Tremendous crowds were the order of the day at Castlewellan Show 2022, which was held in the Co. Down town on Saturday (July 16).

The event hosted the 2022 Charolais Club National Show plus a number of inter-breed finals, including the Danske Bank / Northern Ireland Shows Association (NISA) Ewe Championship.

Frank Reid, from Ballynahinch, Co. Down, scooped top Charolais honours with his immense senior bull: Brownhill Owenroe.

Championship judge – Arwel Owens from Welshpool in mid-Wales – described the four-year-old as an almost perfect example of the Charolais breed.

“The bull has everything: Stature; breed character; tremendous presence; and very good locomotion. He is not overly big but has excellent potential as a breeding animal for the future,” Owens stated.

Frank Reid confirmed that Owenroe is currently running with a group of commercial cows on his farm at home.

“They have all been confirmed in calf,” he said.

“The bull will also make a tremendous contribution to the development of our pedigree enterprise over the coming years.

“Taking semen from him will be part of the plan moving forward.”

Sheep and other winners at Castlewellan

Meanwhile in the sheep rings, Co`. Down Charollais breeder Diane Christie was having what can only be described as a ‘perfect day’.

Her three-year-old ewe won the Danske Bank / Northern Ireland Shows Association (NISA) Sheep Championship. And, just for good measure, she took the runner-up slot with another equally eye-catching female.

The judge – John Barclay from Ayrshire – described this champion as a perfect example of the Charollais breed.

“I couldn’t fault her,” he said. “The animal caught my eye as soon as she came in to the ring.”

Trevor Bell represented Diane Christie in the ring at Castlewellan.

He commented:

“The ewe has won six breed and two inter-breed titles so far this year. We are delighted with the progress that she is making.”

Approximately 700 sheep were entered for the various show classes at Castlewellan this year.

The pedigree inter-breed beef championship at the event was won by Randalstown breeder, James Alexander with his truly eye-catching Limousin heifer Jalex Riri.

James Little, from Carlisle, judged the Champion of Champions class at the event. He described the winning heifer as having tremendous length, great legs and exceptional hindquarters.

James Alexander is having a tremendous year with his pedigree Limousins. His group of young heifers all have tremendous potential for the future. 

The dairy championship at Castlewellan was won by the Fleming family, from Seaforde, with their Jersey cow: Potterswalls Joel Glamour.

Jersey breed

It has been a tremendous 12 months for Jersey breeding in Northern Ireland. Not alone has a selection of top cows from the Potterswalls and Clandeboye herds taken all the top show accolades, but the footprint of the breed continues to strengthen at an exponential rate throughout the dairy sector.

Jersey cows have been long recognised for their ability to produce milk from grass in a very sustainable manner. They also perform well within confined feeding scenarios.

The ability of the breed to produce milk with high levels of fat and protein is universally accepted.

Adding to the atmosphere of this year’s Castlewellan Show was the huge turnout of visitors for the event. And, of course, the excellent weather also helped in this regard.

Amongst the many people taking-in the sights and sounds of the show was Northern Ireland’s agriculture ministe,r Edwin Poots.

He paid tribute to the vital role played by Castlewellan and the many other local agricultural shows held across Northern Ireland during the summer months.

The minister also confirmed that a support package will be made available to the local shows in recognition of the enhanced costs they are grappling with at the present time.