Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has announced a major multi-year investment in the Irish agricultural showing scene.
Over the next five years, the DAFM will invest €250,000 in the grassroots showing sector with the rolling out of a brand-new class aimed at showcasing “the best of beef breeding heifers”.
The Irish Shows Association (ISA) will administer the new class.
The Breeder’s Choice class will be open to four and five breeding heifers in two separate classes – traditional breeds and continental breeds.
Pedigree, as well as commercial heifers, are eligible for the classes.
Over the course of the summer, more than 60 shows will benefit from the new class.
A spokesperson for the DAFM explained that the requirement for four and five-star in-calf or maiden heifers aligns with the aims of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) and the incoming Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCBP) in the next CAP to increase the number of these heifers in the suckler herd.
They noted that four and five-star animals in the suckler herd could bring greater milk and overall efficiency to beef animals.
- The competition will be run at every show that has cattle classes.
- This competition is open to all continental/traditional genotyped 4* or 5* heifers suitable to make a suckler cow.
- Heifers may be in-calf or maiden. All heifers must be between 12 months and 24 months of age on the date of the show.
- Each heifer can attend up to five shows. If a heifer enters more than five shows, she will automatically be disqualified.
- All heifers must be haltered trained, and led by a competent adult.
- The foregoing rules should be read in conjunction with ISA General Rules.
- Entry Fee to show: €10
Quality of breeding cattle
Commenting on the major investment in the show sector, Minister McConalogue said:
“The show network is the backbone of so many agri and rural communities. The show season is upon us, and the excitement of getting an animal ready for your local show is hard to beat.”
“What is even more exciting is taking home a yellow, red or blue rosette. These are the marks of what makes a good animal a great animal.
“I am delighted to work with the Irish Shows Association on this exciting, multi-year and long-term investment.”
“This is a commitment from me and my department to the shows sector, to the quality of breeding cattle and to rural Ireland as a whole.”
“I am looking forward to seeing the heifers and their owners in the new breeder’s class at shows across the country. It is also a commitment from the government to continue to back rural Ireland in any way we can.”
Jim Harrison, secretary of the Irish Shows Association, welcomed the minister’s announcement.
“We are delighted to have partnered with the Minister and the Department on this exciting new initiative which will see a major investment made in our network of shows.”
“It gives farmers, breeders and handlers great confidence in the show circuit going forward with this initial five-year investment in the Breeder’s Choice class.”
“I now urge all farmers and handlers to get their quality four and five star heifers out and into their local show this summer to avail of this exciting new showing class,” Harrison concluded.