THE sun was shining on what was a fitting finale to the World Charolais Congress Tour in Northern Ireland.
The Connolly family played host to the tour for the over 100 visitors who travelled from 14 countries. They were joined by a throng of local visitors, with a further 150 travelling from all corners of Ireland to view the stock on show.
The Congress Tour visited nine farms in England, Wales and Scotland, culminating with the visit to the Brigadoon Charolais herd. The detailed planning was evident to all visitors with a beautiful set-up and hospitality welcoming all those who attended.
In the first paddock an impressive batch of yearling heifers were on display, all homebred by stock bull Newhouse Maxamus. This included the RUAS Balmoral Junior Heifer Champion, who also clinched the Heifer Champion and Reserve Female Champion. Her dam is Brigadoon Nevada, a national junior champion before her, by the herd’s previous stock sire Goldies Icon.
Also in the field was Brigadoon Saffron, the Reserve Junior Champion at the National Show the previous day. She is another Maxamus daughter from Brigadoon Heather, who carries French sire Major in her pedigree.
Visitors were taken aback by the consistency in the second paddock with a superb batch of two year old heifers. There was a lot of difficulty for the delegates to distinguish them apart with such an even batch of homebred heifers, again by Newhouse Maxamus and Goldies Icon.
It was no surprise that the cows with calf at foot were on display in what is known as the “Top Hill”. This field at Brigadoon commands an impressive view across to the Mournes, Strangford Lough and the Belfast hills. It was a beautiful backdrop for this batch, which was joined by the stock bull.
Maxamus is well named, with a balanced stature, his length and depth were remarked on by many visitors, and along with great locomotion he showed great command in the field. The cows are mostly Icon daughters, showing off great maternal strength with excellent milk capacity evident in the calves that ranged in age from early spring to a month old. They certainly gave a “wow” factor.
The autumn calvers were overlooking the Belfast hills, including Wesley Glamorous, now 11 years old, a former Balmoral Supreme Champion who has three daughters retained in the herd.
There were a further six Icon daughters at note to Maxamus. Many of these females have taken top accolades in the show ring as heifers and are now to the fore as working mothers.
There was great interest in the final field of the day, with the junior bulls taking centre stage.
All sired by Maxamus with the exception of one Icon son, they were much admired by visitors who remarked on the great strength, muscle and correctness throughout the batch. These bulls are currently being prepared for the autumn sales with local commercial breeders also being catered for through on-farm sales.
To finish, a representation of the Brigadoon 2022 show team was on display, with Brigadoon Sovereign taking centre stage, the Junior Male Champion and Reserve Supreme Champion from the previous day’s National Show, from Brigadoon Orchid, another Icon daughter sired by Maxamus.
The highly contested ‘Guess the Weight of the Show Team’ competition was won by John McGlynn from Roscommon, representing the Irish Charolais Cattle Society.
An added attraction for visitors was a display curated by David Taylor, Kircubbin, of Ferguson tractors. This was of great interest to all visitors with many looking forward to learning more about the heritage of Harry Ferguson.
The display put on at Brigadoon by the Connolly family was a great showcase for the Charolais breed, demonstrating the strong demand and interest, not just in Northern Ireland, but worldwide.
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