and five-star heifers at Irish shows, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.

The Breeder’s Choice class will be open to traditional breeds and continental breeds, in two separate classes.

Both pedigree and commercial heifers will be eligible for the classes and they can be in-calf or maidens.

Over the course of the summer, more than 60 shows will benefit from the new class.

The new class will be administered by the Irish Shows Association (ISA).


The requirement for four- and five-star heifers aligns to the aims of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) and the incoming Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCBP) in the next CAP to increase the number of these heifers in the suckler herd.

Commenting on the new investment in the show sector, Minister McConalogue said: "The show network is the backbone of so many agri and rural communities.

"The show season is upon us and the excitement of getting an animal ready for your local show is hard bet.

"What is even more exciting is taking home a yellow, red or blue rosette."

Those rosettes, he said, are the marks of what makes a good animal a great animal.

The Minister said that the investment is a commitment from the Government to continue to back rural Ireland in any way they can.

Jim Harrison, secretary of the Irish Shows Association said that the association is delighted to have partnered with the Minister and the Department on this "exciting new initiative" which will see a major investment made in our network of shows.

"It gives farmers, breeders and handlers great confidence in the show circuit going forward with this initial five-year investment in the Breeder’s Choice class.

"I now urge all farmers and handlers to get their quality four- and five-star heifers out and into their local show this summer to avail of this exciting new showing class," he said.