June 2012: Breeders test their judging skills at Priestland open day
Members travelled from throughout the province to attend Holstein NI’s annual stockjudging competition, hosted the by McLean family’s Priestland herd at Bushmills, County Antrim.
Sponsored by Ecosyl Products Ltd, the event was blessed with warm sunshine, and attracted a large number of Holstein Young Breeders’ Club members and their families.
Managed on a daily basis by the husband and wife team of Iain and Joyce McLean, the long-established Priestland prefix comprises of 140 pedigree Holstein cows, producing an average yield of over 10,000 kilos per cow at 4.18% butterfat and 3.20% protein.
The herd is growing from strength-to-strength, and in recent years Iain McLean has invested heavily in the herd’s breeding programme, importing embryos from international cow families such as Ambrosia, Barbie and James Rose.
Progeny of these cattle are being flushed extensively to accelerate genetics within the herd, and bulls currently used include Braxton, Goldsun, Fever and Artes.
The Priestland Herd hit the headlines 2009, when it achieved a 20,000gns European record for an unborn first choice heifer calf at the breed’s Centenary Causeway Classic, held at Balmoral. The embryo was a Braedale Goldwyn from the internationally acclaimed EK Oseeana Ambrosia.
Master judge for the event was noted fitter and showman Denis O’Neill from Saintfield. “The McLean family have presented a good bunch of cows for today’s competition. They are well turned out, and the placings are very close in some of the classes. There are easy winners in each class, but the senior cow class is the most difficult one.”
The main aim of the stockjudging and linear competition is to select a team of Holstein Young Breeders’ to represent Northern Ireland at Holstein UK’s National Competitions Day. This year’s event takes place on Saturday, June 30, at Robert and Elaine Butterfield’s Ingleview Herd in Lancashire.
Jonny Lyons continued:”A special word of thanks to the Ards, Majestic and Laurelhill herds who hosted stockjudging and linear practices ahead of today’s final. Each competitors highest score from the practice sessions will be added to today’s score to determine the team going to the National Finals. Thanks also to Ashley Fleming and Beattie Lilburn for coaching and mentoring our HYB members, and to Richard Graham for sharing his linear expertise.”
HYB co-ordinator Jonny Lyons, announced the day’s winners in each hotly contested category:
HYB Junior Section – 1, Matthew Muldrew, Armagh; 2, Matthew McLean, Bushmills; 3, David McAllister, Bushmills.
HYB Intermediate Section – 1, James Weatherup, Ballyclare; 2, Mark Henry, Stranocum; 3, Lyndsey Fleming, Seaforde.
HYB Senior Section – 1, Andrew Kennedy, Ballymena; 2, Andrew Patton, Newtownards; 3, Scott McLean, Coleraine.
Open Section – 1, Robert Wallace, Templepatrick; 2, Dean McAllister, Bushmills; 3, David Wilson, Newtownabbey.
The HYB judges representing Northern Ireland at Holstein UK’s National Competitions Day at the end of June are, Andrew Patton, Newtownards (senior); Lyndsey Fleming, Seaforde (intermediate); and Matthew Muldrew, Armagh (junior).
The linear judging teams comprise of the following members: Senior: Andrewy Kennedy, Ballymena, and Scott McLean, Coleraine; Intermediate: Lyndsey Fleming, Seaforde, and Mark Henry, Stranocum; Junior: Harry Orr, Cloughmills, and Matthew Muldrew, Armagh.
Holstein NI’s immediate past chairman Alan Cleland, thanked the McLean family for their excellent hospitality, and the warm welcome to Priestland Farm.
“We’ve had an excellent day, and as a club we are very appreciative of all the hard work and effort that has went on behind the scenes to make today possible. We’ve had an opportunity to see some excellent cows and heifers, and thanks to everyone who contributed to the successful running of this year’s event.”
“Thanks also to our sponsor, Derek Nelson of Ecosyl Products Ltd, for his generous and continued support of our annual stockjudging competition.”
Alan Cleland presented Denis O’Neill and the McLean family with a token of the club’s appreciation.