€10,000 up for grabs in Baileys Champion Cow competition
The Diageo Baileys Champion Dairy Cow competition was officially launched in Dublin this week with a total prize fund of €10,000.
The island-wide competition will take place at the Virginia Show in Co. Cavan in August, with prizes including Champion Dairy Cow, Best-Heifer-in-Milk and Best Dry Dow.
The competition was launched by senior representatives of Diageo, the makers of Baileys, and its cream supplier Glanbia Ingredients Ireland at the Baileys Irish Cream factory.
The Champion Dairy Cow will claim a top prize of €2,500, followed by €1,000 and €500 for Reserve Champion and Honourable Mention respectively.
Cash prizes will also be awarded for Highest Protein Content, Best EBI (Economic Breeding Index) and Best Exhibitor-Bred Cow.
The popular Best-Heifer-in-Milk category carries a prize fund of €1,700 with the winner taking home €500. The owner of the Best Dry Cow will also win €250.
Diageo Ireland Head of Corporate & Trade Communications Hazel Chu said that Diageo was delighted to be in a partnership with GIanbia to recognise excellence in dairy breeding.
“Both companies are major contributors to the agri-food sector and our successful collaboration as competition sponsors reflects our long-standing supply chain partnership,” said Chu.
The judging criteria for the show focuses on a variety of topics such as conformation and milk production capability according to Competition Director, Brendan Smyth.
“The new cash prizes for EBI and Best Protein emphasises the most profitable factors for both breeding dairy herd replacements and milk production.
“The Diageo Baileys Champion Cow is not a pedigree cow contest based on looks alone. It rewards breeders who can combine good conformation in their animals with milk production capability,” said Smyth.
To be eligible for entry, the cow must first have produced 500kg of butterfat and protein in a 305-day lactation. Winning or even doing well in ‘the Baileys’ therefore brings great prestige according to Smyth.
Last year’s winner was the Co. Cork breeder John Barrett with his cow Laurelmore Duplex Impala EX 96.
The competition is expected to attract top Holstein Friesian breeders, including from Northern Ireland, when it takes place at the 75th annual Virginia Show on August 24.