With the brucellosis regulations having virtually “killed off” the challenge from Northern Ireland cattle breeders, it was left up to the pig and sheep exhibitors to capture the major honours at last week’s spring show held at Ballsbridge by the Royal Dublin Society.
In the pig section, Randalstown breeders Mr Samuel Clyde and Mr William McCarroll shared most of the top Landrace awards while in the sheep ring, Banbridge Hampshire Down enthusiasts Mr J A Quail and Mr J A Huey, between them won three of the four first place rosettes as well as the championship and reserve championship prizes.
The Northern cattle entry was restricted to two Friesians shown by Mr Trevor Gibney of Newry and Mr David Heenan of Newcastle, the smallest contingent of Ulster cattle ever to attend the event.
Both animals gained rosettes – Mr Heenan’s two year old heifer was a first prizewinner – but unless they can be sold in Dublin, it will be some time before their owners can get them back into their own herds again.
The full impact of the Ministry of Agriculture’s brucellosis regulations are now being felt by the RDS and last week several Eire breeders expressed concern at the declining cattle entry.
Certainly interest has reached an all-time low level in some of the sections. In the Hereford bull class, for example, only three animals paraded for judging.
One leading Southern Aberdeen-Angus breeder commented that the situation was getting progressively worse each year. The absence of Northern cattle had, he said, been a tremendous blow.
“The RDS will have to think up something drastic to revive flagging interest,” he added.
Newcastle Friesian breeder Mr David Heenan originally had four heifers entered for the show but later decided to bring only one because of the difficulties involved.
“Dublin show is a great shop window for Ulster stock and it’s a great pity Ulster breeders can’t take advantage of it. I would have liked to bring about a dozen cattle down and I’m sure there are many other Northern farmers who would have liked to have done likewise.”
Happiest exhibitor in the pig section was undoubtedly Clonkeen, Randalstown, breeder Mr William McCarroll, who collected prize money totalling no less than £56 with his five Landrace entries. He brought home three first place rosettes, two seconds, two thirds, one fourth, one reserve and the reserve championship.
“This is the best I have ever done at Dublin and it’s certainly been worth my while coming down,” he commented.
The other successful Landrace exhibitor was Mr Samuel Wilson Clyde, also of Randalstown, the owner of last year’s breed championship.