Co Down breeder takes sheep interbreed pairs title at Balmoral Show

Livestock & Meat Commission May 17, 2023

STANDARDS were set high at this year’s sheep interbreed pairs championship held on Friday 12 May at Balmoral Show. Onlookers gathered as the strong line up of 20 pairs made their way into ring for the much anticipated event sponsored by the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).

The 20 pairs selected by breed judges and head of breed societies aptly represented all the individual traits of each breed. After the pairs took their places, it was then over to judge John Stevenson, from Eggleston to make his way around the ring, handling each of the sheep before taking a step back to watch the movement of each animal.

Pulling forward a shortlist for the class, Mr Stevenson moved the Texel, Suffolk, Hampshire Down, Blue du Maine, Badger Face Texel, Border Leicester and Blue Faced Leicester pairs into the centre of the ring. After some consideration the stick dropped at the Texel pair confirming Dromore man James Herdman’s duo as the 2023 sheep interbreed pairs champion.

Commenting on taking the champion rosettes, Mr Herdman said, “They’ve done very well. They are pedigree Texels, ET brother and sister.” Mr Herdman a regular to Balmoral Show went on to remark that the rosettes were a great endorsement for the Texel breed.

Taking the reserve rosettes was the Badger Face Texel pair shown by Russell Millen and Timothy Lynch from Coleraine. Mr Millen explained that the ewe had won her class as well. He said, “Both have the same mother and to get this win at Balmoral is absolutely amazing.”

LMC board member Joe Stewart presented rosettes to the champion and reserve pairs. He said, “On behalf of LMC, I extend our congratulations to the 2023 champion and reserve exhibitors. To take home rosettes in such a prominent and strongly contested competition class speaks volumes of the calibre of each exhibitor’s livestock.”

LMC chief executive Ian Stevenson extended the Commission’s thanks to all those involved in planning and co-ordinating the event. He said, “LMC was delighted to provide sponsorship for this event. We wish to take this opportunity to thank the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) for facilitating this competition, Mr Stevenson, for giving of his time and expertise to judge the competition and finally, all exhibitors; events like this would not be possible without their unwavering passion and commitment to showcase the very best of our local livestock.”