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HomeDairyBalmoral venue a big success for 20th AHV multi-breed calf show
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Balmoral venue a big success for 20th AHV multi-breed calf show

Almost 200 Holstein calves and young handlers took to the show ring on Friday, August 25th, 2023, to compete in the 20th AHV Multibreed Calf Show, writes club coordinator, Andrew Patton.

The show, which is solely organised and ran by the Holstein Young Breeders’ (HYB) Club, is being hailed as a great since.

The event is growing exponentially year on year and therefore, a relocation of venue was seen this year.

The Logan Hall, Balmoral Park proved a fantastic facility for the event, providing a blank canvas of space which enabled the show to be set up to the desired format.

Young members

On the day, young breeders’ members are put through their paces in the showmanship classes, which are sponsored by Clandeboye Estate as well as taking to the ring once more in the afternoon for the calf conformation classes, sponsored by Thompsons Feeds. Exhibitor Bred awards are also up for grabs in each class, sponsored by Western Farm Enterprises.

Blondin Sires UK was also the sponsor of the Interbreed Championship Award. The Interbreed Champion is presented with the Clandeboye Cup, presented in memory of Lady Dufferin. Adding a great pinnacle to the day.


Another change to the show this year saw the addition of a platinum sponsor for the event – Animal Health Vision (AHV).

We were delighted to welcome AHV on board this year as platinum sponsor.

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Northern Ireland HYB are indebted to them as a company for their support, who without, it would not have been possible to avail of these great new facilities and set up.

On the day, AHV also provided £500 worth of calf products to go to one lucky winner of a raffle – with all proceeds going towards the running of the show which was very generously received by club and committee members.

The eventual winner of the raffle was won by Fr Sean Dooley, County Louth.

A grand total of 60 young members sweated it out in the showmanship section in their various age categories, from novice through to mature.

Laura Cornthwaite

Laura Cornthwaite, Cork, who had the onerous task of judging the showmanship section of the event, said: “I enjoyed every minute judging big classes packed full of quality and enthusiasm”.

She is no stranger to the showmanship circuit having been tapped out as champion handler twice at the UK Dairy Expo and claiming the reserve champion title at the All-Breeds All-Britain Calf Show.

The eventual showmanship champion & the Hamish Logan Trophy was awarded to Tom McKnight, Drumbo. Ava Montgomery, Saintfield was awarded reserve champion handler (receiving the Ulster Bank Cup), with Lauren Henry, Stranocum walking away with honourable mention.

“My top three handlers did a super job today, but I led with my young man who won the senior showmanship class today,” said judge, Laura Cornthwaite, during the showmanship championship.

“He had his eyes on the prize from the moment he entered the ring and always made sure his calf was looking the best that it could.”

“It was so nice to see so many keen young handlers braving the big atmosphere, especially in my first two classes of the day.”

All-Breeds All-Britain Calf Show

Each of the first-placed handlers, from the qualifying classes, will now go forward to represent the club at the All-Breeds All-Britain Calf Show held at NAEC Stoneleigh, Warwickshire in October.

The All Breeds All Britain Calf Show is a national event which takes place each year and sees the top regional showmanship and calf class winners compete it out for the national title.

This year the event will take place from Friday 6th – Sunday 8th October and along with our champion, reserve and honourable mention handlers, Simon Gregg, Ballymena will represent Northern Ireland in the hope to claim the top spots.

Once the handling classes were complete, the calf classes soon got underway.

Calves are judged in age sorted classes and the top two placed calves in each class are invited back to compete for the overall Champion award.

Jason Helen, Cork

Taking to the centre of the ring for the calf classes was judge, Jason Helen, Cork. Jason hails from the renowned Eedy herd based in Clonakilty, County Cork. The Eedy prefix has most recently came to the fore with Eedy Crushabull Acclaim who has won both the Royal Highland Show and the Royal Welsh Show, for her new owners, Logan Holsteins, this summer.

After picking out his final five calves in the championship, judge Jason Helen said:

“I am very happy with my top five calves today and I feel they are all a similar type which I admire.”

“They are five well put together calves with great feet and legs, rumps, and dairy strength.”

Jason then went and tapped out his champion, reserve and honourable mention calves, with top honours this year being awarded to the Simpson Family, Lisburn with Damm Renegade Sallie.

Winning the Class 9A on the day (Holstein born between 21st October & 30th November 2022) and sired by S-S-I PR Renegade, this calf is from a VG87 point second calf Walnutlawn Solomon daughter from Damm Fever Sallie VG86.

The champion calf is closely related to this year’s Balmoral Show Interbreed Champion – Damm Tatoo Sallie VG89, a cow who needs little introduction.

“This calf has all the makings of a great cow, she exhibits so much strength and dairy quality today” quotes Jason Helen, Judge.

Damm Renegade Sallie was also awarded the exhibitor bred champion title. The champion calf receives the Genus Crystal Award & Florrie Wilson Cup for best exhibitor bred.

Following the champion, claiming the reserve spot was Slatabogie Lambda Flower, exhibited by Alan and Leanne Paul, Maghera.

This calf was the second placed calf in the same class as the champion and judge, Jason Helen commented that the two calves were of a similar kind and hard to split.


The Reserve Champion calf was awarded the McCann Shield.

Taking the Honourable Mention spot was the August 2022 born Priestland 7181 Master Lila Z, exhibited by the Mclean family, Bushmills.

“This heifer is so well put together for an older heifer, she is in nice order but still so dairy and clean,” commented Jason after tapping out the Golden Oaks Master daughter in the Honourable Mention position.

Our prize winners from each calf class also find themselves in a qualifying position for the national All Breeds All Britain calf show, however due to Brexit restrictions – for the third year, this is unfortunately seeming to be an impossibility.

In his closing remarks, judge Jason Helen said,

“It was a privilege to judge classes with such high standards from top to bottom. Well done to all involved, those who organised a fantastic event, the exceptional competitors and those who stayed at home to keep the show on the road.”

To wrap up the day’s events, Holstein judge Jason Helen teamed up with Laura Cornthwaite, who also judged the Jersey section of the show, to tap out the eventual winner of the Interbreed Championship award, who would take away the Clandeboye Cup, in memory of Lady Dufferin.

The Simpson family’s Damm Renegade Sallie continued her winning streak and took home the top honours of the day.


Thanks must go to the sponsors for the day, without whom the event would simply not be possible:

  • AHV (Platinum sponsor);
  • Clandeboye Estate (showmanship);
  • Thompsons Feeds (calf conformation);
  • Western Farm Enterprises (exhibitor bred);
  • Blondin Sires UK (interbreed championship).

Thanks also go to our stewards, Leiza Montgomery, Saintfield, Geoffrey Patton, Carrowdore and Alec Walker, Randalstown for ensuring the next class is always ready enabling the event to run so smoothly.

The club are also indebted to our commentator for the day, Mr Michael Taaffe, Milltown and world-renowned photographer Jane Steel, Kepculloch.

We would also like to thank the Ayrshire and the Jersey Society along with the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society, without whom the NI Multibreed Calf Show would not be where it is today.

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