Balmoral Show 2017 saw the Fleming family, from Seaforde in Co. Down, winning their fourth successive Balmoral Interbreed Dairy Championship – their eighth in total.
This is a Balmoral record and also sets a unique winning precedent for the Jersey breed in the UK. The winning cow – Potterswalls Action Daisybelle – is a home-bred fifth calver.
“This is her second Balmoral,” confirmed Ashley Fleming.
“Previously, she had won the Jersey Championship at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair in both 2013 and 2014.
Daisybelle gave 9,000L of milk during her last lactation and is on course to give 9,500L this time around.
“She is due to calve again later in the autumn to the bull Joel.”
Interbreed class judge Eddie Griffiths, from South Yorkshire, described the champion as a tremendous example of the Jersey breed.
“Physically, the cow has everything,” he said.
“But the fact that she has had so many calves also points to her longevity. This is a key attribute of a cow that can produce milk profitably.
“I am very aware of the fact that the dairy industry is under tremendous commercial pressure at the present time. But it is totally reassuring to know that pedigree herd owners are doing all they can to push forward the frontiers, from a breeding point of view.”
Griffiths confirmed that the interbreed line-up at Balmoral 2017 would grace any venue in the United Kingdom.
“At the end of the day, selecting the winner was not an easy decision, such was the tremendous quality of the cows taking part in the final class.”
For good measure, the Fleming family also won the Jersey Breed Championship, the Interbreed 'Group of Three' class and the Interbreed Pairs’ Championship.