A Co. Armagh cow has been crowned the All-Ireland 2023 Diageo Baileys Irish Champion Dairy Cow, the first time an entry from the Orchard County has ever won.
Lumville M Danoise, the six-year-old Holstein Friesian cow, owned by Clive and Joel Richardson from Co. Armagh, scooped the award at the 80th Virginia Agricultural Show in Co. Cavan last Wednesday (August 23).
The herdsman, 27-year-old Greenmount graduate Joshua Ebron from Annaghmore, was presented with the cheque of €3,000 and the Virginia Milk Products Cup by the Irish Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Martin Heydon T.D. and the competition’s co-sponsors Diageo Ireland and its cream supplier Tirlán.
Joshua manages a herd of 90 pedigree Holstein Friesians for Clive and Joel, and prepared the cow for entry to the competition.
Speaking at the event, Minister Heydon said, “It has been a pleasure to present the winning prize at the annual Bailey’s Cow Competition at The Virginia Show. Ireland has a deserved international reputation for quality dairy products and this competition is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and showcase the sector.
“The sustained and proven excellence of Ireland’s grass-fed dairy practices and sustainable milk production is owed entirely to the skill and dedication of its farmers.
“I want to acknowledge the continued and dedicated support of the organisers, Diageo and Tirlán for the dairy sector and congratulate the owners, Clive and Joel Richardson and their herdsman Joshua, for their exceptional cow.”
Holstein Friesian breeders from across the island of Ireland competed at the event which recognises and rewards dairy breeding excellence.
The judge commented on how the winner ticked “all the dairy boxes”, moving well and with an extra ‘dairyness’. The cow also won the certificate for best protein.
The competition has been running for the past 40 years and is regarded as the ‘one to win’ for top dairy breeders who only enter their very best cows.
Strength, body conformation and proven excellence in quality milk production are base-line criteria upon which a winner is selected.
Other prizes were awarded in specialist categories, while honourable mention went to last year’s overall winner, Hilltara Undenied Apple, owned by Sam and John McCormick from County Down.
Acknowledging the farmers who took part, Shane Kelly, Corporate Relations Director of Diageo Ireland said: “Diageo is delighted to mark 40 years of this competition with Tirlán, who supply the cream for Baileys from its site here in Virginia.
“This event celebrates the quality and provenance of the brand’s ingredients and its links back to the community of Virginia. Congratulations to the owners of the winning cows and thank you to all our entrants who put on such a fantastic spectacle for the crowds.”
Also speaking at the event, Tirlán Chairperson, John Murphy said: “Competitions like this showcase the dedication of the farming community and the commitment to high quality breeding, sustainability and animal welfare standards.
“The Virginia Show showcases how the agricultural sector is a key driver of our rural economy. Family farms are the heartbeat of rural Ireland, and no other sector reinvests more in their local economy than farm families.”