On Thursday 8 December 2022, the 36th Royal Ulster Winter Fair returned to Balmoral Park, Lisburn, with over 150 entries put before Canadian judge, Pierre Boulet.

The Eikon Exhibition Centre was filled with joy as Northern Ireland’s premier dairy show took place with cattle competing in the ring for a number of championship titles throughout the day.

The hotly contested supreme interbreed championship title was secured by Potterswalls Chrome Glamour exhibited by the Fleming family from Downpatrick, while Liam and Sandra Murphy all the way from Co Carlow received the title of reserve supreme champion with Sterndale Colt Rae ET and exhibitor John Dowling all the way from Dublin returned home with the supreme interbreed honourable mention award for Baldonnel Soloman Ebony.

There were a variety of championships on the day varying in age and breed with each breeder putting forward their best foot for each championship.

In the dairy Shorthorn ring, the heifer championship was secured by the McClean family from Bushmills with Bushmills Jazz R Petal who went on to be crowned the overall dairy Shorthorn champion.

The junior champion came from the Sunrise Shorthorn herd with Sunrise Pure Class Heather. The reserve overall dairy Shorthorn went to Bushmills Hoffman Princess Jill, again from the McClean family.

The Jersey heifer championship and reserve interbreed heifer championship were both won by Potterswalls Chrome Lady 3 for the Fleming family.

The reserve Jersey heifer champion was awarded to Joel and Clive Richardson with Logan Chrome Chicago. The junior Jersey champion was Treasure Andreas Fernleaf ET for G&D Simpson.

The overall Jersey champion and reserve was awarded to the Fleming family with Potterswalls Chrome Glamour and Layward Cosmo Starry Fizz ET.

The supreme interbreed champion at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair selected by judge Pierre Boulet from Canada, was a Jersey cow exhibited by the Fleming family from Seaforde. Ashley, Lynda, Lindsay, Kristina and Ailsa Fleming and handlers Katie Davidson and James Patton are congratulated on their success by Rodney Brown, head of agribusiness at Danske Bank and Christine Adams, RUAS president.

In the Ayrshire classes it was Christian Keenan with Knowe Mix Brown Kate 2 who took the champion heifer spot, while reserve went to the second prizewinner in that class, Beechmount Ethel 20 for R & C McConnell.

The junior Ayrshire championship was won by the McClean family with Priestland Hail Sierra Lily with reserve going to second prizewinner, Carnell Ringer Snowdrop 2 for Stewart and Nyree Baxter with the overall Ayrshire champion and reserve title going to Raymond Stewart from Ballyclare with Gwynndg Teicld Nancy and Fortfield Crystal 96, respectively.

Hotly contested

The Holstein classes, which were some of the most hotly contested classes of the day, resulted in a Holstein heifer championship and an interbreed heifer championship title for Knowlesmere Jones Unix Victoir for Jones and Knowlesmere Holsteins.

The reserve Holstein heifer championship was secured by Hallow Octain Twizzle from the Hallow Holsteins herd.

The junior Holstein championship was secured by Gary and Isobel Jones, with Jones Haniko J Lo who also went on to be tapped out as the interbreed junior champion.

She was followed in reserve in the junior Holstein championship by William and Alan Paul with Slatabogie Doral All Rich Red with the reserve junior interbreed going to the Jersey junior champion.

The young showmanship classes which took place early in the morning saw all four champion titles go to southern exhibitors.

The honourable mention for second reserve in the interbreed championship at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair was awarded to John Dowling from Baldonnel, Dublin, with a Holstein cow, Baldonnel Soloman Ebony. John Dowling, Denis O’Neill and Thomas Feeney are pictured receiving this award from Rodney Brown, head of agribusiness, Danske Bank and Christine Adams, RUAS president.

The junior title was won by Katie Jones, the intermediate title went to Katie’s brother, Will Jones, the senior title was won by Holly Keenan, while the mature title was won by Alexander Tinney.

The Holstein breed championship was awarded to Liam and Sandra Murphy with Sterndale Colt Rae ET, Co Carlow, with reserve going to John Dowling’s Baldonnel Solomon Ebony.

There was a great buzz around the show rings from morning to late afternoon as spectators awaited the interbreed championships at the end of the evening and indeed a huge buzz around the trade stand area with almost 200 agricultural related trade stands present.

Rodney Brown, head of agribusiness at Danske Bank, who were once again the sole sponsors of the event, said: “After what has been a few years of restrictions, it’s been great to return to business as usual for the Winter Fair 2022.

“The atmosphere this year was electric, not only in the show ring, but also around the broad and diverse range of trade stands and industry stakeholders.”