Farm Ireland

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Desire for success still forms backbone of Tullamore Show

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

More than 55,000 people are expected to descend on Co Offaly this Sunday for the hugely popular Tullamore Show and AIB National Livestock Show.

With 45 national titles and prestigious gold medal awards up for grabs, livestock producers across the country regard winning at Tullamore as the pinnacle of success.

There is a distinctly international flavour to the pedigree cattle section, with no less than 11 continental breeds competing, including Simmental, Charolais, Limousin, Belgian Blue, Angus, Hereford, Salers, Aubrac, Blond d'Aquitaine, Shorthorn and Parthenaise.

This is by far the biggest cattle section in the AIB National Livestock Show, with 148 classes scheduled, including the Limousin and Hereford national shows.


The prize fund for the commercial cattle classes has increased by 50pc since last year and this year's show features four new classes for factory-type animals. These new classes are replacing the Super Bullock and Super Heifer classes, as the focus is now centred on animals suitable for current market requirements.

One of the new classes is the 'Best Beef Animal of the Future', aimed at male or female calves up to 425kg. Following high entry numbers in the Belgian Blue crossbred calf class last year, the class is being divided into separate classes for male and female calves.

Young people are not forgotten, with a class especially for those aged 12-16, to encourage them to get involved too.

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For the first time ever, the dairy section at the show will feature Pure Friesian classes, as well as Jersey, Dairy Shorthorn and Holstein Friesian classes. Some of these prestigious dairy classes have prize funds of up to €2,500 on offer for the winning animals, such as the Senior Holstein Cow in Milk.

To encourage local breeders, the dairy section includes a confined section where classes are only open to breeders from Laois, Offaly and Westmeath.

However, the livestock show is not all about cattle, because the sheep section of the AIB National Livestock Show includes 67 pedigree and 10 commercial classes.

Included are the Texel, Vendeen, Suffolk, Charollais, Rouge De L'Ouest, Galway, Beltex, Lleyn, Jacob and Belclare.

New classes for two breeds, the Zwartbles and Border Leicester, make their debut this year. The Zwartbles originates in Holland and has a striking appearance, being all black in colour with a distinctive white blaze on the face.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's event at the Butterfield Estate, show chairman George Gill said it would be impossible to run the show without the 500-strong army of volunteers and the support of generous sponsors.

"Relax in the atmosphere and see the creme de la creme of Irish agriculture this weekend," Mr Gill said.

Indo Farming