Want to win a double five-star pedigree Texel ewe?
The Irish Texel Sheep Society, in association with the Irish Farmers Journal, has launched a new online competition aimed at young sheep farmers.

The Irish Texel Sheep Society, in association with the Irish Farmers Journal, has just launched an online competition aimed at young sheep farmers.

The competition will be broken up into two age categories – 16 and under, and 17 to 23 years.

The prizes for each group are vouchers to spend at the Irish Texel Premier Sale (vouchers are non-transferable and have to redeemed in person). The sale takes place on 10 and 11 August in Blessington, Co Wicklow, where there will be more than 300 sheep to choose from. First prize gets a €300 voucher, €200 for second and €100 for third.

The prize

The overall winner of the competition will win a double five-star pedigree Texel ewe on 9 June.

To enter the competition, entrants, who must be under the age of 23, just have to upload a short video to Facebook saying why they enjoy sheep farming and why they should win a pedigree Texel ewe.

When uploading, please tag Irish Texel Sheep Society and the Irish Farmers Journal.


Twenty per cent of the overall marks will be for the amount of likes each video gets, while the remaining 80% will be for the content. The top few will then be asked to attend the final, which will be held on 9 June in Cillin Hill at the National Sheep Breeders Association national championships.

Here, successful candidates will undergo a short interview.

Following the announcement of the winners, each section winner will be featured in the Irish Farmers Journal.

Check out the Irish Farmers Journal and Irish Texel Sheep Society Facebook pages for more information.

What a no-deal Brexit means for breeding animals
Much talk this week surrounds the Brexit talks, but what exactly will it mean for pedigree breeding animals. Shane Murphy reports.

Much uncertainty surrounds Brexit talks to date. In the case of a no-deal exit, the UK government has put together plans for all eventualities.

This week, it released the outcome for pedigree breeders if a no-deal scenario was to happen.

Due to the introduction of zootechnical certification for all pedigree animals, the pedigree sector will not encounter some of the consequences seen across other sectors.

Here, we outline the guidance the UK government provides on the matter:


“Zootechnical legislation facilitates trade in purebred breeding animals and their germinal products. Separate species-specific legislation is being replaced by a new streamlined regulation in November 2018.

“It allows breed societies to apply to be recognised and have their breeding programme approved by a member state-competent authority if they meet zootechnical standards.

“Once recognised, they are entitled to certain rights. For example, a pedigree bull from a recognised UK breed society can be automatically treated as a pedigree by an equivalent breed society in another EU member state.

“Purebred animals being traded and entered into another breed society register or breeding book must be accompanied by a zootechnical certificate.

“UK breeding programmes can also be extended into the territory of another EU member state.”

After March 2019 if there’s no deal

“In the unlikely event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK would become a third country from March 2019.

“UK-recognised breed societies and operations involved in the trade and movement of purebred livestock and germinal products would no longer be recognised societies or operations in the EU.

“A recognised UK breed society or breeding operation would no longer be automatically entitled to enter their pedigree breeding animals into an equivalent breeding book in the EU and would have no right to extend a breeding programme into the EU.

“Existing EU legislation allows for trade with third-country breed societies and operations.

“This provides for the European Commission to maintain a list of breeding bodies in third countries that meet certain requirements relating to equivalence of their breeding programmes and rules of procedure to those in the EU.

“As the Commission indicated in a notice to breeders previously, in a no-deal scenario UK zootechnical businesses that meet these requirements would be treated as third-country breeding bodies by the EU.

“This would allow them to enter pedigree breeding animals into equivalent EU breeding books or registers as they can now, provided the animals are accompanied by a zootechnical certificate in accordance with the existing EU legislation.

“Defra will shortly contact zootech stakeholders directly to discuss the steps they need to take to plan for March 2019, including providing any information needed to enable Defra to submit their applications for listing as third-country breeding bodies to the Commission.

“The arrangements for EU-recognised breed societies and operations operating in the UK would not change initially.

“They would continue to have access to the UK in the same way as they do now.”

First big weekend of autumn pedigree sales
This coming weekend kickstarts the first of the big autumn beef bull sales.

While breeds such as Hereford, Belgian Blue and Shorthorn may have held sales across the water, the first of the Irish society sales takes place this Saturday.

The Irish Hereford Breed Society holds its premier sale over the weekend with a catalogue of 58 bulls and 25 females forward. Also on the day, the Irish Salers Cattle Society will host a commercial and pedigree heifer sale in Gort.

Not stopping there, the Midland and Western Livestock Improvement Society hosts its multi-breed pedigree autumn sale in Carrick-on-Shannon. The sale will include 72 lots of bulls and heifers from the Angus, Hereford, Limousin, Simmental and Charolais breeds.

The weekend will also play host to two of the UK’s biggest autumn sales. The British Limousin Cattle Society hosts its annual premier autumn sale in Carlisle this Friday and Saturday. With 221 lots, the sale usually stands as a good indicator for trade for the Irish premier sale, which this year takes place on Sunday 28 and Monday 29 October in Roscrea.

Stirling bull sales

Later on this weekend, the Stirling bull sales in Scotland begin on Sunday. This three-day event is usually the largest sale, with 771 bulls and females across eight breeds.

This bumper entry will feature three dispersal sales of highly respected herds, two Angus and one Simmental.

The Stirling bull sales in Scotland begin on Sunday. This three-day event is usually the largest sale, with 771 bulls and females across eight breeds.

First in the ring will be the Moncur Aberdeen Angus herd, with 50 lots from GC Taylor (Farms) Ltd. This Perthshire-based herd, founded in 1992 by the late Mark Taylor, has a good history of selling at both Stirling and Perth and has seen success in both the sale and show rings, as well as significant export trade with females and bulls.

Rounding up the Aberdeen Angus sales will be the dispersal of the Ellon-based Schivas herd from Schivas Estates. With 101 lots, the sale is one of the largest staged by United Auctions at the Stirling bull sales in recent years. The herd has been run on a commercial basis since it was established in 2001.

The Simmental female sale on Tuesday morning includes the dispersal of the renowned Mendick herd, totalling 38 lots. This long-established herd is run by the Dykes family at South Slipperfield, West Linton.

Bank holiday weekend

The October bank holiday weekend is also a busy one. Along with the aforementioned Limousin premier, the Aubrac and Belgian Blue breeds also host premier sales.

For all the pedigree news updates, keep an eye on www.farmersjournal.ie/pedigree.

Millstreet all set for 36th annual National Dairy Show
This weekend's National Dairy Show in the Green Glen Arena has something for all the family.

The annual National Dairy Show is set to take place this weekend on Saturday 20 October in the Green Glens Arena, Millstreet, Co Cork.

The National Dairy Show is the largest and longest-running indoor dairy show in Ireland, catering for all farming needs. Now in its 36th year, the event provides both a national and international platform for the promotion of the dairy industry.

Attendance continues to increase year on year, with last year’s show attracting over 100 companies exhibiting to over 3,000 people.

What makes the show unique is that the show is run entirely voluntarily by people involved in the Irish dairy industry.

The best of the Holstein Friesian and Jersey breeds will be on show for all to see, with all competing to win the prestigious supreme championship on Saturday evening.

It’s run by members of the Cork Holstein Friesian Association in conjunction with the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA).

The IHFA is a member-owned organisation directed by a board, which is directly elected from its 3,700 members in 15 club areas.

The show was first held in 1982 and, since then, has grown steadily into Ireland’s premier indoor agricultural event.

Show director John Kirby said: “The word indoor was of huge significance to the show when, in 2017, storm Ophelia failed to upstage the holding of the annual event, and recent events at the National Ploughing Championships, when storm Ali caused a major disruption, certainly brought home to us the true value and comfort of the Green Glens complex, where the show has been domiciled since its inception.”

While the indoor arena is of benefit to the 130 trade stands expected on the day, it also makes for perfect showing conditions for one of the highlights in the showing calendar.

Exhibitors from right across Ireland have been busy since Monday ensuring that their animals are looking in peak condition for Saturday’s show.

The best of the Holstein Friesian and Jersey breeds will be on show for all to see, with all competing to win the prestigious supreme championship on Saturday evening.


The show this year attracts the expertise of Edward Griffiths to judge the cattle classes. Edward farms with his wife Jenny and three daughters, who are all involved on the family dairy farm.

Frances is an agricultural land agent, Sally now works full-time at home and Lydia is training to be a farm accountant.

This year’s National Dairy Show judge Edward Griffiths.

\ Paul Smith

The Griffiths family farm in South Yorkshire in the north of England, where they milk 180 pedigree Holsteins, plus a few Jerseys and Ayrshires, which all share the Coachgate prefix.

The Coachgate herd calve year-round. The family has been recognised by their milk supplier for their investment in animal health and welfare facilities on the farm. The 270-acre farm is 750ft above sea level and is predominantly grass and wheat.

Edward has enjoyed travelling to judge many major shows in the UK and Europe. These have included national Holstein shows in the UK, Ireland, Sweden and Slovenia.

Edward has also judged the all dairy breeds championships at the Royal Welsh Show, all-Ireland Baileys championships, Royal Ulster and Agriscot, the prestigious dairy show in Edinburgh, as well as many UK county shows and, most recently, the New Zealand dairy event.

Edward enjoys representing Yorkshire and the northeast of England on the Holstein UK board of trustees. He is passionate about the breed, enthusiastically involved with the next generation and has a wealth of judging experience.

Other displays

Along with top-class cattle, the show has been designed to attract an audience from throughout the farming community.

Tractor and loader exhibitors will keep the machinery enthusiasts happy, while bouncing castles, face painting and small animal farms will all be on hand to entertain younger attendees.

Innovation awards

The National Dairy Show innovation awards has gained much traction in recent years and is again set to generate particular interest on the day.

It rewards a new product or service, which has been launched in the past 12 months, that has revolutionised some aspect of dairy farming.

As well as an overall winner, there will be awards in three individual sections – science, technology and engineering.

Last year, the overall award went to startup business Dairy Geyser.

The other previous winners highlight the diversity and practicality of the awards over the scientific, technological and engineering sections, as well as a mix of startup and established companies.

Previous overall winners include Dairy Geyser (2017); True North Technologies Ltd, Grasshopper (2016); Devenish Nutrition, Mag 12 (2015); Alanya, HerdInsights (2014); SlurrySafe (2013); and Suirway Automation, GSM Fence Controller (2012).

The 2 Johnnies

New this year, the National Dairy Show will see the attendance of The 2 Johnnies. The Tipperary-based comedy duo rose to fame through their social media exploits, with hits like The Silage Song bringing their viewer and engagement numbers into the millions.

The 2 Johnnies have confirmed their attendance at this year’s National Dairy Show.

They base their comedy on GAA and rural Ireland, which has many crossovers into farming topics.

It has helped them accumulate almost 200,000 followers on Facebook, while their ‘When I Play for County’ video on Youtube now has almost one million views.

The Cahir-based double act will be at the show to meet fans and record routines throughout the day at the Green Glens Arena, Millstreet.